Technique & Drills For Using Your Core For Swim Power & Speed

by SwimSwam 0

November 13th, 2017 Training

Courtesy of Eney Jones

“Siren salamander, slimy and brown, sat by the water worried he might drown. Along came a spotty little mudpuppy. She sang. Don’t worry you have gills to help you breathe.” 
Linda Ayers

When you reach for the catch in swimming, I sometimes say “punch the monkey” because when a boxer punches he does not punch straight out in front of him. There is no power there. The boxer is able to engage his core by punching forward and down. In the catch you want to activate your latisse dorsi as early as possible along with your obliques and your core. A flat outreach will only incorporate your trapezius and deltoid muscles.

When Mike Bottom Coach of the University of Michigan explains a “hip driven“ freestyle, he says “snap the hip into the catch” After some years of perplexity on my part, I finally have some visuals for you.

Visualize the movement of a salamander

The first is through the salamander. Salamanders alternate legs on opposite sides of the body move at the same time. Think stretch through the oblique but hike up that opposite hip to get 6 more inches in the reach while still engaging the lat and the core. Feel the cross-connection between the right hand left hip hike and left foot kick. Visualize a superhero taking off because this is what it looks like (one arm up- the other down). Your stroke is right arm to left arm, left arm to right.


  • One arm lat activation drill – Use only one arm grab the lat of the working arm. Engage the lat early, feel it working.
  • Punching the monkey drill – Grab over the ends of the paddles. Get more air speed and make a more deliberate or committed catch
  • Fiddle faddle drill – Paddle on right hand fin on the left foot swim- then switch. Use the strength of the core.

By using your core you will get more. You will see results faster than just using your abs, You will use your abs and obliques, your erector spinae (your back) and your glutes. More muscles and bigger muscles will be involved. It will no longer be just your shoulders, deltoids and traps. You’ll get visual body results faster, but more importantly, you’ll get faster faster.

For great core technique check out Cameron Mcelroy 50 free underwater!

Eney Jones has achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer, and is also a yoga instructor.

  • Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
  • Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
  • National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
  • Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
  • Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
  • European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
  • Over twenty-time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
  • Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
  • Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).

Check out Eney’s The Latest Research On Swimming Fast In Open Water with Eney Jones – Effortless Swimming.

More about Eney Jones.

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