A guiding principle in our product development is that a good training tool helps solve a particular problem and teaches the athlete how to use his/her body to solve that problem once the tool is removed. One way we achieve this is to design training tools that force the swimmer to engage the muscles directly involved in a particular problem. The integration of strength training focused on a problem and natural body position increases overall body awareness and leads to improved performance.
One problem we have been working on is helping swimmers use their core to connect the upper and lower body. You often see the absence of this connection in poor body alignment or in a swimmers whose level of exertion does not match the speed they attain. They work very hard with their legs and arms and yet move forward very slowly. We have written extensively about this concept—called kinetic chain—in previous posts. The idea is that the human body is a set of interlinked components that work in unity, like links in a chain (see image). The core is the link that coordinates the parts of the body.
Kinetic Chain image source:
Complete Conditioning for Swimming. Dave Salo and Scott A. Riewald (2008)
AquaVolo CoreLink was designed to help swimmers develop awareness of the core and learn how to use the core to coordinate the upper and lower body.
AquaVolo CoreLink is a buoyant device that the swimmer places between the legs. CoreLink forces the swimmer to squeeze their thigh muscles during the swim. By squeezing the thigh muscles, the swimmer engages the core and develops awareness of the muscles responsible for attaining a horizontal body position. Because the core is engaged, the kinetic chain stays intact, effectively connecting upper and lower body. Similar to other AquaVolo products, awareness of the core remains when you stop using CoreLink.
One unexpected benefit of CoreLink is that the kick feels lighter and more coordinated. It seems that the improved body alignment improves kick.
AquaVolo CoreLink was designed for pulling and for various drill sets. As with our other products, coaches and swimmers will discover other creative ways to use it.