I have been seeing a lot of posts on the Tri Swim Coach Facebook page about people trying to get more efficient and get their legs up. A few of the videos and images these individuals share demonstrate the swimmer has lordosis or excessive curvature of the spine.
Lordosis is a posture in which the lower back is arched downward.
This means no matter what you do to lift your legs up you will always be slightly sinking and swimming uphill. A lot of swimmers trying to combat this issue will bury their heads deep in the water or put their arms really deep out in front as a counter weight to their “sinking hips”.
Sometimes these movements can help make some corrections. But if a swimmer has lordosis, these corrections will not help very much or at all. This problem is common in triathletes because of running, cycling, and sitting a lot. This is a very complicated issue to fix and should not be considered a quick fix or easy to correct.
But fear not, there is hope. At SwimBox we have created some breathing protocols to help. And we are seeing some really great results. Here are some before and after photos of swimmers:
The breathing protocols might be a little much for someone to try on their own. One simple cue that helps, is to make sure your xiphoid process (or the point end of your sternum; see photo for reference) is pushing inward towards your spine as you swim. This helps keep your ribs internally rotated and helps to lengthen your spine.
It might feel like you are slouching, but I promise you, you aren’t. Give it a try with just kicking on your stomach with your hands down by your side first. Try to kick and see if you can make the sternum adjustment.
This should be the easiest position to learn and maintain this posture. Here is a video progression of kicking on your stomach into underwater recovery freestyle to help focus on keeping this new posture.
It becomes more difficult as you take your arm overhead. If you have limited range of motion in your shoulder, you will start to use your lower back to assist your shoulder’s range of motion.
That’s not to say you won’t be able to maintain it. You will just have to focus more on keeping that xiphoid process pointing towards your spine.
I’d love to see pictures or videos of you guys trying this. If I can give any feedback on them I will.