Have you ever noticed triathletes who display a pronounced hip wag as they swim freestyle?

Throughout my years of coaching, it has been common for me to observe this “hip wag” in emerging and experienced swimmers alike.  Trust me, doing the hula slows you down!  Fortunately we can focus on a few areas to eliminate this common problem.

First, the problem of hip wag stems from a weak core.  I’ve shared numerous posts on how to strengthen your core muscles — especially the transverse abdominus (TA) — so please refer to them.

Second, this side-to-side movement is often initiated on the front end of the stroke by over-reaching on the arm entry. It can be further exacerbated by too much flexion in the knee, which causes the kick to go too deep (or, worse, out to the side in scissor-like fashion) in an attempt to neutralize the side-to-side movement.

Of course, the result is a swimmer who appears to “wiggle” down the lane…

Finally, when performing this workout — and while swimming, in general — concentrate on not over-rolling your hips and lightly draw in your deep belt line abdominals to help minimize hip wag.

This session includes backstroke, paddles and bands—all which will make your core stronger and help improve your form. If you’ve never used a band, I really like this one from Finis.

Whether you are winding down your season now or ramping it up (I’m talking to you in the southern hemisphere!), this swim session can be included in your routine year-round and performed one to two times per week.

If you give this workout a try, let me know how it went. Get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.

Warm Up

10 min

Every third length backstroke


Main Set

Beginners 8 x 50

Intermediate 10 x 50

Advanced 12 x 50

Rest Interval (RI) 20 sec

Include 15 meters backstroke + 10 meters freestyle and repeat. Effort is quick but not all out. Use your paddles on repeats 1 to 4. No paddles on 5 to 8.

Beginners 4 x 25 Freestyle

Intermediate 6 x 25 Freestyle

Advanced 8 x 25 Freestyle

RI 15 sec

For theses 25s use a band (beginners can use the band and a small pull buoy between their calves)

Beginners 150 freestyle

Intermediate 200 freestyle

Advanced 250 freestyle

First 50 is all-out, then back off to aerobic pace

RI 1 min

Repeat the Main Set 4 times.


2nd Set 

8 to 16 x 25

RI 20 sec with fins.

Alternate odd lengths back dolphin kick with even lengths back flutter kick (all hard)


Cool Down

200 to 300. Alternate lengths back and free with buoy between calves


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