View Full Version : hips too high?

March 31st, 2003, 03:00 PM
My coach says my hips ride too high - they break the surface when I roll, and sometimes even when I'm not rolling my rear end is out of the water. At first I resisted his advice to try to sink my hips, since it goes against everything I've heard. Then I saw photos from a meet and looked around at other swimmers. Even those with more "hip girth" than me always swim with their posteriors underwater. When I use all my mental energy to try to push them down, I do seem to go a bit faster, but it's tough.

I have tried raising my head. This does not help. I think it has to do with my spine - my posture on land is not that great, either. I'm 26, 5'3" and 115. I am pretty muscular, but the fat I do have is on my hips/thighs. I think that might be a reason for this "high butt" problem. (I'm pretty flat-chested, to answer the next logical question.)

Is my coach right? Should I continue trying to submerge my hips? Does their breaking the surface cause me to slow, according to the laws of physics? Or would it help, since there's no water resistance? What else, besides raising my head position, can I do to fix this, if indeed it should be fixed?

(Swimming background - started swimming 2 years ago. Started basically from scratch. I swim a 1:30/100yd race pace.)


March 31st, 2003, 05:35 PM
Hi Alice -

The body position you describe is common among swimmers - young and old. Lifting your head out of the water will lower your rear end, but that is a lousy solution.

Your rear end is out of the water because you are actually slightly bent at the waist - very slightly probably imperceptibly so. This could be flexibility of your hips.

To get a feel for a better body position, you can do one of two things:

a) Lie on the floor on your back and lift your butt slightly off the floor with your knees straight. The weight of your body should be on your heels and back of your shoulders. or

b) Lie on the floor on your stomach and lift your legs off the floor (knees straight) and chest off the floor as well.

Either one of these will help you feel the muscle control necessary to change your body position.

Once you get back in the water, the other part that you might need to think about is how you are fluttering kicking. Kicking up is almost as important as kicking down because it helps align your body during the stroke cycle. It isn't a major upward kick, but enough to bring your heels close to the surface. You will feel the muscles working - hamstrings and lower back

All of this can be done without looking forward or lifting your head.

Swimming with your butt out of the water is like seeing a rock in a stream. You will go slower because the water has to flow around the "rock." Get the "rock" underwater and the water flows right over.

Good Luck - hope this is descriptive enough.

Paul Windrath

March 31st, 2003, 06:01 PM
Thanks for your detailed reply. You are correct about the muscle control of the spine, I'm sure. It figures into my imprecise flipturns as well.

About the kicking "up" - I've never really gotten the hang of kicking. I do a 6-beat kick and the kick that goes with the body roll is strong, but when I do kick sets, I go hopelessly slow.

What is it that my feet are supposed to be doing?

I think I am not pointing my toes and I am supposed to, but I'm not sure that's right. I've heard the motion is like kicking a soccer ball, but I didn't play much soccer and it doesn't seem to translate for me. Not surprisingly, my breaststroke is terrible because my kick is bad there, too.

Thanks for your help.