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Swim technique training for triathletes – 10 swim drills

Swim technique training for triathletes

There are many advantages to incorporating swim drills in your training regiment.  In order for you to be able to cope with the training load. your body needs to be strong and resilient. And these 10 Swim technique training for triathletes will help you building strength, technique, and endurance. So that you can work out, compete and be injury free.

Focusing on technique in swimming instead of relying on muscular power will take you further.

Be careful

Take it slowly and methodically with the technique exercises. Feel how the body moves through the water. Be aware of where you have your head, hip, and heels. Where are the legs? Where are the arms? How do I keep my head? Do I breathe? Or do I hold my breath? There are many things you can think about when swimming, but focus on one thing at a time! The films below are excellent examples of swim form you can visualize when you do the technique exercise yourself!

The films have voice-overs in Swedish, but we have transcribed them in English beneath.

10 exercises for your swimming

We recommend that you put drills in every swim session, it doesn’t have to be a lot but a little goes a long way. Below you have 10 exercises. We like to do it as 25 meters swim drill, followed by 25-meter freestyle with focus on the purpose of the drill we did prior.

Train your weaknesses

Do drills both that you like, and drills you feel are hard. That way, you can keep your spirit up, even though training feels hard. Try to do two hard drills and two fun drills.

Catch Up

How to: 

  • Place your arms in front of you, with your hands shoulder width appart.
  • Do one stroke and recovery, while your other arm is leading you, resting forward.
  • Don’t exaggerate the kick
  • Repeat.

Focus:

  • Your elbow should be as close to the surface as possible (within your range of motion). Don’t let it sink towards the bottom.

Good for:

  • Your direction
  • Shoulder strength
  • Timing of your stroke

Superman drill (Single arm)

How to:

  • Stretch your lead arm forward. Reach for the end of the pool.
  • Swim with the same arm for a whole length.

Focus:

  • “catch” the water.
  • Keep your elbow high, near the surface.
  • Feel how your body rotates when doing the drill.

Good for:

  • Body rotation.
  • Stretching your arm forward, finding where to catch the water

Paddles

How to:

  • Paddles are used to build strength and endurance.
  • Paddles come in different sizes, start out small!

Focus:

  • Paddles will exaggerate everything in your stroke. Good or bad. So focus on technique!
  • Try to use the paddle as an extension of your forearm, not your hand.

Good for:

  • Swimming strength
  • Swimming endurance

Pull buoy

How to:

  • Using a pull buoy is a great way to learn how to rotate your body as a whole.
  • Place the pull buoy between your legs, and gently squeeze.

Focus:

  • Rotate your body as one package.
  • Your rotation drives from the hips and core, not your shoulders.

Good for:

  • Focus on your stroke
  • Body rotation
  • Letting your legs rest

Sculling

How to:

  • Have your arms extended forward.
  • Use your shoulders to move your arms forward, no bend at the elbows
  • Use a light kick

Focus:

  • Catching water in your palms.
  • Feel the water

Good for:

  • Finding your catch
  • Core stabilization 

Freestyle with fins

How to:

  • When using fins (or kicking in general), kick from your hip.
  • Don’t overreach, do your normal short rapid kick.

Focus:

  • Focus on using your big muscles around your hip.
  • Having a tight core.

Good for:

  • Building endurance
  • Building swim strength
  • Speed work

Head position

How to:

  • Try to start swimming with your head lifted and eyes forward. Then lower your head and look down.
  • Feel the difference in drag.

Focus:

  • Head, hips, and heels in line and close to the surface.

Good for:

  • Body position
  • Balance
  • Efficiency

Kicking with kickboard

How to:

  • Hold the kickboard in front of you.
  • Hold your head just above the water, looking forward.
  • Try having your hip close to the surface

Focus:

  • Kick from the hip. 
  • Active core, don’t let your lower back arc.

Good for:

  • Developing your kick
  • Hip strength
  • Building your endurance

Kicking with fins

How to:

  • Arms forward, and head down.
  • Breath forward.

Focus on:

  • Kicking from the hips.
  • Hips close to the surface.
  • Relaxed wrists.

Good for:

  • Building Strength
  • Building endurance
  • Sense of speed

Kicking on the side

How to:

  • Lay on your side, with the lower arm forward.
  • The innactive arm should have the shoulder above the surface
  • Keep tension through your core

Focus on:

  • Keeping your balance
  • Kicking from the hip
  • Feel the water

Good for:

  • Balance
  • Strengthening your legs
  • body position
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