As both an aerobic and resistance activity, form matters a lot in swimming. Mastering its technique will help you make gains in speed, confidence, endurance and strength. This is because water is 800 times denser than air, so how efficiently you wade through it will determines its resistance.
For example, if you swim with your hips and feet deep below the surface, you experience greater drag. Consequently, you will tire easier and lose speed.
Bad Form Can Lead to Injury
If speed and endurance are not your primary fitness goals, you are not exempt from learning proper swimming technique. Every bad habit increases stress on your muscles and joints. Over time, this can lead to pulls, tears and strains. For instance, if you rely mostly on minor muscle groups like your deltoids and triceps, you risk hurting your rotator cuffs.
Besides injury, improper technique can lead to muscular imbalances. Many new swimmers breathe from one side, giving their strokes an asymmetrical form. In effect, one side works harder and you lose the ability to swim linearly. In open water without lanes or buoys, this could mean losing direction and struggling to overcome currents.
Lessons and Training Key to Forming Good Habits
For exercises like running, most of us naturally adopt the right form. It’s almost instinctual. Conversely, we must learn to swim before jumping into a pool or lake. Who instructs us influences our technique, so sometimes friends and family are inadequate teachers.
As a beginner, it’s best to enroll in professional lessons to build a strong swimming foundation. Correcting bad form later in life is more challenging. Not to mention, lessons enforce a swimming routine, which ensures you meet your fitness goals week-after-week.