One of the reasons SwimBox was started was to help prevent injury from poor/improper technique. My husband, Dominic, had surgery on both of his shoulders in college due to swimming with improper technique. Because of these surgeries, he has limited range of motion and his stroke will never be the same. All of this could have been prevented by correcting his technique he was using during the catch and propulsive phase of his freestyle. So what does that mean for you, special reader you? We’re going to make sure YOU’RE swimming properly to prevent you from having this exact same surgery down the road.
Okay, Lissa, but what is this proper technique you speak so eloquently of? (stahhp it, you’re too good to me). And how can I work to achieve it? I’m so glad you asked! Today we’re going to focus on Triangle Drill and how it will help you make sure your technique is safe and correct. Excited? That’s what I thought.
The purpose of Triangle Drill is to fine tune the movements your body is making during your catch and propulsive phase through to the finish. The most important thing to focus on during this drill is the movement of your SHOULD BLADES. Why? because in swimming your shoulder blades are an extension of your arms. They’re actually the base of your arms, and making sure they move properly during your freestyle is one of the key components to preventing injury and the inevitable surgeries that will follow.
Simply put, your want your shoulder blade to glide upwards toward your ear during your recovery, and downwards towards your back pocket (let’s pretend you’re swimming in jeans for a second) during your catch, propulsive phase, and finish. This movement of your shoulder blade prevents you from putting the force of these movements into your shoulder joint, which is when problems occur.
Start this drill by swimming on your stomach kicking gently, just enough to keep you at the surface. Next, bring your arms in front of your body about shoulder width apart, about 4-6 inches below the surface of the water, and slowly bring them together to form a triangle with your thumbs and pointer fingers. Take a look at the above images to see how you want to set your arms/hands up to being this section of the drill.
Hold this position and mentally prepare yourself to focus on your shoulder blade movement - sliding down toward your (imaginary) back pocket - through your propulsive phase and your finish. It might take you some time to make this movement happen easily, but that’s okay! These changes take time and repetition, and this drill is meant to be moved through very slowly. Take your time!
The last thing to keep in mind? During your finish, make sure your hands feather out away from your body in order to fully maintain your paddle for as long as possible. Keep in mind, your hands will be pulled into your body from the force of your rotation while swimming, so you’ll need to really focus on this movement when first implementing it.
Make sure you watch our instructional drill video to see everything in action before trying it out in the pool!