2. Pull: The action of moving the arm through the water as it follows the length of your body.
What you’re doing wrong: Dropping the elbow
The objective of the pull phase is to move you forward through the water. A high elbow helps maximize the pull and an efficient forward motion. “Between the ‘high elbow’ versus deeper pull theories, I lean toward the higher elbow (combined with a great body roll) to get the most benefit out of the stroke,” Cleaver says.
The fix: Think of having a Swiss exercise ball underneath you. “If athletes approach the range of motion as if their arm is moving over a Swiss ball, then they will effectively be getting a high-enough elbow and using the full arm to move their body forward in the water,” says Cleaver. You can make your pull even stronger by incorporating strength work into your dry-land workouts. Stretch cords are a useful tool—you can replicate the stroke phases and isolate areas of focus using stretch cords.
“You can also work on the acceleration of your arm underwater, always feeling like there is tension from the water against your hand and arm. You could have a great technique but it might be lacking power if you are not moving over that Swiss ball with enough force.”