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Swimming article question

Ste H
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11/22/2016 - 2:06pm
Swimming article question

Hi everyone. I read the article a little while back on the benefits of swimming for strengthening the muscles that hold the rib cage down. I am always trying to target the muscles and work the rib anchor so I thought this would be perfect for me.

So I went swimming for the first time in about 10 years. as soon as I got into the water my stomach just sucked right in uncontrollably. I have always liked exercises that target the transverse abs but last time I was at physio they told me I need to learn to relax my stomach in general as I am in a habit of sucking in, probably from years of practice, which at the time I thought was a good idea.

So I was wondering, is it bad that my stomach sucks in a lot as soon as I am into the pool. My whole body feels like it just tenses up, I don't mind it but I feel like it's probably not a good thing, plus my ribs still flare. Anyway I just wanted some opinions on that. Also I wondered should I consciously hold the ribs down whilst in the pool / swimming? even if this means activating the rectus abdominal as much as the obliques? I know it's not ideal, which is why I am wondering if I am doing more bad then good at the moment.

Also I have very over active lats and neck muscles which swimming seems to tense up a lot more. Just wanted some opinions on that until I can get to a practitioner. I love the book but haven't had any benefit of it just yet, thanks in advance for any advice at all! :)

penwell.robyn की तस्वीर
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06/27/2011 - 1:04pm

Hi Ste,

Robyn Penwell, Gokhale Method teacher and Kinesiology professor here.  I have found in my own swimming practice that returning to the pool after an absence often comes with tense, inefficient, and rusty swimming for a couple of sessions.  I fight the water instead of flow along in it, and it is exhausting!  As much as possible, try a little each session to relax more and more in the water.

Try this excercise before swimming laps:  hold on to the edge of the pool and float (on your back so you can breathe, or bobbing submerged if you can safely and prefer it).  As you float, scan your body for tension and systematically relax each body part until your stomach and chest relaxes and your breathing deepens.

Swimming laps is very rhythmic, and hopefully you will find, as I do, that the meditative aspect of rhythmic swimming and taking breaths coaxes your body into a moving meditation.  Efficient, technically safe swimming requires relaxation, too.

I do recommend using the inner corset to stabilize the core and lengthen the spine while swimming.  I believe the inner corset also promotes good technique of proper body roll (you can look on youtube for instruction on body roll from the US swim teach coaches if you don't know to what I am referring).

I'm glad you are enjoying the book!  To make real progress, seek out a certified Gokhale Method teacher for hands on instruction.

Best,

Robyn

Ste H
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11/22/2016 - 2:06pm

Hi there, thank you very much for the reply. I only just  saw this, perhaps I will give swimming a go and try get into a more relaxed state! Saying that I am unsure just how relaxed I should be when swimming? I assume if I am using the inner corset I should not be too relaxed.
Also looked at some drills for the body roll, might be worth trying :) Thanks again

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