THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SWIMMING
Traditional training targets body regions such as “knees”, “hips” or “legs” to develop a swimming stroke. For instance, you might think when you bend your knee you use quadriceps muscles. However, any movement in the human body is produced by a group of primary, stabilizing and opposing muscles and is referred as to a kinetic or functional movement chain. As I was developing functional movement related to dancing and running, I realized that kinesiology, the science of human movement, can be applied to swimming.
Movement is carried out by three systems within the human body, the nervous system (central and peripheral), the skeletal and the muscular systems. The nervous system is responsible for sending a signal to activate an individual muscle and has no nerves to “hip” and “leg”, and it is not designed to send a signal to move “the hip” or “the leg”. In addition, the nervous system is connected with a group of primary, stabilizing and opposing muscles that act on the hip joint. Also, moving the “hip” without activating all required muscles can cause poor performance and lead to injury.
The science of human movement defines joint and muscle basic actions as flexions, extensions, and rotations. For example, kinesiology charts define the muscles that act on the hip joint to produce a specific movement such as flexion or extension.
It means that swimming movements can be described as a series of interconnected joint and muscles actions or a functional movement chain. In turn, swimming stroke training will target moving the required muscle and joint groups in proper sequence. For a reference, kinesiology does not have a term called “kicking” and it explains why swimming coaches have trouble teaching this skill by focusing on “hips” and “legs”. Following the logic described above, kinesthetic awareness and neuromuscular efficiency can be trained and they are not God-given ability.