When I mention the names, Phelps, Dressel, Manuel, Ledecky, and Jones, what do you think?
Do you instantly think unstable, weak, slow, lack of power? Or do you think stability, strength, power, performance, body positioning?
Hopefully the second set of descriptors sits with you more than the first. Although swimmers deal with less ground force compared to other sports, the stability is an amazingly important skill to possess.
It kills me when I watch swimmers try to master a new technique, try to sit up higher on the water, or get frustrated when their kick fails. Yet, they can't even master a basic plank series on land. It also kills me to watch swimmers try to layer in speed while looking like a floppy fish. As Abbie always harps, water is 800x the density of air.
Which brings me to the question, what do you really expect to happen with poor body positioning and stability?
Although there's still arguments on how helpful dryland really is to a swimmer, one thing for sure. Stability is needed on land AND in water.
Some of you are not getting faster because you're trying to beat a dead horse on the technique side, while failing to provide the necessary athletic stability needed to even attempt the technique.
If you have hit a plateau with technique, maybe it is time to look at additional options to help your performance. A simple one is to add in stability work.
For example, in our SURGE+ community, we are kicking off a whole month of stability work in preparation for any spring event on the schedule!
What does this look like? If you're looking for a starting point, test your front and side plank maxes.
How long can you hold each one?
Did you know that the USOC aims to have athletes complete a four minute front plank and two three minute side planks? Want to know something even more crazy?
THIS IS PURELY FOR INJURY PREVENTION!
I'm scared to go and measure age group, college, and masters programs to see where everyone stands. The value of stability is high.
Stability is much more than your ability to just hold a plank.
Stability is much more than your ability to just hold a basic plank. Swimming and other sports are not stationary. We also need to show stability with other factors, like rotation, thrown into the mix.
I love using the planes of motion to spice up a basic plank. Dan Jackson does a great job with this. Although swimming is very repetitive, athletes should have a balance of all planes of motion. Can you reach to the sagittal plane, frontal plane, and transverse plane?
The nice thing is you get some variety with the different planes. The same goals with a slightly different approach breaks up the monotony of training.
Stability has an effect on the entire body.
Don't think stability is just for the "core." All aspects of life and performance require stability. At the very least, I urge you to be preventative in your stability mindset. Too many swimmers are reactive and could save themselves plenty of heartaches and training stoppages along the way.
Just being able to keep training going and not being interrupted by injury is a great way to get closer to your goals! Here's some movements that will have you focusing on total body stability!
Ready to stabilize?
For the month of March, our SURGE+ community is on the path to a greater comprehension of stability!
If you're looking for that final edge heading into your spring meets, take our FREE trial and explore what is in store for the month of March. You'll be on your way to much better body positioning and the stability of a champion!
I'm Ready to Stabilize
Let's get started and optimize your performance!