Category Archives: Hints & Tips

9 Tips to Improve Your Freestyle Technique

Laura Dennis Freestyle

Photo credit - Laura Dennis

Here are some tips to improve your freestyle technique for beginner to intermediate swimmers. Unlike other more complicated strokes, since we are so familiar with freestyle visually and mentally, it can be difficult to make minor corrections. Remember to be patient with yourself as you work to refine this stroke to help reach your athletic and/or fitness goals.

  1. Most new swimmers naturally want to keep their torso turned towards the bottom of the pool. For the freestyle stroke you really need to focus on swimming on your sides by rolling from side to side with each stroke. Not only will this technique improve your speed, it also helps you engage the muscles on your back to avoid shoulder injuries.
  2. A nose-clip for beginner swimmers who are working on their technique is a great way to help the swimmer focus. The nose clip keeps the water out of a swimmer’s nose when they are working on fine-tuning their strokes. It isn’t for everyone, but if you are easily distracted it may be worth a shot.
  3. When you are training make sure to have swimwear that allows for comfortable range of motion in the shoulders and back. AMANZI Swimwear is designed with thin straps and open back that give swimmers the freedom they need to work on their freestyle stroke.
  4. To keep good momentum as your hand enters the water, make sure that you are driving it in aggressively. Imagine the speed that a pelican hits the water, and that your hand is the beak of the pelican.
  5. Consider using power paddles when you train to help refine the position of your hand. Using hand paddles help ingrain the correct position of the hands into your muscle memory.
  6. Kick from the hip, not from the knee. This means your leg will be relatively straight when you are kicking through your freestyle laps.
  7. As you work through your laps remember to point your toes constantly to avoid extra drag. For runners, you may need to do ankle stretches to help open up the ankle to hold it in the pointed position.
  8. Work with a coach, trainer or even another swimmer, so you can receive feedback on your freestyle stroke from another set of eyes. Often our technique may feel right, but another person can see things you can’t.
  9. Keep focused with every stroke. It can be easy to drift back into bad habits when swimming. To form new and better techniques one has to constantly concentrate on their stroke until it becomes natural.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Photo creditCourtney Home

You may have heard it through the grape vine that yoga is awesome for swimmers! Yet, perhaps due to time, money or will power, you just never seem to be able to make it to an actual yoga class. Whatever your reason, you can still get some of the physical benefits of a yoga without ever stepping foot into an official yoga class. By doing these following poses you’ll stretch out muscles that get especially tight in a swimmer’s body.

Passive Chest Opener

This relaxing pose requires minimal effort from you, but it provides a huge opening to the chest and shoulders. Roll a blanket into a cylinder shape that is the width of your shoulders and about five inches in height. Lay on the ground, so that the long side of the blanket is horizontal to your shoulders. Sit down about five inches in front of the blanket with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Slowly lay back with the goal of getting your shoulder blade tips on top of the roll. Lie back on to the roll and allow the arms to go out into a t-shape or ninety degrees for a deeper stretch. Stay in this position anywhere from two to five minutes.  

Eagle

The Eagle is a challenging balancing pose that opens up the shoulders and hips. Take your left elbow under the right, so that your forearms form an x-shape. Next, try to connect close the hands in towards one another. Ideally you want to try to cross the wrists, so that the fingertips of the bottom hand touch the palm of the top hand. Next take your hips back as if you’re going to take a seat. Lift up the right leg then cross it over the left thigh. If you can, try to hook the foot behind the calf. Stay in this pose for six breaths then when you are ready, squeeze everything in, then unfurl and release.

Downward Facing Dog

This is the one stop pose for all of your ailments, because it accesses just about every part of the body including your ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, chest, spine, triceps, chest, neck and more. Come to your hands and knees with your wrists below your shoulders and your knees slightly back from your hips. Tuck your toes under, then push up with your hands and feet to raise your hips towards the ceiling. Try to hollow out your armpits to bring the shoulders on the back. Push down between the space of your index finger and thumb. To really get a leg stretch, try to sink the heels to the floor. Stay in the pose for as long as feels comfortable to you, remember to take deep and cleansing breaths.

Also, Try A Video!

There are tons of *free* online resources that take you through the basics of a yoga class. We recommend DoYogaWithMe.com as a good site with tons of videos with experienced instructors taking you through a yoga class in the comfort of your own home.

Do I have to warm down after a swim?

Laura Dennis

AMANZI Triathlete Laura Dennis warms down after a hard set

Do you ever get sick and tired of doing your warm down after a race or hard training session?

SwimSci, a blog dedicated to the science of swimming, recently featured an article entitled “Are Warm Downs Necessary in Swimming?.” In this article they discuss various studies that examine the effectiveness of warm downs across various sports, but they especially wanted to find out if warm downs are still necessary after swimming.

If you are interested in the details of studies, you can read the full article here. For those of you in a rush or for those who have little interest in the science side of things, we’re just going to go ahead and skip to the conclusion!

It turns out that warm downs do enhance performance in between events at swim meets according to a recent study. The conclusion to their scientific inquiry is that while cool downs may not be as relevant to dry land sports as once thought, it is still definitely important in swimming. The scientific experts at SwimSci will be following the latest research on this topic to make sure that if there is any change in point of view of the scientific community about cool downs, they will let us know!

Most of you may not be all that surprised that warm downs are a necessary part of the swimming routine. After all most swimmers regularly include a warm-down into their swimming routine, because that is just what we do! Stay tuned to our blog in the future for the perfect warm downs to add to your swims.

 

 

 

5 Footcare Tips for Triathletes and Runners

Taking care of feet can be a huge obstacle for long-distance runners and triathletes, but with a few preventative measures the worst of problems can be avoided. The importance of taking care of feet cannot be understated, since neglecting the feet can lead to plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and other serious injuries. Triathletes especially have a challenge due to the fact they often run on tired legs that compromise their form. Since runners use their feet so much for the sport they love, they really should take the time to keep their feet happy. The following tips will help ward off foot problems for runners.

1. Experiment with Socks

Every runner has a sock method that they swear prevents blisters. The truth is since every runner’s body is different, what works for one runner will not work for the next. The best way to find socks that work the best for your feet is to try out different methods. There are special moisture-wicking socks that pull away moisture from the feet. Some runners wear single-layers or double-layers of socks. Some runners don’t even wear socks. Figure out what makes your runner’s feet the happiest before committing to any single method.

2. Consider foot lubricants

Trislide and other foot lubricants really can help ease the parts of the foot that are really just not happy about the idea for running this long. Under the achilles, on the toes, on top of ankle, anywhere that really bothers you, slather lubricants on to make running a little more comfortable for the feet.

3. Dry feet after showering, swimming, sweating, etc.

Letting any moisture sit on the feet can irritate already sensitive spots. Also, drying the feet helps avoid building up any of nasty bacterial growth on nails and on the skin. Take the time to really towel down between the toes and the entire surface of the foot anytime they get wet.

4. Foot Massages

Runners really give their feet a hard time- why not give the feet a much deserved treat? If it isn’t possible to get someone else to massage your feet, it is easy enough to do yourself. It is even probably a better idea to do it yourself if there are blisters and other sore spots that a person may not know to avoid.

5. Right shoes for cycling and running

Telling runners or triathletes to invest in good shoes probably seems a bit redundant. We already know about your serious running shoe addiction, but just in case you needed the reminder… Make sure to have shoes with good support arches. Replace running shoes as soon as the midsole starts to break down. This may mean spending a little less on the absolute best shoes, so that you can afford to regularly replace your shoes.

Don’t Quit! 10 Inspirational Quotes to Keep You Going When Training

It can be so tempting to quit. Not just for swimmers, triathletes and other athletes, but for everyone. The difference between success and failure often can be just the willpower to continue. When you feel like you’ve given it all, and you are considering giving it up, take a look at these quotes before you consider quitting. Here are 10 inspirational quotes to keep you going when training.

“If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!” – Michael Jordan

“Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.” – Anonymous

“Commitment is what makes us better people. It’s what makes the world a better place.” – Diana Nyad (first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage)

“It’s always too early to quit.”- Norman Vincent Peale

“The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.”- Morgan Freeman

“We will all fail in life, but nobody has to be a failure. Failing at a thing doesn’t make you a failure. You are only a failure when you quit trying.” – Joyce Meyer

“Effort only fully releases its rewards when a person refuses to quit.”- Anonymous

“Don’t quit! Every difficulty is an opportunity in disguise.” – Anonymous

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Elliot

“You don’t get stronger on the days when everything comes easily to you.” – Nastia Liukin

6 Tips on getting chlorine out your swimsuit

How to get chlorine out of your swimsuit

Chlorine is a nasty chemical that you may have noticed damages a swimmer’s hair, skin and swimsuit. To avoid the worst affects of chlorine on swimwear, it is imperative to properly maintain swimwear with basic upkeep. The following tips will not only help you get chlorine out of your swimsuit, but it will also help make your swimsuit last longer:

1. Chlorine Resistant Swimwear
First off, one of the best ways to ensure your swimwear isn’t ruined by chlorine is to invest in chlorine resistant swimwear. All AMANZI swimsuits are made from AMANZI Armor Chlorine Resistant Fabric that helps keep the chlorine from absorbing into your swimwear in the first place. Read more about AMANZI Armor here or click on the image below:

AMANZI Armor

2. Rinse Swimsuit Before Swimming
As a rule, we should always rinse off before entering any pool. An added bonus to this is that rinsing a swimsuit before swimming reduces the amount of chlorine it absorbs as it has already absorbed clean water.

3. Rinse Swimwear After Every Use
When swimwear sits after it has been in the pool, the chlorine will stay in that the fabric and will continue to eat away at it. To avoid this problem just rinse your swimwear with cold tap water after every use.

4. Do Not Ring Out Swimsuits
Ringing out your swimwear does speed up the drying process, but it also breaks down the structure and fabric of the swimwear. Just allow your swimwear to air dry by hanging it up or laying it out flat.

5. Hand Wash Swimsuits
To avoid the fabric of your swimwear from breaking down, the recommended way to wash a swimsuit is by hand washing it. After you machine wash swimwear on a regular cycle the compromised fabric is more likely to absorb chlorine. Most washing machines have a hand wash cycle, but I recommend going the old school way of manually hand washing the swimwear yourself.

Hand washing swimwear is actually pretty easy. Just fill a sink with cold water then mix in some suit saver / tog wash. Let your swimsuit soak in this mixture for around 20 minutes. Once it has soaked massage the swimwear gently to get the chlorine and dirt out. Drain the sink. Next run the swimwear under cold water until the water runs clear.

6. Alternate Swimsuits
Alternating two or three swimsuits gives the swimsuits a chance to dry out and return to its original shape. Swimwear lasts a lot longer if we aren’t constantly keeping it wet and saturated with chlorine by using it every day. Besides, who minds having a couple different cuts and styles of swimwear for the sake of fashion?