Core Control Swimming: What is your core doing?

May 5, 2014 admin
  • It allows more of the power produced by your kick to push you forward through the water.
  • Good body position in the water leading to a better “streamline” position and a more efficient stroke due to less drag.
  • A more stable attachment point for the powerful shoulder muscles to work from. This means that they can work more effectively and move your stable trunk through the water more easily.
  • Helps reduce over activity of some muscles. This means less general muscle tightness.
  • Less chance of injury.

Adding a couple of simple drills to your workout sessions can be enough to ensure you core is strong and stable throughout your entire training week.


Core Control Check


Stand facing a mirror with your finger tips on the bone at the front of your hips. Lift one leg off the ground so that the foot is held in the air near the opposite knee without touching. Bend the leg you are standing on so that you squat to 90 degrees and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times on each leg.


If you notice any of the following then you will benefit from some specific trunk and pelvic control work:

  • your knee buckles inwards toward the other leg as you squat
  • your hip moves outward so that it is not above the foot
  • the two points under your fingertips do not stay level as you squat
  • you cannot keep your body from bending sideways or twisting as you squat
  • if the left looks different from the right during the test

To improve swimming performance and reduce injury risk it is important to perform these exercises for 2-3sets x 1min at least 3-4 times per week. You might use them as part of your warm up before each training session.

Swiss Ball Bridging

Aim: To improve trunk and hip control.
Start: Lie as shown on the ball. Rest your head and shoulders on the ball and ensure knees are bent to right angles. Activate deep abdominals, and gluts.

Action: The key to this exercise is to use your buttock muscles Swiss_Ball_Bridgingto keep your thighs and pelvis in a straight line. Hold your arms directly above your head and then slowly bring one arm down to the side and then return to the start. Alternate left and right.


Aim: To isolate the deep abdominals whilst flexing / extending the hip. Stabilise pelvis and lower back.
Start: As shown. Feel for the deep abdominal muscle.

Action: Activate the deep abdominal. Relax the chest. Whilst maintaining muscle tension practice breathing evenly and then relax. Keeping the spine and pelvis level slide one heel out along the floor, half straightening your leg, and then bring it back to the starting position. Alternate left and right.

If you want to learn which other exercises will help improve your core call (07) 3856 5566 for an individual assessment with one of our physiotherapists.

Plus check out other info sheets for swimmers including:

“Shoulder blade stability” and “Flexibility for a better streamline”.