I arrived limping, I left walking.
Tom, Maidenhead

Openwater Swimming – Release before you Suit Up


Thankfully the water temperatures have finally risen and the familiar splashing noises lakeside can be heard once more.  For a number of seasons now I have spread the word about getting your body released and tuned for the wetsuit/openwater swimming.

There are 2 main areas that we need to pay attention to

  • The position of the floatation panels on the wetsuit
  • The body’s ability to straighten sufficiently at the hips and low back

Wetsuit Characteristics 

There is a lot of tech in the modern wetsuit. With each suit across many brands giving a different swim experience in terms of float, stretch and position, the ultimate design is to provide buoyancy where needed and enhanced performance. Let’s look at where the buoyancy panels are situated and how they may have a negative effect upon our performance mechanics.

In most wetsuits there are enhanced buoyancy panels increasing the neoprene thickness up to as much as 5mm (maximum permitted).  These panels are located about the upper chest and low leg (not exclusively).

With most of us swimming with our legs a little lower than we would like, its great to get the wetsuit on and have the feeling of being more streamline

Physical Characteristics

Given the amount of time that we sit down, in a car, at a desk, or even on a coffee stop, we develop a significant amount of tightness into the hips and pelvis, the downside of this being that we lose the inability stand up tall through the hips.

Tightness develops in the following areas

  • Front of Hip
  • front of the lumbar spine
  • front of the thoracic spine

Now think about where the extra buoyancy is situated and where our tight areas may manifest.  The increased buoyancy in the legs will encourage the legs to sit higher in the water, this in turn will lead to increased stress upon the front of the hip and back.  then add on the increased buoyancy on the upper chest panel  and you will get increased height into the torso with the same resulting factor

If these areas can be released out, then the effects of the wetsuit will have less impact upon them and will lead to a more comfortable swim position

Solution – Stretch & Release

  • Hip flexors and rectus femoris (one of the quads)
  • Lower Abdominals
  • Pecs and chest

Here is a video link to summarise the above.  If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact the clinic. Or if you are not able to resolve an ache we await your call to make an appointment.

Open Water Swimming: Release Before You Suit Up from Drummond Clinic on Vimeo.

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