Day 3: Hip Rotation

Learning Objectives: This drill will help you to feel how you use your feet to rotate your hips. Get off of your stomach and on to your sides. In freestyle, you never want to actually be swimming on your stomach.


Day 3 Practice

  • WARM UP:
  • Do some vertical kicking: Kick flutter kick (freestyle) in place (make sure your pool has deep enough water!) for 20 seconds at a time, with 15 second breaks in between. Do 4 rounds of this. Then do 4 more rounds where you rotate a quarter turn to your right, and then immediately back to where you started. Notice what you use to get this turn- hips and feet, and not shoulders.
  • DRILL:
  • 8x25s Hip Rotation drill
  • 4x50s Swim, focus on rotating hips
  • 2x100s Hip Rotation drill
  • 200 Swim, focus on rotating hips
  • 200 Kick/Swim by 25
  • TOTAL:
  • 1000 Yards/Meters + Vertical kicking warmup

How you do it:

  • With your hands at your sides, kick flutter with your head down.
  • Rotate completely from one side to the other with your hips (90 degrees on one side to 90 degrees on the other side), without moving your head.
  • When you need air, breath in front of you, and immediately bring your head back down into position.
  • Feel free to use fins on this drill.
  • *Feel free to add or subtract distance as needed.

Common Mistakes:

  • Swimming too flat: Not enough hip rotation, using a lot of kick to propel through the water
  • Over-rotating: In freestyle, hips should not be rotating all the way to 90 degrees with each stroke. Everyone is a little different, but the idea is to rotate enough to glide and execute your pull.
  • Head moving: when rotating hips, it is easy to let your head move around. Make sure to keep it still, as where your eyes go, your body will likely follow.


  • Arms at your sides (for the drill)
  • Use feet and quadriceps muscles to rotate
  • Look at the bottom of the pool while rotating


  • Shoulder Rotation
  • Head movement (except when breathing)
  • Over-rotate on breath

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I felt strong more focused on what my training had taught me…

“Kevin, I took 10 minutes off Pumkin Man last October in the swim and 34 min overall on my time and moved up two slots in my age group to # 8! YeHaw!
I followed your training concentrating more on technique for rotation and glide and swam the course for 3 days two weeks before the event and worked on distance. I felt strong more focused on what my training had taught me and confidence played a big factor
– Doug Cox