How To Stop Your Legs  From Sinking

The  Ultimate Guide To Balance & Alignment In Freestyle Swimming

Fixing Your Sinking Leg Problems

Root Cause 8: 

Poor Posture And / Or a Weak Core

Your belly (abs), mid and lower back make up the muscles in your “core”.

Your core is the link or bridge between your floaty lungs and sinking legs. It’s what holds the line of your body together. You need your core engaged to take advantage of the buoyancy from  your lungs. You can only leverage how much your lungs float if there are no breaks in the connection to your legs.

When you have a solid connection through your core you shift your center of gravity forwards. This will bring your hips up to the surface. 

Try this; push down slightly with your collarbones and lean forward over you lungs. As you do the connectivity of your core will bring your legs up to the surface. If your core is weak however, your legs won’t float up. 

The role of the core in your stroke goes beyond keeping your legs up. When you connect your arms and legs using your core your body will be in good swimming posture. 

Coach Gerry Rodrigues from Tower26 calls this connection through your body tautness. He has a great way of explaining the idea.  He says you want to be more like a straight uncooked spaghetti stick than a noodly cooked piece. Your core is what helps maintain that straightness and posture.  

Why It Happens 

The western lifestyle is probably the biggest culprit.  

Most of us have poor posture and weak or disconnected cores. We sit too much and we spend too much time hunched over the screens of our phones. We spend most of our days with our cores relaxed and turned off. It’s become our normal and it translates to poor swimming. 

How to Fix it


{1} The Temporary Fix: Buoyancy Shorts 

 The best temporary fix is a pair of core or buoyancy shorts. This is the one most Triathletes will go to first. They compensate for your disengaged core, bringing the hips and legs up onto the surface. Some of my athletes use these shorts from time to time, but they can create a problem when you become dependent on them. 

The problem is, wearing the floaty pants too often will give you an inflated sense of your swim fitness. This seldom transfers to good speed on race day. You look fast on Strava during training, but when it actually matters, you won’t have the core strength to perform. 

{1} The Solid Solution: Strengthen Your Core

The permanent fix is to work on your core strength. Fixing your posture and strengthening your core is worth investing your time into. Both in and out of the water. 

{a} Improve Your Core Strength On Land 

Incorporating a core strength routine into your training is a great place to start. Doing yoga will also help improve the strength of your core. 

Fares from MySwimPro has a great video that breaks down the 10 Best Core Dryland Exercises for Swimmers. 

{b} Improve Your Core Strength In The Water: 
  • Use A Snorkel 

I like to have my swimmers use a snorkel when working on their posture.  The snorkel helps teach you how to keep your head still and maintain a good line down your spine. This will go a long way towards helping you master your balance and alignment. It also removes the need to breathe. So you can concentrate exclusively on your body position. 

  • Strap on The Ankle Locks 

When I was a swimmer, ankle locks were my worst nightmare. I hated using them! But I recognized how valuable they are to alignment and core stability. They teach good posture and will help you learn how to stop snaking through the water. 

  • Fundamental Drills 

In the water, the Balance drills and Side Kick Drills need to be your focus. Each of these drills has been mentioned previously, and each will work on isolating your core and legs. Removing your arms from the equation will force your core to activate.

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