When it comes to swimming, you can always strengthen your muscles, improve your strokes, and take private swimming lessons in Singapore. However, despite doing all of them, you might never attain your full potential should you neglect one key aspect of being a great swimmer: your breathing. Poor breathing wears out your body and energy, in addition to making swimming more challenging due to the added resistance to your swim.
That said, proper breath control technique is essential for optimal performance during a swim. It helps you stay relaxed and focused and can also improve your endurance and speed in the water as you allow more oxygen into your body. If you’re looking to improve your breath control and performance while swimming, here are five tips to consider;
1. Focus on exhaling underwater
Many beginner swimmers hold their breath while their face is submerged, which can lead to panic and a loss of form. On top of that, these swimmers tend to experience windedness while swimming and think they have an oxygen deficit or a shortened oxygen supply. In actuality, they are most likely feeling breathless because of a carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up.
As your body utilises oxygen as a form of fuel, CO2 is produced as a by-product that needs release. As such, you’ll find that you will continue to feel uncomfortable during your swim if you take deep breaths but don’t properly exhale to lessen the CO2 build-up.
Instead, try to exhale fully through your nose or mouth while your face is underwater. This will help you relax and maintain a streamlined position in the water.
2. Take deep breaths
Deep breaths not only help you relax, but they also provide your body with more oxygen, which is essential for maintaining energy and endurance. Swimming can be physically demanding, so having a good supply of oxygen can help you last longer and swim faster. Moreover, a deep breath can help you stay buoyant in the water, making your strokes more efficient and reducing drag. Tip: Try to take a full, deep breath in through your nose before each stroke.
3. Use the proper breath control technique for your stroke
Different strokes require different breath control techniques. For example, freestyle and backstroke swimmers can benefit from taking a breath every two strokes, while breaststroke and butterfly swimmers should ideally take a breath every stroke. That said, it would be best to experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.
4. Practice bilateral breathing
Bilateral breathing is the practice of alternating which side you breathe on while swimming. It involves taking a breath to one side and then turning the head to the opposite side to exhale.
Breathing to only one side can cause your body to become unbalanced, leading to a loss of efficiency in your strokes. Thus, bilateral breathing can help improve your balance in the water and aid in keeping your body centred and aligned – this improves your overall performance.
Additionally, bilateral breathing can assist you in developing better symmetry in your strokes while helping you become more comfortable breathing on either side. When you only breathe to one side, it can cause you to favour that particular side, leading to imbalances in your stroke. By breathing to both sides, you can develop a more balanced and symmetrical stroke, improving your speed and efficiency.
5. Use visualisation techniques
Visualisation techniques can be a powerful tool for improving your breathing and performance in the pool. For example, imagine a steady stream of air flowing in and out of your body as you swim, or picture yourself gliding effortlessly through the water with each breath. This is especially useful for visual learners who require a mental image and can easily picture images in their heads, as it can significantly improve their breathing.
Whether you’re supporting your child in their swim lessons or improving your swimming abilities, breath control and performance are two very important aspects to keep in mind. And while implementing these five techniques can improve your breathing and overall performance while swimming, it helps if you remember to always listen to your body and take breaks when needed. More importantly, don’t hesitate to ask a coach or more experienced swimmer for help if needed! With some practice and patience, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more confident and efficient swimmer.
At SG Condo Swimming Lessons, we offer private swimming lessons for toddlers, kids, teenagers, and adults in Singapore. No matter your age, join us today to learn how to improve your swimming performance with the right breath control techniques!