The Swimmer Slouch

You will be familiar with the look of the swimmer slouch; a bent back, rounded into a chair, even if the chair is made with only right angles.

And also, the standing swimmer slouch; the knees locked with hips pushed forwards and upper back bowed into a hunch.

Sitting and standing this way is due to tiredness. However it will lead to more imbalance between swimming muscles and the opposing muscles groups; especially rotator cuff muscles and scapular stabilisation muscles. In particular the rhomboids.

There are some simple solutions stop this way of sitting and standing. It takes two steps:

Fix…for sitting:

In a sitting position imagine your hip bone is a triangle. Most of us, including swimmers, sit on the backside of the triangle. If you shift forwards and sit on the front side you will change your position.

Fix…for standing:

In a standing position simply unlock your knees. Sometimes a person will just stand with one knee locked but in either case unlock the knees and keep them slightly bent.

And now…Step two:

In both cases imagine your spinal column as a stack of donuts. You must find the balance point that does not tip over. It is not a case of ‘sit up straight’ or ‘don’t slouch’ but rather a gentle feeling of equilibrium or balance. Finding the balance to keep straight will require some strength in your core. It isn’t a hard strengthening exercise but rather an easy one by imagining balancing.

Sitting and standing correctly is like learning to sit on an exercise ball. A swimmer simply must be ‘aware’ or you fall off.

Some chairs are very difficult to sit correctly in. A deep couch or lazy-boy chair will not allow you to sit correctly unless you sit only at the edge. However for most normal sitting situations it can be easy.

Sitting and standing correctly will allow both the swimming muscles and the opposing muscles to relax which will speed up recovery. It is because the swimming muscles are so well developed that this problem arises. They are heavy, tight and tired. So slouching gives them a break. But unfortunately for the under-developed opposing muscles they can’t bare the weight so they tighten too. These small under-developed muscles begin to cause problems by tightening up creating bowed figures.

Once corrected posture is attained a program of increasing the strength of ‘scapular stability ‘ should be employed before things get bad.

About Coach Gary

I competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul representing Canada and coached in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics for Great Britain. I have a degree in History and a minor degree in Psychology from University of Calgary. I have travelled extensively and have been very lucky to see so much of the world while representing Canada and Great Britain at swimming competitions. I am very proud of the fact that I coached a swimmer to become number one in the world in the fastest swimming race in 2002. I pride myself in my ability to find new and interesting ways to teach swimming. I am an accomplished artist specialising in sculpture, I have another blog called 'swimmingart' where I publish some of my swimming drawings. I have three young children; all boys. I have recently taken up painting and yoga....but not at the same time. You can see my new paintings at:
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