13 Jun Bandaid
Swimming with an ankle band is tough. But it is good for you. Here’s why
1) Increased awareness of body position –
When you start swimming with an band you will find your bum and legs trawling through the water. It feels TERRIBLE and INEFFICIENT and a total waste of energy. This is because by binding the feet together, you have effectively removed the propulsive and counter balancing effect of your kick. This causes your lower body to sink deeper into the water putting the swimmer in the worst possible position for swimming. The exaggerated poor swimming balance and hydrodynamics forces the you to adjust your body position in the water to counter this.
After struggling through the 1st few laps and realizing that you’re not going to drown, keep an open mind and start to experiment with ‘pressing the T’ into the water. The “T” is the the cross junction formed by the line of your torso and the line that runs across from shoulder to shoulder. To swim even a little efficiently in the water with an ankle band, you really need to over- emphasize the pressing of your chest and shoulders into the water. It is an unnatural sensation that takes getting used to, but once you get a feel for it, you’ll know how to achieve a better position in the water. Now replicate this ‘feel’ without the band and apply it to your default swim technique and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much better balanced you are in the water.
2) ‘Syncs’ the upper and lower body –
Secondly, using the band regularly teaches and engages the core muscles in the trunk to ‘connect ‘ the upper and lower body so that it rotates as one united vessel. If you pay attention to the feel of swimming with a band, you’ll start to understand what it means to drive the rotation ‘from the hips’.
It also helps with getting the timing of your rotation just right so that your pull can be synced with body rotation, producing a single powerful movement. This will also eventually reduce the amount that your rear end snakes side to side in the water. This is a significant step in the development of your swimming because this is when your whole body really begins to move as ‘one’ in the water.
3) Improves strength –
Finally, the increased resistance that a sinking bum and legs produce is a fantastic but totally crude way, of swim specific strength training. Try it!
So members PLEASE, make an ankle band up from an old goggle strap or punctured inner tube and leave in your kit bag as a permanent resident. You will struggle and wrestle with it in the water but keep an open mind, pay attention to the ‘feel’, experiment and work towards finding a way to swim more efficiently with the band and you will be rewarded with a better awareness of your body position in the water and the skill to fine tune it for better efficiency.