Sinking Legs Aren’t A Problem, Holding On To Them Is.
Everybody likes to float. Some people, elderly ladies for example, float perfectly horizontally when letting the water take the weight of their head, looking down at the floor or up to the ceiling.
But in a swimming pool, if you lie in the water and do nothing, the chances are your legs will sink. If the water is shallow, you can let your feet rest on the pool floor while your head and chest continue to float. This is easier said than done but useful to experience.
People tend to feel that having sinky legs is a problem. If you’re learning to swim, there’s a natural tendency to try to stop your legs from sinking, by tightening everything up – your neck, chest, tummy, buttocks and hamstrings – and pushing your pelvis up. There’s a feeling that if your legs sink, everything’s going to sink. So people panic about sinking legs.
In a Mushroom Float (on your front), you curl into a ball and clasp your legs into your body, shifting your centre of buoyancy higher. It’s fun, and good for confidence because you float in a very stable way, without your legs sinking. A Star Float, stretching your limbs out and pointing your toes and fingers, also produces horizontality, on your front or back.
But a good question to keep asking is, ‘What happens if I do nothing?’. There’s always a security in knowing what we need to ‘do’ whereas doing nothing, letting things happen, can be scary. And if you have sinky legs, it’s useful, if challenging, to let them sink and see what happens.
Lying in the water face down or face up and letting your legs sink will feel alien at first. But when you’re able to do this, it makes you realise that, when it comes to swimming and using your legs to help you move, you don’t need to tighten your neck and back and get your top half involved with what your legs are doing.
Your legs are separate from your pelvis and can move loosely from the hip joints. By experiencing letting them sink, you can allow them to be free, loose and separate, when it’s time to swim.
‘Sinky legs’? Let it go!