The Importance of Core activation for swimmers

A swimmer is a non weight-bearing athlete. A swimmer is required to develop propulsion using both arms and legs at the same time without being anchored to anything. How does a swimmer do this in a coordinated and efficient way?

The swimmer activates his/her core muscles to act as an anchor for their arms and legs. The “core strength” a swimmer exhibits when grounded in the gym is not the same as the core control a swimmer has in the water. It is important for a swimmer like all athletes to have good core strength but it is the next step to be able to utilise that land based core strength when floating in the pool.

A swimmer has to learn how to control their core if they want to utilise it for a stable base while swimming. Physiohealth has designed a “swimlates” program to teach swimmers about core muscle control. Swimlates is a land based adapted Pilates program that places the swimmer in a more swimming based posture. People often wrongly assume that a very fit athlete will automatically have a strong core muscles or good actuation and control.

At Physiohealth our experience is that many swimmers lack this control and consequently look inefficient in the water both with their body positon and their effectiveness at “connecting” the upper and lower body. Poor body position leads to excessive arching of the lumbar spine causing lower back pain and increased resistance. If swimmers have a weakness in this area they can get a specific core strength program or take a swimming specific Pliates program at Physiohealth.