overlapping the pull and push

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Don Wright
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overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:11 am

Hi folks!

As a long-time Overglider stuck for a long time on a style with a lot of "arm catch-up" in it, have been trying to get away from my naughty slow habits.

Recently, been playing with a what is for me, a new arm action. In this, I push-off from the wall with the arms initially arranged so that lead arm is almost at the start of a pull, and the rear arm almost at the end of a push. Then from that initial arm arrangement I go into action, doing the pull, finishing the push, and whipping my rear arm across in recovery and enter it making a deeper entry (as in an old SS blog) so that the upper arm is already say 20 degrees below the surface, then bending the elbow to get a backward facing forearm/hand for the catch, before starting the pull. Meanwhile the rear arm is almost finishing it's push. So for a short moment, both arms will be doing propulsive actions.

I've been "mugging up" on what Maglischo says in his tome etc, about this sort of thing - and I realize it may increase one's speed because of a faster arm turnover, but shortens the distance/stroke, and "M" implies there may be some conflict in the water flow. I guess the latter is because there will not be a smooth pencil shape moving through the water disturbed only by a single "paddling" arm, and turbulence from leg action. On the plus side - it does stop me from using any glide action at all!

The "supposed" ideal, is to arrange the arm action so that as the rear arm is about to finish doing useful propulsive work, the lead arm is about to start! But this "ideal" seems to be modified by most, so that the lead arm doesn't start dropping down to the catch until the rear arm has started recovery.

Have looked on YouTube under "sprint swimming" to see if I could locate any video clips with UW shots of the "overlapping" sort of action - but drew a blank. Have any of you used this technique and/or have any comments on it?

Bye / Don
Last edited by Don Wright on Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:28 am, edited 3 times in total.

cottmiler
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby cottmiler » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:21 am

The reason that front quadrant swimming is good rather than windmilling is that the weight of both arms is in front of the centre of gravity and this helps keep the legs higher.

In fact I've seen recently that you should even reduce the push phase so as to get the arm back in front the head as soon as possible.
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Don Wright
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:31 am

Good thought "cott..." - though in my case wearing BS reduces that low legs problem! Thanks for the comment, I hadn't thought about the distribution of arm weight.

jtu
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby jtu » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:33 pm

Don, take a look at Ms Swinger (it's now on android). Personally, I think the arm/timing mechanics of the Ms. to be much more suited to us adult learners than the Mr. The only thing I would modify in Ms. S (for adult onsets) is to not stretch out as far and not lock the elbow at 180 deg (sort of what smootharnie and others talked about recently about starting the catch a little wider). The app is awesome. (Rather than watch hours of grainy youtube video debating what ian thorpe would do ...) Good luck!

400im
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Postby 400im » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:04 pm

Don how much time have you dedicated to single arm free? There is so much magic in that drill when done with same side breathing. I believe Swim Smooth calls it unco? It helps just about every aspect of the freestyle stroke regardless of skill level. Hands down if I were to rank the most valuable all in one drill for curing on over glider I'd have them get on with single arm. Trust me I have dealt with this myself because in early 90's I got sucked in the 'gliiiiiiide' your way to faster distance swimming discussions and developed a horrible dead spot. During that same period I also developed a 2 beat kick which he didn't mind, but kicking harder was not how he resolved my dead spot. He fixed my stroke timing with single arm or unco. My coach put me on daily doses of single arm/same side every time he saw me peel off a stroke with a gap. It works. There were times he'd pull me out of the workout and stick me in a lane by myself to just drill it until I was ready to smash my face on the side of the pool. Here is all I'd encourage you with on the over gliding:

"As a long-time Overglider stuck for a long time on a style with a lot of "arm catch-up" in it, have been trying to get away from my naughty slow habits."

Yes the unco is incredibly difficult at first, but what do you have to lose if you have been mired in catch up molasses swimming? Accept the new challenge and refuse to stop until you get it nailed. I promise you if you do unco every trip to the pool you will NOT come out the other side the same swimmer, but significantly better in a shorter time frame than you think. Promise. Don't just do thousands of meters of mindless unco. Do a length of unco, swim a length ingraining that timing, swim another length unco etc. Drills are pointless unless you integrate them into your stroke.

Don Wright
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:42 am

Hi folks! Thanks for your input : -

@"jtu" - I've looked on the SS main website and couldn't find any reference to Ms Swinger - think she's only available as an "app" for "clever phones" - no version for PCs!? You will probably chuckle when I tell you neither my wife nor I as "oldies" can understand all these clever phone/tablets/ipads/iphone things. Have got a mobile, just to call my wife if am going to be late coming home from a swim, or have been taken ill, etc. Have no other contacts that I would phone when out and about, apart from contacting them by land-line when at home. My daughter gave my wife a "tablet", for her birthday - and that has been a source of a lot of "cussing" from both of us (the little Chinese guide booklet in pidgin-English was hopeless) - absolutely baffled by these new-fangled things!

@"400im" I've been doing UNCO for a few months now - very slowly - just a couple of lengths at each session. My reaction to it when finishing is similar to that of the lunatic when asked why he keeps on banging his head against a wall "Because it's soooo nice when I stop!". I.e. I don't feel as enthusiastic as you do about it - breathing on the opposite side to the stroking arm, requires me to pause as the arm on the other side spears into the water, as I reverse the shoulder dip and get back onto an even keel in order to turn the head away from that recovered arm for an inhalation. If I don't pause at that time so that my "balance" stabilizes, it makes getting my mouth above the water line too difficult (even wearing BS, I still lie quite low in the water, not quite negative buoyancy, but not good!). On the other hand single arm front crawl with inhalation on the same side as the stroking arm is just a "piece of cake" by comparison. I recommended that to the bod who initiated the recent topic "How do you transition to using your arms for a learner", and he reported that he is pushing ahead OK now. I think the same side inhalation with the one-arm drill is superior to UNCO, because the inhalation window is exactly the same as for the full stroke, and you can monitor the arm attitude for the catch more easily. Whereas with UNCO, the inhalation on the opposite side to the stroking arm seems to have to be done during the pull phase, as far as I can see from close examination of Paul's video demo, because the shoulder dip preceding the arm recovery, precludes one from continuing to inhale on that opposite side - i.e. the inhalation window is quite different from, and shorter than, the proper stroke!

@"cottmiler" - Been thinking about your comment, can you point me in the right direction to find out about the weight issue re the arm positions during the stroke, and why FQS is the recommended style. I pulled out my old text book about C of B, and C of G issues for the stability (stable ,neutral, or unstable) for floating bodies - and quickly got lost in considerations of "The Metacentre". Actually, an experimental way to deduce it for a rigid structure like a ship, involves rolling a heavy weight from one side of the boat to another - AHA! I thought , that's like the consideration of the movement of a recovering arm for a swimmer. But on second thoughts I slammed the book shut and put it away again! ;)

Bye / Don

P.S. In case you missed seeing it, I repeat some relevant stuff (indicating why I started playing with "overlapping" as an experiment in arm positioning) from one of my posts on a different thread : -

Just been looking very closely at what Mr Smooth does with his lead arm as the rear arm finishes the upsweep - a very slight beginning to the drop of the lead arm down to the catch. In accordance with Maglischo's "...the arm in front should not begin sweeping down until the other arm has completed it's upsweep." - the movement is not as pronounced as in Adam's sideways shot of Phelps, about to start his rear arm recovery. I had hitherto, wrongly thought that one shouldn't start to drop the lead arm until the hand of the recovering arm came level with the head. That lead arm drop beginning as soon as the upsweep finishes, brings the arm action closer to the supposed "ideal", of one arm about to start useful work as the rear arm finishes it's useful work. Something else to "engrave on my heart" - learning never ends!

No wonder I've been so slow - the combination of keeping the lead arm outstretched until my inhalation had finished (as hand of recovering arm came level with head), i.e. "OG-ing" like crazy - and delaying the dropping of the lead arm down to the catch at that same arm position (hand of recovering arm level with head) - has been a real "killer" to decent forward motion. Too much like arm "catch-up" drill (I remember when first writing about that drill, that I found it a bit "addictive" - evidently and unthinkingly, I just carried on with only a slight mod when supposedly swimming a proper stroke!)

smootharnie
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby smootharnie » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:33 am

What do you guys think of mixing unco with normal stroke during a length?
So swim normal freestyle, but leave one arm at the side for one stroke now and then.(alterbating left and right arm).
This way the momentum and roll is already there so its easier to skip a stroke and move on after that. Also easier to keep the kick synchronised and keep the whole drive going.
If this becomes easy skip 2 strokes, 3 etc.
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cottmiler
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby cottmiler » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:38 am

Don,
This is the info supplied by smootharnie on 9 July on the thread "USA Swimming..." where front quadrant swimming and arm balance are discussed.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb1Supmb2TQ&ind ... xRtJCAqn91
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smootharnie
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby smootharnie » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:00 am

Funny that you show this swimming.
I substituddn KPN for Shelley Ripple to be my example freestyle mental image.
Trying to knit the propulsive phases of both arms together as smooth as possible. So far I had some wow experiences for about 5% of the time at a raised strokerate, fairly straight recovery, concentrating on being tight and straight and using a small pull buoy. :oops:
Got a very smooth roll-propulsion dynamic sometimes that really felt like her stroke, but its tricky on the timing. Everything has got to be timed well and requires some relaxed state.
Very addictive though. Cant get it without the pull buoy yet, but I will get there. Such a blast if you can swim most of the time in that rhythm.
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jtu
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby jtu » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:31 pm

" drill when done with same side breathing. I believe Swim Smooth calls it unco?"
Do you mean breath on the same side as stroking arm? I think Solar calls it beginner 1-arm. Unco is opposite side breathing to stroking arm.

@SA
"What do you guys think of mixing unco with normal stroke during a length?"
I mix the beginner 1-arm, but I can't do unco on weak side. I've been trying to make my weak side equal to the strong side this year, by mixing whole, beginner 1-arm, and sight/breathe; switching left/right; 2 left, 2 right, different breathing patterns, etc. to try to feel equally competent on both sides. I try to inject some randomness to make it more challenging and spontaneous. Want to try to unco again on the bad side.

400im
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby 400im » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:08 pm

jtu wrote:" drill when done with same side breathing. I believe Swim Smooth calls it unco?"
Do you mean breath on the same side as stroking arm? I think Solar calls it beginner 1-arm. Unco is opposite side breathing to stroking arm.

@SA
"What do you guys think of mixing unco with normal stroke during a length?"
I mix the beginner 1-arm, but I can't do unco on weak side. I've been trying to make my weak side equal to the strong side this year, by mixing whole, beginner 1-arm, and sight/breathe; switching left/right; 2 left, 2 right, different breathing patterns, etc. to try to feel equally competent on both sides. I try to inject some randomness to make it more challenging and spontaneous. Want to try to unco again on the bad side.


No you are right! Good 'catch' I don't think I had enough coffee in me. Recovering and entering with right/breathe left. Stroke left/breathe left is for all intents and purposes a catch up drill w/o a stationary lead arm. It places zero emphasis on forcing an earlier breath with the body roll where an over glider is suffering from a passively gliding lead arm. With stroke left/breathe left a swimmer has an enormous amount of time to pick when they want to breathe. With unco you have no choice if you want to keep the momentum going, breathe early/earlier or everything falls apart in one stroke.

Just like speeding up the stroke rate or changing the stroke timing, not one bit of that makes a hill of beans if the breath timing is too late. Not one bit. Breathing is the one place where you can find strokes falling apart all across the globe. If I am not doing unco once a week for a few at least a few hundred yards I can always feel bad stuff creeping into my stroke very quickly. Other than setting my body balance during my warm up every time unco is the one drill I do every single week along with some sculls, usually on the same day which is my longer continuous swim day at very low effort.

jtu
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby jtu » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:26 pm

@400im
Thanks for highlighting the late breathing ... you've motivated me to try the unco on the bad side again and focus that!
For some reason, I never thought of the late breathing although an old SS blog post hints that the drill can improve breathing (http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/12/ ... rills.html). Cheers.

400im
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby 400im » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:48 pm

jtu wrote:@400im
Thanks for highlighting the late breathing ... you've motivated me to try the unco on the bad side again and focus that!
For some reason, I never thought of the late breathing although an old SS blog post hints that the drill can improve breathing (http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/12/ ... rills.html). Cheers.


Stick with it! I have a tendency to get late on my left side and unless I'm in the middle of a really important workout like a test set I will grab my fins and throw some unco in to get on it right away if I feel it. Just a few lengths to sort it out and back to the workout, but it's that important for me. I won't ever go back to that place I was in the early 90's with over gliding it's a deep, dark place that's hard to get out of unless you really know your stroke or have some coaching. Look how many people are on web forums opining the endless struggles of over gliding. It's brutal!

If you get unco down you can't have bad breathing mechanics or timing. I would go as far as saying you can't have a bad catch either and maintain rhythm with unco. So, if you can get unco rocking up and down the pool on both sides that is a HUGE signal you are doing an awful lot right. There is a reason you can find swimmers from 6 years old in clubs all the way to an Olympian like Nathan Adrian doing this drill. It has been around since I started swimming in the 70's and keeps on showing up: Beacuse it works on so many things at once, many of which all swimmers fight at some point or another.

Also I really like that clip that was posted above from Richard Quick he is one of my all time favorite coaches and was such a good man too. Did you happen to hear what he places importance on first? "What the arms and legs do are the last thing we are concerned about. The things we are most concerned about are what you are doing with your posture, line and balance through the core of your body." Of course there is a time to work on what the arms and legs do, but not until nailing down the basics. I went to a Quick camp at the University of Texas as a youngster and this is all he harped on to us. By the way for any old time triathletes you might notice the last name of the girl swimming in the video? Her mom is Jan Ripple who tore up the Ironman distance scene with the likes of Erin Baker and PNF way back when.

Don Wright
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:34 pm

I think trying to overlap the pull with the lead arm and the push with the rear arm, has been a useful fun exercise for me, in that it has "loosened up" some my long cherished ideas - and I can now get back to doing things like "normal" swimmers ;)

Am now sure that having 2 arms propelling one forward at the same time for a short instant, is not conducive to good streamlining, Yes it may seem to be a bit faster, but not the sort of thing to try over a long distance.

I went back to look at a reply that Adam gave in a recent thread ("Did Ian Thorpe Overglide?") over a question from a poster, did Phelps overglide! Adam included stills that showed Phelps with his rear arm finishing the upsweep, while the lead arm had already started the downsweep. A frame later and his rear arm recovery had started and the lead arm was well on the way down to the catch

catchnightcrawler wrote:
Did M. Phelps overglide? Especially during right arm extension:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ax77_hHq9D ... x77_hHq9Dc


When I played the above referenced clip, circa 1:17-1:18, Phelp's recovering arm was about to spear into the water with elbow still bent, while the stroking arm was nearly under his head, so almost at the transition from pull to push. If I had paid more attention in the past to what Mr Smooth does, I could have saved myself a bit of pondering - 'cos he gets his arms in the same attitude. So that's my next experiment, aim for the recovering arm to be spearing-in, just as the hand of the stroking arm is under the shoulder line - which ties up with the little tiny diagrams above some of the "graphs" in the FC section of Maglischo's tome, showing arm attitude at different stages of the stroke.

Don Wright
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:58 pm

Tried today, starting the descent of the lead arm down to the catch, immediately the rear arm reached the hip. A bit faster than previous speed, 'cos I was delaying the downsweep till the recovering arm came level with the head - i.e. 1/4 of the total arm action wasted OG-ing, till my inhalation had finished and didn't need "the support from the lead arm" any longer. I think, "someone along the line" :roll: had a hand in this problem by telling us to use the outstretched lead arm for support while inhaling (to prevent a collapsing lead arm during inhalation) - I just wrongly extended that to mean "until inhalation finished"! :evil:

The only "problem" now, is that I miss the little arm "rest" that I used to get during the over-glide! :lol:

Don Wright
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:52 am

Have been scanning old SS blogs about the following : -

Don Wright wrote:...I think, "someone along the line" had a hand in this problem by telling us to use the outstretched lead arm for support while inhaling (to prevent a collapsing lead arm during inhalation) - I just wrongly extended that to mean "until inhalation finished"!...


And the blog of May 18, 2013 about "2 Quick Tips If You Are Struggling With Breathing", are what I had in mind, but that blog also included the important warning not to protract the action of holdng the lead arm outstretched to avoid overgliding. Wish I had seen that ages ago!

I sincerely hope that any "strugglers" who have read some of my old posts, in which I've "waffled on" about keeping the lead arm extended "until the recovering arm comes level with the head" - have not gone down the over-gliding "dead-end" as I did! I thought about making a new topic to apologize about propagating such a wrong idea, but some who might have read some of my stuff and tried taking it "on-board", may quickly have discovered the drawback! Will try and locate any posters to whom I replied with my bad advice (about 10 I think), and alert them to this via PMs!
Last edited by Don Wright on Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

smootharnie
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby smootharnie » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:36 am

Depends where they coming from Don.
If they have a collapsing arm when breathing holding the arm a little longer outstretched doesnt harm. Holding it too long is not so good for keeping the momentum going. As longs transitions are smooth there isn't a bgf problem I think.
When you keep the arm in front, sense that you are slowing down and then think, oohh I have to pull now, you are too late and you going to have a jerky hurried, slipping pull.
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Mike A
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Mike A » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:57 pm

Hi Don, the timing you're talking about is probably most associated with Alexander Popov. I've experimented with this style; it is better for maintaining continuous velocity, though I find it unsustainable at my usual CSS pace. Because of the steadier velocity, it feels like you're not working as hard (less heavy acceleration), but personally I find the higher cadence and faster recovery required to be draining.
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Don Wright » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:35 am

Hi Mike!

On page 116 of "M"'s tome, he mentions Popov's style - saying that he does not try to do any of this "overlapping" stuff, but relies on good streamlining and an exceptional kick. However, he goes on to say that those with weak kicks (guess that includes a lot of us), need to use a bit of "overlap" to get faster times, despite the extra energy outlay involved in the faster arm turnover etc, - i.e. it's more of a "sprint" thing.

Am still stuck on just a few continuous lengths at a time, moving to a place where the pool is smaller than used before has not helped matters. If it's busy, can't always get a proper wall to turn against at both ends (silly widening fancy steps down at the middle of one end). Breathing problems (lung function ain't as good as it used to be), and a rapidly rocketing heart rate, preclude any attempt to do a decent distance in my case. Even if I really slow down to "snail pace" FC, just can't seem to get beyond my current barrier when swimming FC - gradually almost hate continuing the effort. No hope for a bloke like me! :roll: "SolarEnergy" would be really disappointed after encouraging me so much on the old thread "Non-perpetual swimming". :( It has to be a fitness issue - despite all that, it's fun to try and move a bit quicker, for a short while, sometimes!

Bye / Don

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Mike A
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Re: overlapping the pull and push

Postby Mike A » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:24 am

That's interesting. I'm sure I've read that Popov's coach was obsessed with maintaining constant propulsion by ensuring the pull was commencing as soon as the push was ending.

The lack of a good push-off certainly won't help you! I probably get a quarter of a length out of each push-off, and it certainly means I can swim the rest of the time a bit quicker than if I'm keeping up a constant work-rate in open water.
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