Swimming with Only an Ankle Band
By Paolina Allan
As the title says, swimming with only an ankle band, take away your pull buoy and hand paddles and see how efficient you are in the pool.
So many benefits with the band only - technique, your rhythm, stroke rate, body balance, efficiency and awareness - mind body connection, and core engagement are only a few of the benefits!
Now if you have never tried this, your first few meters let alone 25 m may feel utterly awful, a sensation of sinking and dragging your feet and bum along the bottom of the swimming pool. However after a few tries ( or many) you will get the swing of the humble ankle band.
You can purchase fancy ankle bands or make your own from an inner bicycle wheel tube, or thera band. You want the band to be secure enough that you are not kicking at all.
Here is why you need to try:
1. You will know right away if you are in a good body alignment position or can even float// balance on the water. Often a swimmer who has not swam as a kid and learned as an adult has a disconnection with their kick and the arms, not working in unison. Or over kicking to help keep the legs at the surface.
2. Helps with body alignment. The better your body position the less drag when swimming - equals faster times! Often Swim coaches will talk about rotating from the hips....however when you rotate from the hips the shoulders should be moving at the same time as hips in the same direction, not separately! The band helps to connect the upper and lower body and become one unit in the water, by forcing you to engage your core and lift your hips up.
3. Superb upper body workout, meaning whole torso engagement. When you swim with a band think of the T Position. Across your shoulders and sternum, you want to push this area more into the water, to help lift the hips up and feel level in the pool. Then once you take band off and swim - the efficiency of gliding over the surface sensation will be in effect. Once again apply this pushing the T-Position into the water.
4. Your catch, pull, finish and rotation will be identified very quickly. If there is poor technique, the ankle band can help you feel where you are not holding the water, you will notice an increased arm rate, then you are out of breath very quickly, that sinking sensation, and breath control out of whack. You can also use paddles, to really help you to get used to this position and having no legs kicking, to compensate to keep you afloat.
Sometimes taking away from the focus of just gettin in the meters in the pool and really dialing into a specific drill at the pool will have huge benefits. So try it out! You will feel stronger, faster and more efficient when racing in a triathlon and therefore have more energy for the bike and run legs.