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 that these individuals are sharing demonstrate the swimmer having lordosis.
Lordosis is a posture in which the back is arched downward.
Which 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 deficiency will try to 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 lordosis problem is very prevent 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 been creating some breathing protocols to help with this and we are seeing some really great results. Here are some before and afters of swimmers:
The breathing protocols might be a little much for someone to try on their own, but one simple cue that has been helping 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 in an internally rotated position and helps to lengthen your spine.
It might feel like you are slouching, but I promises 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 because if you have limited range of motion in your shoulders 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’ll 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.