if you didn’t catch the triathlon beginner post PART 1, and you want to add more triathlon distance, then you may want to check that out.  In part one, I mentioned three key aspects of being comfortable in the water, and dealt with some of the psychological aspects of water comfort.  Today, we will deal with my specialty, the physical aspect of swimming ease.

Not all bodies are they same in the water.  You may have noticed that fish and rhino’s have different bodies, which makes a tremendous difference in the two species swimming abilities.  So what makes a human body do well in the water?  Certainly strength and endurance play a part, which a good conditioning program can help us with, but what other factors are there!

Would you believe me if I told you flexibility?

A flexible triathlete? Can you do this?

Well you should, because it’s huge.  Flexibility can affect stroke length, kicking technique, plane of your body in the water, power generation, ease of breathing, and water balance/ agility.  Wow right?  Who would have thought.

So those stiff as a board endurance athlete bodies don’t really help you swim like a dolphin, get over it because flexibility can change like Gaga’s fashion statements.  How to change your bodies flexibility is too big a topic for this post, but I can tell you which movements will help.

It goes without saying that shoulder movement is key, but what most people don’t know is that shoulders often lack the outer 25 to 30 degrees of motion that would make a big difference for swim success and safety.

Trunk rotation is huge for water balance, breathing, and developing an efficient kick.  About the efficient kick, don’t underestimate the importance of your legs in swimming.  Another leg motion that can help is Abduction, or out to the side flexibility, especially for breast stroke and treading water.

Flutter kick needs decent mobility of the structures on the front and back of the hip joint.  Finally, backward bending of the spine is really helpful to being at home in the water.

You see, to move in water we need to move like water, with flow.  Flow is only possible with technique and flexibility.  We will cover some technical aspects in the next triathlon beginner post and help you add even more triathlon distance (part 3).

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