Position of the elbow in the grasping phase.

The efficient locomotion of any body in a viscous fluid is something very simple: to go faster it is necessary to reduce resistance and / or increase propulsion. However when we talk about swimming,, things seem to change because all the instructions on “swimming techniques” are aimed al reducing drag, but say nothing about increasing propulsion.

More than 40 years ago, the great swimming coach Dr. James Counsilman was the first to point out the importance for propulsion of the high elbow stance in the grip. This important point should not be underestimated; it is the only technical trait that distinguishes the different levels between swimmers. Let’s forget how swimmers recover their arms, paddle, turn, breathe. Quite simply, the way they grip is what makes the difference between being fast or beign slow. Many times we can observe a swimmer who seems to do everything correctly: he has a good shake, he has a great recovery, a good linearity and a horizontal position in the water. However, he / she is not that fast. Why? Because it doesn’t have a good grip. Therefore we must not underestimate the importance of achieving an affective grip.

The grip, which Counsilman was the first to mention, can be described by the following analogy: When a person gets on a surfboard and paddles to find a wave, the arms stcik out from the sides of the board, allowing the forearms are in an upright position and the hands push or grasp the water to propel the board foward. Swimmers should not attempt to apply propulsion force until the arms are in this position with the elbows high, because (…) the cannot direct the water back until the arms and hands are pointing foward. The inability to archieve this is the most common technical error that prevents slower swimmers from becoming faster swimmers: performing the pull with the elbows low.

Therefore, now that we have remembered what we had forgotten, we only have to enter the pool and apply it. This is actually true, but the grip (pun intended) to develop a high elbow pull is one of the most difficult skills to master in swimming. The reason for this is that in the movement patterns we learn to propel ourselves using our arms, the elbows are low. Consider doing chin-ups or climbing a rope. Therefore we must focus on how to learn a new way to perform the pull.

Although many use the pull as a way to increase intensity and muscle load, swimming paddles can also be used for technical purposes. The additional pressure on the hands that arises from using the paddles often helps to keep the elbow high and the armpits open, reducing the descent of the elbows, a technical error that occurs frequenty in freestyle (crawl). The improved grip also allows better use of the core muscles, includding the dorsals and the key to swimming faster is engaging these muscles, not just the arms. If a swimmer feels a little fatigue in the last series after a good pull set, then he or she is on the right track. Thinh about this the next time you head to the pool.


This is a question we often ask ourselves when we miss a training day for whatever reason. This can make us feel like it’s the end of the world.

Either due to an injury, illness or recovery time after a running race in different modalities, or some multisport event, we panic if we see that we cannot perform physical exercises for fear of losing shape.

Most athletes know thay is important to take a few days off after a great race, but stopping training to rest and not because of something mandatory such as injury, can be difficult to put into practice due to fear of losing our physical form.

The good news is that you don’t need to worry if you have to take a break up to 5 days of inactivity, this will not negatively affect your fitness.

The efficiency of your body to absorb oxygen in the blood and transport it to your muscles is called Aerobic Endurance. Which creates the ability to maintain a certain level of performance, Along with maintaining the strenght of your muscles, it translates to how well your body can absorb and tolerate the shock or running. along with aerobic endurancethai it is essential to completely avoid injury.

Experienced athletes who have been active for years will be affected differently than beginners. However, for both, seven days or more without physical activity will affect your aerobic endurance. this will begin to decrease and this is mainly due to the physical form acquired in the last weeks and months.

The structural physical condition of the muscles, which we mentioned earlier, is essential to avoid injury, it will start to decrease after seven days or more of inactivity as well, but the big difference is that it will take longer than aerobic resistance to reach levels again. Optimal.

This can be dangerous for those athletes returning to sport because their aerobic fitness indicates that they are doing well, while theis body’s ability to tolerate an event or training loads has decreased due to structural fitness.

So, we conclude that even if your legs feel rejuvenated after a week or two for rest, and feel able to run even in a faster pace, you will be at a higher risk of injury to decreased structural physical capacity, and this is true for all types of athletes whether they are beginners or experienced.

3 – 5 DAYS0 – 1%
1 WEEK8%
15 DAYS20%
3 WEEKS40%
4 WEEKS55%
35 DAYS75%
6 WEEKS90%


It is not a secret to anyone that sports performance is linked to proper nutrition, and not only in relation to energy intake, but also to the set of nutrients that modify protection against tissue damage caused by overexertion. During exercise there is a very high oxygen consumption through respiration. This oxygen creates free radicals that must be neutralized.

Kiwifruit, due to its antioxidant content, can be a perfect complement for athletes. Kiwifruit is rich in vitamin C (a single kiwi provides 100% of the daily requirement of this vitamin), and also provides other antioxidants such as carotenoids or polyphenols.

Vitamin C is essential for the structure and function of skeletal muscle due to its role as a collagen former and as a protector of metabolically active cells from oxidative stress. Consuming kiwi can help protect muscle tissue from free radical damage.

On the other hand, actinidin is capable of hydrolyzing dietary proteins and facilitating their digestion and absorption. Protein is an important nutrient for athletes, since after each session they suffer micro-muscle ruptures that need to be repaired and taking protein after exercise facilitates this repair. If kiwi is consumed with a meal rich in protein, its digestion and absorption will be facilitated, enhancing recovery after exercise. The phrase “Eat meat and sleep …” will sound to more than one.

It could also be interesting to study its consumption before exercise, and test the reaction, since due to its sugar content and its low glycemic index, it is capable of gradually providing energy to the athlete.

Lic. José Agustín Villaverde López, SWIMLAB, swimlab training method, 2019. National technical triathlon trainer level I (FETRI) Conditioning Specialist. Triathlon Conditioning Specialist. Swimming coach Specialist in Open Water Tactics and Strategies. Specialist Technician in Physical Activity and Sports for people with disabilities or reduced mobility. SWIMLAB Head Coach.