The most important thing about swimming workouts for beginners is to develop a solid basic swimming technique. A common complaint for a lot of beginners is that they get exhausted very quickly when completing their pool workouts. This is down to poor swimming technique – they are wasting considerable amounts of energy maintaining their balance in the water, instead of using that energy to propel them forward and through the water.
There are two swimming workouts that you can easily complete as a beginner to improve your balance and technique. Firstly there is the side kick workout, and secondly there is the shark fin workout. Both will help you maintain a good swimming position and improve your balance, which is vital to an efficient swimming technique.
Side Kick Workout
When swimming front-crawl, you will actually spend a large proportion of time on your side, the only time you will actually lay flat in the water is when both hands briefly come together above your head. The side kick workout lets you concentrate on your technique when your body is on its side, as it will be when you are mid-stroke. The side kick workout can be achieved following these steps:
Start by pushing yourself off the wall, and extend one of your arms out above your head, whilst keeping your other arm flat against your side. You will find that your body will naturally roll to the side of your outstretched arm.
Begin kicking your legs and concentrate on keeping your hips from sinking, whilst keeping your arm stretched out ahead of you.
Your head should be turned to face the bottom of the pool, over your armpit. When you need to breathe, turn your head to the side, so that you can inhale air and then return your head to its original position and exhale under the water.
Do this for a length and then swap sides and swim a length on your alternate side, repeating the steps above.
It is important that when you turn your head to breathe, you do not roll your body, otherwise you will roll onto your back. (A good way to think about this is to make sure that your belly button faces the wall).
Any fast movements are likely to cause your hips to sink, which you don’t want, so make sure that when you breathe you use a slow motion when turning your head. This will help to ensure your technique is not hindered.
The second drill that will help increase your balance and give you a better body position is the shark fin workout. To achieve this, follow the steps below:
Start by pushing yourself off the wall, and extend one of your arms out above your head, whilst keeping your other arm flat against your side.
Begin to raise your elbow out of the water so that your hand is just below the surface of the water.
Move your hand slowly towards your head, whilst keeping it as close as possible to your body.
Once you have reached your eye-line, you will notice that your arm is making a triangular shape (the shark fin!).
Then slowly return your hand back to your side, again keeping your hand as close to your body as possible.
Repeat this for a length and then swap sides and do the same for the other arm.
Breathing can be a little difficult to begin with during this workout. The best solution is to breathe in when your hand reaches you eye-line (before you return it to its start position). You can the exhale whilst moving your arm up to you eye-line.
Once you have completed a few sessions in the pool, you will start to see a noticeable improvement in your balance and body position. BUT remember, you are still a beginner, so have fun with this, and don’t expect to suddenly be swimming length upon length without feeling tired. There is no need to overdo it at this stage, this is all about laying the foundations to allow you to be a better swimmer in the long run!
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