Some of the best athletes at harnessing the power developed at your midsection are full-contact kickboxers and Thai fighters. They realized early on that strength in the midsection was greatly enhanced with extraordinary flexibility. Flexibility allows them to use their whole body as a power unit, rather than having to rely on individual appendages.
The following drill is one of the most commonly used drills in the martial arts world, and it can become a secret weapon for you in swimming, allowing you to use your hips to propel your stroke.
Why Do It:
To increase flexibility and range-of-motion in your powerful midsection.
How To Do It:
1. Face forward in the middle of an open doorway. Center your body with your feet shoulder-width apart and pointing straight ahead.
2. Reach across your body with your right arm and grasp the back side of the doorjamb with your right hand, thumb down. (Grasp the backside of the doorjamb that is nearest to your left shoulder.)
3. Reach behind your body with your left arm and grasp the front side of the doorjamb with your left hand, thumb UP. (Grasp the front side of the doorjamb that is nearest to your RIGHT shoulder.) Use the left hand to assist you in rotating your body. The goal is to turn your shoulders 180 degrees, so that the left shoulder ends up where the right shoulder started out. Be careful to keep your feet pointing straight ahead, since there is a tendency for them to move in the direction that you are twisting, negating a good deal of the benefits.
4. Repeat the same process, twisting to the other side.
5. To achieve the best results, hold each stretch for 10 seconds while exhaling, and twist three times to each side. In the beginning, youï¿½ll probably find that you can rotate a little farther in one direction. With practice, however, you should develop equal rotation on both sides.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
After performing the above stretch, assume the same beginning posture, but instead of keeping your knees locked, bend them slightly. This allows the stretch to be felt deeper in the hip. Itï¿½s important to perform the beginning stretch as a predecessor to this one for best results.
NOTE FROM GO SWIM: You can read more about Tom Drum, and order one of his fantastic Back-It Balls at www.tomdrum.com. Call Tom at 888-565-9559 for group/team discounts.