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FLIPPIN’ FINTASTIC

Try out Fiona Ford’s fins-based training sets to improve your leg position, strength and kick

As endurance swimmers, we need to optimise our leg position behind the body so as not to create drag. However, it’s not as easily said as done as many of us suffer from shortened or tight hip flexors or lack of core and glute strength due to the unhelpful hip flexion that we all find ourselves subjected to in daily life, while sitting in our day jobs, or if spending a lot of time driving, cycling or running. This can result in poor leg position in the water that slows us down.

The targeted use of fins for swimming and the use of specific drills can help improve strength and flexibility and allow us to maintain a better leg position in the water.

In addition, many swimmers are unaware of their leg kicking rhythm. Swimming with fins is an excellent way to develop coordination of your leg kicking rhythm, particularly if you are trying to shift the balance of propulsion from your legs to your arms. Anyone who has tried kick sets will soon recognise how energy demanding it can be using large muscle groups such as quads and hamstrings for forward propulsion, so decreasing the demands on our legs makes sense for long distance swimming. The Olympic marathon swimmers recently in Rio displayed a range of leg kicking rhythms, from a two-beat in the early and middle stages of the race to conserve energy to an eight-beat kick when putting in the final surge for the finish line.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In this issue we explore wild swimming in Scandinavia, where the right to roam extends to swimming outdoors – in some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. We also bring you reports from some our favourite events of the summer – more swims for you to add to your bucket list! We hear from Howard James and Sabrina Wiedmer about their record breaking swims – the earliest (and coldest) English Channel crossing and the first woman to cross the Dál Raita Channel, respectively. And if that all sounds a bit too hardcore and serious, Dan Abel shows us how to keep our swimming fun. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.
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