Developing Better Body Balance in Freestyle

Developing Balance

Horizontal alignment and lateral alignment are key components in developing balance in the Freestyle stroke. In most cases an unbalanced stroke is a by-product of the upper body doing all the work and lower body being far too low in the water creating drag and resistance.  Poor body balance dramatically  affects swimming speed and causes early fatigue. The good news is, that by following the recommended practices below you can improve your body balance in the water and ensure that you are able to perform to the best of your ability not only in the swim but also with more energy to apply to both the bike and run components of your Triathlon event. Tip Identifying  the cause of body balance issues such as: high head, deep pull or wide pull, breathing early or late, limited or excessive body rotation, poor leg kick, etc, does not really matter at this stage. Aim to relax and stay loose in the water focus on light effort and develop a better-balanced body position by following the recommendations below. Almost all of the aforementioned issues can be teased out of the stroke with these very simple practices.

How to improve Body Balance

With water being 1000 times denser than air, it is easy to appreciate the importance of the body remaining as high on as possible to reduce resistance. The following steps will help you to establish a better body position.
  1. By simply relaxing more during the stroke movements and also in a push and glide from the wall, the body has a better chance of remaining higher in the water.
  2. Gain better balance through the push and glide drills advised
  3. Develop a better leg action through shorter repeats done a little faster
  4. Practice swimming slowly with a glide and reduce or minimise the number of breaths you take.
  5. Keep you head as still as possible and look down at the bottom of the pool (excessive head movement often creates the biggest loss of balance)
  6. By breathing less during these practices you will be able to experience an improvement in body position and overall speed. The trick then is to build back more regular breathing with greater control so that the improvements are sustainable.
Repeat each step as many times as necessary in order to build up a level of competence and confidence. You can reduce the amount of practice you need when you can complete the target goals. Target goals are there just to give you an idea of performance and are in order of Improving, good and excellent.  


Useful practices

Goals – Imp / good / Excellent


Push and glide off the wall – remain streamlined with hand overlapping Aim to glide without the use of legs to 5m, 6m and 7m


Fast leg kick to 10m with no board in the same streamlined position Aim to get there in under 12sec, 11 sec, 10 sec


Relaxed swimming – No breathing, Keep good body alignment and keep the head in a level, stable position with eyes looking at the bottom of the pool. Aim to get to 10m, 15m, 25m without breathing


Swim 100m with a very relaxed stroke and minimum effort Aim to breathe every 3rd stroke, 5th stroke or 7th stroke