Sink or swim
Hip sinking is one of the most common issues for triathletes. When your hips are well below the water line your legs will drag. Dragging means you now have to work a lot harder to keep your body close to the surface of the water. Even a good arm action will see you going slower as your sinking legs increase drag. The drag acts as an anchor and will dramatically slow you down. Let me discuss what causes this and how to correct sinking hips.
What causes sinking hips
If your heels are breaking the surface of the water every couple of kicks this indicates good body position where you’re horizontal in the water. If this is not the case there are a couple of reasons why your legs will sink in your swim stroke.
The first reason is if your lifting your head to breathe, or if your rolling over looking to the sky to take a breath.
The second most common reason is if your entering catch is pressing down on the water with a dropped elbow instead of tipping the fingertips down to press back on the water. So when we enter the water we want our fingertips down to the surface so you start to press back on the water and propel yourself forward. Press back, not down.
Another reason why your legs might sink in the water is if you’re holding your breath when you swim. This can create extra buoyancy in your lungs causing your feet to sink. When swimming freestyle make sure you exhale when your face is in the water.
The fourth reason is poor posture and bad connection through your core. We want to swim tall with our chest out, shoulders back and draw our belly button into your spin, squeezing your bum cheeks together.
The firth reason is if you’re looking forward and not down.
The last reason is if you kick from the knees instead of keeping your legs a bit straighter and kick from the hips.
How do I correct sinking hips
There isn’t a quick fix to correct sinking hips in your swim stroke, but you can work at overcoming this by practicing side kick drill. You don’t need to spend hours practicing side kick drill, just incorporate this into the start of every swim session.
The objective of this drill is to create a smooth, consistent kick that allows you to rotate your hips and stay balanced on each side. This will also create a more streamline stroke.
# use fins until you become proficient with this drill
# rotate your hips to one side and keep your shoulders parallel. Keep your head still and look at the bottom of the pool
# extend one arm out in front
# when you need air, rotate all the way onto your back, take a few good breaths and repeat
# do odds on the left side, evens on the right side
# rest 30 seconds between swims
When performing side kick drill
# limit your knee bend
# make sure your ankles are loose
# make sure your head is looking forward and down
# lung buoyancy. Make sure you exhale underwater and you’re not holding your breath
# maintain a strong, engaged core
# be consistent on both sides