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Lesson 3: Learn to relax

by Phạm An | | | 0 Comments


Not Only For Beginners

Now that you have had some time to practice getting used to the water

doing bops
blowing bubbles
putting your face in the water
holding breath and relaxing
It is time we start focusing on floating in a proper body position.

However, don't neglect the other exercises if you still have some troubles.

Be patient and success will come.

When floating or swimming the head should be in a neutral position.

By neutral, I mean ears just below the surface of the water and your eyes face the bottom of the pool.

The back of your head is barely dry or even slightly submerged and your suit is right at the surface.

It could help you if you think of your body as a vessel where your core goes from the midsection of your chest to the place right below your hips and your entire body is well-balanced right at the surface.

If your head is in a negative position, your chin is tucked on your chest and all the water is flowing way over your head (NOT GOOD), just relax your neck and your head will float.

If in a positive position the water is hitting you on your hairline or your forehead and your legs are sinking (VERY BAD).

Always repeat to yourself, eyes to the bottom of the pool, eyes to the bottom of the pool or press the chest down.

It can help if you pretend like you are watching your shadow on the pool floor below you.

You can practice getting into the neutral position by performing so-called dead man's float.

I know, I know, it sounds a bit morbid, but read on.

It is a great exercise which will make you swim faster when you master it.

It is at this point that we need to realize that not everyone will float well right from the start, but the majority of us will float eventually (for example women float better than men, more muscular individuals float a bit less, etc.).

So if you are not the lucky floater, you will just have to work that much harder to learn this skill.

Without further ado, let's start to float like a dead man:  

  • Take a deep breath, put your head in a negative position (chin on the chest), be vertical, let your arms down toward your hips and relax - as if you were dead. You can imagine your hands are in your pockets (you will have your feet dangling almost straight to the bottom
  • Very slowly ease your shoulders, arms, and hands into the streamline position (position where your arms will reach forward as if above your head - try to reach with both hands for an apple on a tree).
  • Your head should now be in the neutral position, with the back of the head right above the surface (even right below the surface), ears under the surface and eyes facing the bottom of the pool.  
  • Do not have any movement in your dangling feet or legs (if done correctly, your hips/legs should rise a little)
  • Allow for the hips and legs to ease themselves towards the surface. Play with the lower back muscles and your core to help them a little.
  • Make sure you do not raise your arms out of the water though, they should rest right below the surface
  • You should maintain a constant pressure down with the upper part of your body, especially your chest and your armpits. This should help with getting the legs a bit higher.

If done correctly, your hips and legs should rise even higher to the surface.

In an ideal situation, your body is a vessel floating right at the surface.

Some of you will find yourselves laying on the surface of the water.

This is brilliant, well done.

Some of you will have your feet still dangling down, however, they should be higher than they originally were.

Well done as well.

Don't worry though, if your feet are not right at the surface, this could be changed by practicing more and more and learning to relax more and more.

You probably ask yourselves.

Wow, why is it that my feet are rising.

Well, it is simple.

Your body acts like a teeter-totter (seesaw) with your hips being the axis.

Once you get the head in a neutral position then stretch the shoulders, arms, and hands in the streamlined position right at the surface, you are adding more weight on one side of the teeter-totter/seesaw, so your legs will automatically rise up.

This is why maintaining the constant pressure down with your chest and armpits is very important to keep the legs afloat.

Safe the seesaw image above to your memory if you don't remember it from your younger days :) and next time when you working out in your pool, envision you are a seesaw.


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