Pull Glide drill

three person diving on water

The majority of triathletes like using a pull buoy to make life easier for themselves. Very few use it as a tool to improve their swimming – so here is a potential drill that you might be able to use.

Rather than relying on a pull buoy to keep the hips afloat you can actually use the float to help focus your balance. This drill also allows you to think about controlling the water as you pull, and accelerating your body through the water.

How To Do It

With a pull buoy, lie on your side (same position as side kick) take one pull, roll and glide on the opposite arm – ie take one normal stroke. When your glide slows to a stop, take a pull on the other side. The idea is to get you accelerating the hands through under the water, really pushing the water back and taking control. The idea is to swim the length in as few strokes as possible.

Do It Really Well (The Fine Points)

  • Keep the core really tight throughout – this will help keep you in a straight line and make rotating from the hips considerably easier.
  • Squeeze the hands/forearms through the water to lever the body forward as much as possible; snatching quickly at the water will mean that you don’t travel as far or as fast per stroke. Notice how James in the video has his elbow higher than his hand at all points, with the forearm pointing straight down for as long as possible.
  • Finish your stroke past your hips – this will help focus that back end of the stroke, you should feel the acceleration of the body as your hand moves further back.

As always there are pros and cons to every drill – for example, catch up is a great drill for thinking about front quadrant swimming and keeping one hand in front at all times, and being as balanced as possible – however it really limits the opportunity for rotation and stiffens up the hips. Similarly, this drill is aimed at controlling balance through the hips, and accelerating the hands through under the body, but the downside is that we don’t want to over emphasize the glide when we go back to full stroke.

Take your time with learning this – as with any skill. The point is that drills are there to make you smoother, stronger, more efficient. Make sure you hit all those target points!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here!

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