Tip of the Week - Neck Pain While Swimming
If you suffer from neck pain or tension while you are swimming it is likely a technique fault which is causing it. Generally there are 3 faults that tend to place extra stress on the neck muscles which can lead to pain and discomfort.
1. Looking skywards whilst breathing.
Having to twist the neck this far round places a lot of stress on the neck, which can easily lead to soreness after swimming.
When we swim we should use the bow wave created by the head as it passes through the water, the bow wave shape creates a trough by the side of the head which we should be breathing into and when breathing looking straight across the pool in position A below.
The below picture demonstrates this technique to good effect, angling the mouth to the side (Pop-eye Breathing) to allow a low head in the water. Notice how the lower goggle is in the water and he's looking across the surface of the pool, not twisting and looking skywards. Keeping your head this low can take a little getting used to but it's an essential skill to master to make breathing comfortable and relaxed.
2. Breathing Too Far Forwards
The bow-wave trough only becomes deep in the area directly alongside the mouth, which is why we should be breathing directly to the side in position A. If you try to breathe further forwards from this point in position B then the surface of the water is much higher and you will have to crane your mouth and head upwards to find air. This craning position places a large stress on the neck, quickly leading to a sense of fatigue
3. Lifting The Head To Breathe The head weighs approx 5kgs which is rather heavy to lift up and out of the water every time you take a breath. The effort of doing this places a lot of stress on the neck. Lifting the head out of the water like this actually stops the bow-wave forming, so that trough beside your head disappears - making it feel like you have to lift it up that much or you'll swallow water! Trust that when you keep the top of your head in the water the trough will be there for you and you can keep your head much lower.