Swim session: how to improve your body position in front crawl

An improved body position in the water can set a strong foundation to make the rest of your stroke feel easier. Here's John Wood with the perfect session for improving that all-important body position

Credit: James Mitchell

So many people have issues with their swimming. Whether it’s learning to swim or trying to get quicker, there are many facets and focus points that you can work on. The good thing is that if you can give yourself a solid foundation, a stable base, everything else becomes a little bit easier.


That foundation for your swim stroke is a good body position. Other efforts in your swim almost become worthless if you don’t get your position correct – because breathing will be harder, you’ll be creating more resistance against the water (meaning you’ll have to work harder), and you won’t be in a position to pull and kick as efficiently as possible.

Good body position relies on keeping your spine as long as possible, keeping your neck neutral (i.e. chin tucked in a little, looking down at least to a degree), and engaging your core. By doing this, your hips will come closer towards the surface, like a see saw, and make it easier for you to roll your body to breathe.




300m as:
4 x [50m front crawl;
25m any other stroke]

2 x 50m with 10secs rest, side kick

Keep your lead hand level with your shoulder, below the surface

4 x 50m with 15secs rest as: 25m streamlined kick (arms in front ears/cheeks between your biceps, when you need to breathe lift your head forward, then go back to looking down; 25m swim


4 x 25m with 10secs rest as:
2 lengths pull; 2 lengths swim

50m easy backstroke

4 x 50m with 15secs rest as: 50m pull buoy; 50m swim

4 x 100m with 20ssecs rest as:
100m pull buoy; 100m swim

50m easy backstroke

4 x 200m with 30secs rest as:
200m pull buoy; 200m swim

50m easy backstroke


200m easy swim, with at least 50m not front crawl

Adapt for beginner triathletes

Swim shorter and fewer reps throughout the main set. Go 4 x 25m/4 x 50m/4 x 75m/4 x 100m.

Adapt for advanced triathletes

Lengthen the reps, descend the efforts (i.e. get quicker), or put the pull buoy between your knees or ankles.

Top 3 body position exercises away from the water


Keep your body long and straight, elbow underneath your shoulder and draw your belly button towards your spine. Place your feet one in front of the other if needed.


Press your back flat into the floor, stretch your arms up vertically, and knees above hips. Lower one arm back and the opposite leg down to the floor – then bring back up. Alternate sides.


Press your back flat into the floor and stretch your arms out behind your head, arms and legs off the floor. To make it harder, keep the gap between your hands and feet as small as possible.