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The most important muscles in swimming :: Strong core = fast swimming

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It’s true that you use most of the muscles in your body to swim, but there is a group of muscles that is essential for swimming more than any other, that is the core muscles.

Just look at these amazing men and women competing at the Paralympic games. If they didn’t have strong core muscles they wouldn’t be able to move in a straight line and yet they do.

So these muscles, the core muscles have three important functions when you are swimming.

1- Direction

When you pull in freestyle or backstroke, what keeps you in line is your core muscles. If you don’t use them then you would be zig-zagging. And if you didn’t use your core in breaststroke or butterfly there would be no transferring of potential energy from your arms to your feet, as we talked in our part 6 of physics of swimming video, and you wouldn’t move very fast. Your core is what helps you move where you want to move. It is also what keeps your legs from sinking if you engage it properly.

2- Rotation

When you swim freestyle and backstroke you are also constantly rotating your body. This helps to put your arms in a better position to pull but it also helps the pull. By rotating your body you are also pulling your arms when tightening your oblique muscles.

3- Base of support

“Unlike land-based athletes, who have a stable surface to push off from, you have to generate your own base of support”. That base of support is your core. That’s where the power to move your body with your arms and legs comes from.

Without core muscles, you would be like a cooked spaghetti with arms and legs moving nowhere in the water.

If you didn’t see last weeks video, I just want to remind you that we still have some spots available for our swimming camps.



Special Olympics videos:




“Swimming Anatomy” Ian Mcleod. 2010

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Swim fast!

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