29 Mar Core – The hidden advantage in swimming
Seeing athletes swim fast, we have a feeling that their bodies do not have to move through the dense water screen, but “cut sweet” in the water. To “cut sweet” through the water, your body must be like a drill with the point of forward contact with the water as small as possible.
Watching clips of the world’s top swimmers at international tournaments, it is easy to see that although their hand and leg movements can have different variations, they have one common specification: always Always have a body posture flowing in the water and maintain a stable body from which to generate effective thrust from arms and legs. Whether the body is stable or not is due to the “core”!
To understand Core, we need to understand more about the concept of “Base of Support” (BOS) and distinguish Core and Abs.
What is the Base of Support?
BOS is the area around the outer edge of your body parts in contact with the ground/surface. Below you can see these shaded areas in different body positions.
The larger the stand surface, the more stable the body, while the smaller the base allows us to accelerate faster and more maneuverable. In terrestrial sports, stability of the body helps to produce the desired movement and supports well-energized arms and legs. In martial arts, attacking stances are the foundation and fulcrum for balance in attack and defense.
In sports where the movement of the body (volleyball, table tennis, tennis, badminton, …) is involved, the leg movements are important because the incorrect leg movement will lead to the body’s failure balance, thereby affecting the strength of the hand. For sports without movement (dumbbells, bodybuilding, shooting, archery …), shoulder-width standing with two feet is the classic standing posture.
However, swimming is unique because the athlete moves in a horizontal position and has no interaction with the ground. Therefore, swimmers do not have a stand like other terrestrial sports athletes.
However, they still have to maintain a stable body in order to effectively generate thrust from their arms and legs. According to the researchers, the swimmer’s stand is the spine! Therefore, swimmers must have a strong core that not only connects the upper body with the lower body but also maintains spinal stability in order to establish a stand that is strong enough to perform the correct technique.
So, What is Core?
The core is called the “wheel axis”, “strength zone” or “power plant”, which are muscle groups located in the central part of the body and around the spine (ie muscles in the abdomen, hips, back). . They are responsible for rotating muscles in different directions, connecting the upper muscle groups (chest, shoulders, back) and lower body (legs) to stabilize and help other parts of the body to function. consistently. It is the place where the balance and stability of the body is maintained and where all movements initiate.
The core’s muscular system is the muscle area located deep inside the body, hard to see with the eyes, not just the abdominal muscles that we often call the “six-pack”. Many of these muscles are hidden underneath the external muscle system. The main muscles include the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis; transverses – transverses abdominis; internal and external obliques – internal and external obliques); hip muscle group (lumbar muscle – psoas, …), and lumbar muscle (spinal erector, trapezius – trapezius, broad lumbar muscle – latissimus dorsi…).
Then what is Abs?
Abs are tied to the exercise type and are translated as abdominal exercises. You just need to differentiate: the core is about muscle group, and Abs is about exercise. Abs exercises are intended to develop core muscle groups, and we train core using Abs exercises.
A weak core can lead to technical defects, which can negatively affect performance, and even lead to injury. When it comes to strength and fitness in swimming, core is arguably the most important area to focus on. An effective exercise program must target all core muscles in order to achieve muscle balance for effective movement in all planes.
Whether freestyle, butterfly stroke, backstroke or breaststroke, each swimming style relies on a strong core to maintain a stable body. A strong core enhances your swimming performance in a number of ways:
- Maintain a streamlined body posture in the water: whether you’re kicking off the back wall in a spin or swimming across the water, being in a streamlined position reduces drag and creates more thrust. If the body is not stable, the legs in the back will sink and the body will waste a lot of energy when dragging the legs in the water. In addition, athletes with weak core will often have a fishtail movement (swinging motion from side to side of hips and legs) with each hand fan and foot beat, thereby creating additional drag. So the main advantage of a strong core-based body stabilizer is being able to swim faster without the need to fan arms and beat harder, simply because drag is reduced with better body flow.
- Establishing a stable base: Stabilization of the torso assists with limb movement and this is especially true in swimming. In other words, good body stabilization allows the athlete to use his arms and legs exactly as he would like – creating thrust. Many swimmers who lack body stability often use their arms and legs to help their body balance, not to create thrust. Therefore, the thrust potential of the arms and legs is not fully achieved. The body stabilizer provides the stand needed for effective thrust with the arms and legs.
- Increase the effectiveness of leg movements: have you ever tried pushing a piece of cooked spaghetti on a dining table? Pulling it on the table is quite easy (like pulling the body in water with your hand), but it will be difficult to push it because of the softness of the wet spaghetti. This is like using your legs to push a soft body in the water because of a poor core.
- Creating a strong bond between your upper body and lower body will allow your feet to push you in the water rather than relying entirely on your arms to pull you.
- Helping to rotate in freestyle and backstroke: Most swimmers are taught that they need to swing from the hips when swimming freestyle and backstroke. This body rotation is essential for effective arm and leg movements. While a little rotation is produced by the leg movements, most of it comes from the core, especially the cross muscles.
In short, having a stable body will help the swimmer swim faster by generating greater thrust, better flow, and more efficient engineering.
Many people think that practicing strong arm and leg muscle groups will swim better, but the truth is that the “core” hidden inside the body is the muscle group that needs to be “upgraded”. It is like a boat on a river. The solid body of the boat will be effective, while the boat’s body is swaying, the paddle only works to keep the boat body from sinking!