Oftentimes in swimming, it is said that a flip turn will make or break a race. Considered to be a “blind” turn, a swimmer’s head should stay directly in line with their body and not look around at their competition when completing the motion. The goal of a flip turn is to eliminate extra drag and remove any unnecessary body movements to quickly change directions. Swimmers must trust themselves when coming to the wall in order for it to be a successful transition. While a large part of a swimmer’s focus should be on the somersault going into the flip turn, an explosive push off the wall can be the determining factor on out touching opponents.
Power Out of the Flip Turn
Practice makes perfect, especially in flip turns for swimmers. After proper somersault techniques are established, swimmers should spend time practicing how to generate the most power and speed coming off the wall. This aspect of the flip turn is a balance between technique and strength, and must be managed properly if the swimmer wants to get the most out of their turn. When heading into the turn, swimmers should practice having a flexed, but relaxed core, and can complete these daily exercises to increase their power off the wall and start their next lap off strong and ahead of the competition.
For swimmers to increase their power and push off the wall more explosively, the streamline squat is a great way to practice technique and work the muscle groups that are necessary for the movement. While completing the motion, it is important for athletes to keep their arms pressed against their ears with their hands stacked on top of each other. This arm position is identical to what happens in the water, and is key to a successful flip turn. In addition to proper arm position, swimmers should focus on keeping an engaged core throughout the entirety of the exercise and their legs should be the only body part moving.
Tuck, Roll, Jump
In similar respect to the streamline squat, this exercise increases a swimmer’s quad strength. The tuck and roll aspect requires a swimmer to explode off the ground to get onto the box. For this exercise to be effective, swimmers need to think about pushing through their feet fully and move their arms to the streamline position.
In order to focus on powerful pushes off the wall, MB thrusts help swimmers practice the proper arm motion that leads the next lap. Similar to in the water, the arms should be quickly transitioned overhead and fully extend to a streamline position. Using a medball will enforce correct muscle memory, while building power, strength, and speed in the arms and legs.
Additionally, streamline crunches are essential for enforcing proper arm techniques. However, instead of focusing on leg power, like the previous exercises did, the streamline crunch puts an emphasis on core strength. The core is a key muscle group for a successful flip turn and should be kept strong, but not too rigid when implementing the movement. The core and legs must work together to quickly change directions and transition smoothly back into the stroke. Overall, streamline crunches aid in the end goal of efficiently propelling swimmers through the water and off the wall.
Once swimmers have the technique of the flip turn mastered, they should begin to build strength for the final push off the wall. The swim-specific exercises listed above are built to help swimmers increase their power and speed coming off the wall of a flip turn. Practicing the movement of the push on land will help build muscle memory to translate in the pool. To learn more about the benefits of dryland training for a swimmer’s body, check out this article.