Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

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Kestasme
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Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Kestasme » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:42 pm

Hi there,

I picked up swimming about a year ago and have been swimming 2 to 3 times a week about 45 to 60 minutes a session ever since. I only had a coach for the first few weeks to teach me how to swim in the first place and after that i swam by myself after looking online for ways on how to improve.

Now for the main question - I can swim about 100M (25M Pool) of freestyle before my arms get too tired to push the water properly to propel myself.

- I know I am trying to keep a high elbow as this is one of the first things i started practicing.
- I use a six beat kick and my feet break the water every few kicks if I put somewhat more power in the kick.
- I rotate my body (although I suspect I might be over rotating sometimes).
- I constantly exhale in the water and breathe every 3rd stroke bilaterally.
- I try to extend my arms to their fullest on each stroke and try to complete every stroke for my arm to leave fully extended at the back (Although this becomes impossible near the end of the 4th length as my arms do not have the strength to do so).
- My head position is constantly at a 90 degree angle looking at the bottom of the pool.
- I manage to swim 25M in about 15-16 strokes with about a second of glide in between strokes.

I am 185Cm tall with wingspan of 190Cm and weigh 62Kg. I have always addressed problems like these as a flaw in technique. But I am starting to think that this might be a problem that is caused by my lack of muscle mass as I have been swimming this distance for a few months already with no change. What are your opinions on this?

Also, will my swimming endurance only increase if I swim when my arms are tired already? Like pushing through the fatigue and trying to swim that extra 25M or 50M (Even if this causes imperfect technique)? Or will it increase if I continue to do 100M lengths?

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Tom65
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Tom65 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:54 pm

Sounds like you need some muscle adaption.

I'm 72kg 178cm on rare occasions I get a bit of shoulder soreness around 200 metres but that goes in the next 50 or so metres. Still at 51 I think that's more general age related tightness.

You don't mention swim speed, maybe you're going too hard, probably not though if you're having a glide between strokes.
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Sprinter
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Sprinter » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:40 am

Kestasme wrote: - I constantly exhale in the water and breathe every 3rd stroke bilaterally.


Since you seem to have a very low stroke rate, this will likely not deliver enough oxygen.

Kestasme wrote: - I try to extend my arms to their fullest on each stroke and try to complete every stroke for my arm to leave fully extended at the back (Although this becomes impossible near the end of the 4th length as my arms do not have the strength to do so).
- My head position is constantly at a 90 degree angle looking at the bottom of the pool.
- I manage to swim 25M in about 15-16 strokes with about a second of glide in between strokes.


That's a far too long glide. I guess you have a stop-and-go style, and you pull far too hard for your current abilities.
Looks like a typical overglider (see the SwimSmooth information on that).

Kestasme wrote:I am 185Cm tall with wingspan of 190Cm and weigh 62Kg. I have always addressed problems like these as a flaw in technique. But I am starting to think that this might be a problem that is caused by my lack of muscle mass as I have been swimming this distance for a few months already with no change. What are your opinions on this?

I guess you are female?
Still looks like a very low weight to me. I guess adding some muscles won't hurt.

Kestasme wrote:Also, will my swimming endurance only increase if I swim when my arms are tired already? Like pushing through the fatigue and trying to swim that extra 25M or 50M (Even if this causes imperfect technique)? Or will it increase if I continue to do 100M lengths?


You can do various things, even 25m, starting with, say 8 of them --- with controlled intervals, in the area of 10-20sec.
If you want to develop endurance, then you must avoid too long intervals within a set.

Shenaram
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Shenaram » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:19 am

All of the above, in my non-expert opinion.

----------

As usual, without seeing you swim, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem, I think.

As for your tiredness, you say that "I can swim about 100M (25M Pool) of freestyle before my arms get too tired to push the water properly to propel myself", while also saying that you swim about 45 to 60 minutes a session, 2 to 3 times a week.

What do you mean by "my arms get too tired"?
How long do you rest before swimming another 100 m (I suppose that you do not swim only 1x 100 m in 60 minute session)?
May it be rather "out-of-breath" than "arms too tired", or not?

----------

You mention that you breathe every 3rd stroke bilaterally, and glide about a second in between strokes. The gliding matter has already be discussed above and in multiple other threads, so no need to add anything here.
I think, breathing every third stroke is not a must. There are many swimmers, from beginners to world champions, that breathe every second stroke (every cycle) for a few cycles, than switch to the other side for a few cycles. I guess that the point is to balance left and right breathing along each swim length. It may help getting more oxygen and acquiring symmetry. If you ad gliding on top of bilateral breathing, it may well lead to oxygen depletion, subsequently quicker muscle fatigue.


--------

You do not mention body position and balance.
Is it possible that you are swimming uphill (legs sinking), thus burning excessive energy and fatiguing your arms only to fight drag?


----------

Kestasme wrote:Hi there,
I am 185Cm tall with wingspan of 190Cm and weigh 62Kg. I have always addressed problems like these as a flaw in technique. But I am starting to think that this might be a problem that is caused by my lack of muscle mass as I have been swimming this distance for a few months already with no change. What are your opinions on this?

That gives a BMI of 18.1, which is considered underweight according to NIH.
Once your technique, body position, balance, cadence, breathing, etc. are good, I bet you will swim really fast, like a javelin in the air, or a torpedo in the water.

Hope that you solve your problem soon.

Kestasme
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Kestasme » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:50 am

I have read about overgliding and watched a few videos on corrections and the problems associated with the swimming style and I think that overgliding is spot on my problem at the moment. And I actually am male not female :lol: I will try a few drills in the upcoming months and see if I see any progress with my problem.

The Dodo
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby The Dodo » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:19 pm

Kestasme wrote:...Now for the main question - I can swim about 100M (25M Pool) of freestyle before my arms get too tired to push the water properly to propel myself.

- I know I am trying to keep a high elbow as this is one of the first things i started practicing.[ I started off using the SS style catch - but was delighted at the improvement I gained by using an EVF catch - so my pull is now only forearm/hand deep - and that requires less energy for a good pull!]
- I use a six beat kick and my feet break the water every few kicks if I put somewhat more power in the kick.[Flutter kicking can consume a lot of energy - why not opt for 2-beat kicking until you can get over your fatigue problems!]
- I rotate my body (although I suspect I might be over rotating sometimes).
- I constantly exhale in the water and breathe every 3rd stroke bilaterally.[If fatigue is the problem, why not stick with inhalation every 2 arm stroke - when you are happy, then try 3 arm stroke bilateral breathing - or as "shenaram" suggests, mix things up as you feel the need for more air, sometimes inhalation every 2nd arm stroke, sometimes every 3.]
- I try to extend my arms to their fullest on each stroke [why? Are you over-reaching and twisting your body? There is a school of thought that says by rolling towards the extending arm and really stretching out, you are gaining a few extra inches ahead because you are pushing your shoulder forwards with upper arm by the ear. The trouble is - this encourages you to glide!!! I once thought that by being ultra-stream=lined I would zip through the water - not so! When another swimmer whizzed past me without any glide, I mended my ways!] and try to complete every stroke for my arm to leave fully extended at the back (Although this becomes impossible near the end of the 4th length as my arms do not have the strength to do so). [Again there are different opinions on this business of the end of the "push phase", one very experienced member suggested it was better to keep the elbow bent as the push wanes, and exit the water quickly to get the arm back to the front, and into the next pull phase smartly. IMO when the stroking arm points to the bottom, you can get good propulsion by flinging the arm back/up to the surface, rather than thinking of it as a push! Never exit the water with a straight arm, that will push against the narrowing wedge of water just beneath the surface, and consequently pull your hip down a bit!]]
- My head position is constantly at a 90 degree angle looking at the bottom of the pool.
- I manage to swim 25M in about 15-16 strokes with about a second of glide in between strokes. [EEK! I suppose a glide is acceptable if you are just swimming for relaxation - otherwise it is something to be avoided. IMO. you could make a tremendous improvement by opting for a more continuous movement of the arms - by thinking about dropping the lead arm down to a catch quite early in the recovery of the other arm - it's not really "wind-milling" the arms because the drop to catch is made slower than the pull/push phases. Rules can sometimes be broken - so the idea in Front Quadrant Swimming of freestyle, in having both hands in front of the head (or level with it) at one time for good balance, one arm moving down to a catch, and the other arm just past mid-recovery - can be "stretched" if you have good balance - so that the stroking arm is into the pull phase, just as the hand of the recovering arm comes level with the head. If that proves too tiring, then perhaps a slower arm action might solve that problem!]...

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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Sprinter » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:51 pm

Kestasme wrote:I have read about overgliding and watched a few videos on corrections and the problems associated with the swimming style and I think that overgliding is spot on my problem at the moment. And I actually am male not female :lol: I will try a few drills in the upcoming months and see if I see any progress with my problem.


Given your height and wingspan, a long stroke is likely most natural to you. But the longer and thus slower stroke needs more strength.
I guess you are lacking some upper-body strength. So perhaps adding some strength-training to the training-package is a good thing to do.

Concerning the overgliding: it helps very much to see yourself on video --- without that one has the "wildest fantasies" what actually goes on (I know that from myself, like "what the hell is the problem -- I swim like Phelps, just not as fast as he ??" ;-) ). More to the point, one wants to do good, but in reality has a really extreme style (typically for overgliding).

Since I guess upper-body strength is a problem here, I don't think that a 2-beat kick is a good option here: that asks for even more upper-body strength, and furthermore needs a higher stroke-rate.

Perhaps it is not so unnatural, that it takes a while to develop the endurance.

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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby The Dodo » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:53 am

Sprinter wrote:...Since I guess upper-body strength is a problem here, I don't think that a 2-beat kick is a good option here: that asks for even more upper-body strength, and furthermore needs a higher stroke-rate...


Why so? Less effort expended fluttering the legs means lower oxygen demands. Taken to the extreme of no explicit kicking, and letting a relaxed leg waggle freely as one "flicks" the hip down smartly on the same side as the entering arm's water entry (a very "muted" 2-beat action) - provides some propulsion and reduces the drag caused by possibly awkward feet protruding into the water flow beneath the body. That doesn't require much core strength! (Says he - as more of a "front-ender", getting more movement from arm action than legs!). Doesn't your statement imply that, in a dryland scenario, it takes more energy to walk than run!? :lol:

It seems to me that it is important to fully utilize any brief opportunity, during the freestyle stroke cycle, to get some muscular rest. That naturally occurs during the down-sweep to a catch - since that is a non-propulsive action, supposedly much more gentle than the following pull/push phases. We all know what happens if the arm is pushed down to a catch. It is unfortunate that over-gliders think that they can "have their cake and eat it", by having a nice little rest while gliding - but decelerating!

It seems there is a very fine distinction between "a bit of an acceptable glide", and the more-often seen over-gliding. As seen in those favouring an almost "catch-up" arm action, with the lead arm outstretched ram-rod straight, just beneath the surface until the recovery of the rear arm has almost been completed - and those thinking they can get a bit more rest by gliding. Some hope that their strong flutter kicking will drive them forwards through that "outstretched arm phase" - but IMO that's only using "1/2 of the engine"! :roll: Am still convinced that opting for a more continuous arm action is the answer (with the slower down-sweep to a catch, providing a bit of arm rest), and "the engine" (arms/legs) being fully utilized!

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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby smootharnie » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:36 am

A good video about going from overglider to a smoother swimmer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KILRRbCzwUE
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The Dodo
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby The Dodo » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:16 pm

Noticed they say towards the end of the clip, "Focus on a continuous movement of the arms!" - that vindicates some of my comments! ;)

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SharkFM
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby SharkFM » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:11 pm

Only swimming will make you fitter but not stronger. You need to be stronger.

I would start a dryland core & strength workout - as 3 x a week increasing to 5. Boost testosterone.
And start on the protein, creatine shakes etc. My goodness.

Being thin is not a hinderance to speed but too thin and wispy is not durable enough for steady training.

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Mike A
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Mike A » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:56 am

Sounds like you need to build strength and endurance in the muscle groups used for freestyle (lats, pecs, shoulders, triceps). Personally I think the best way to do this is through swimming rather than the gym. If 100m is a struggle, just do a lot of 50m intervals, and get to the pool as often as you can.
Why not join your SwimSmooth Forum friends at swim.palstani.com

Shenaram
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Shenaram » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:04 pm

Kestasme wrote:I am 185Cm tall with wingspan of 190Cm and weigh 62Kg. I have always addressed problems like these as a flaw in technique. But I am starting to think that this might be a problem that is caused by my lack of muscle mass as I have been swimming this distance for a few months already with no change. What are your opinions on this?


I have to apologies if my comment about BMI of 18.1 being underweight (actually slightly underweight) gave a negative impression. I was only meaning that you have a slim body, which, I think, is favorable in swimming.

I also apologies for not being in full agreement with others on the topic of lack of muscles. I sometimes see swimmers that are not much thicker than a wire cable and do swim long distances, at a significant speed on top of that. It is especially so for young teenagers (not all of them, of course) who have barely more than skin on their bones. Well, I am exaggerating a bit, but not so much, I think. On the adult side, my better half has as much strength in her arms as an 8 year old child, but can swim crawl for more than 100 m. And she tends to breathe from the front. And her BMI is higher than 18.1 (cannot divulge the exact value, unless I do not value my life any longer).

At 15 to 16 strokes per 25 m, I cannot imagine that the problem is the arm muscles. And still the question regarding the meaning of "my arms get too tired" is to be answered.

You acknowledged that overgliding might well be you main problem. In my non-expert opinion, you will do well with that, may it be connected with a lack of oxygen, or not. With 2 to 3 times, 45 to 60 minutes swim sessions, I am sure you will do well. Of course, with more muscles, you will certainly do even better, provided that everything else is ok.

Shenaram
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Shenaram » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:16 pm

Kestasme wrote:Also, will my swimming endurance only increase if I swim when my arms are tired already? Like pushing through the fatigue and trying to swim that extra 25M or 50M (Even if this causes imperfect technique)? Or will it increase if I continue to do 100M lengths?


All of the above, but...
Why am I each time not in full agreement with others?

In this case (oxygen flow being not a problem, seemingly), breaking the 100 m barrier (or other distances), is it not mainly a psychological problem? If one is determined to swim one more length, should one not be able to that, even at the cost of speed? I thought that if we strongly decide in the last length or two that we are going one more length, we naturally save some energy to go on. A bit of a survival mode. It is hard, but I will do one more step... after this one.

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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Sprinter » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:49 pm

A few remarks:

1. The slower the stroke rate, the longer should be the pull (from front to end). Every "early exit" strategy in my opinion is very inefficient for stroke rates below, say, 80 strokes per minute. And I guess in this case we are well below 60 strokes per minute (counting each arm).
2. A fundamental question here is, what is the main motivation for swimming? This site is mostly frequented by swimmers with "some" competitive edge (want to achieve "something", whatever that is). Given that, a certain amount of strength training helps every mature swimmer --- and the older, the more important becomes the strength training, to counteract the decay of muscles with age!
3. Interval training, with defined rest periods, is a very important form of training, in general far superior to any kind of "just swimming". So therefore, from the point of view of maximising training efficiency, I recommend not adding "something at the end", but swimming 25/50/100 m intervals, with a rest period not longer than 20 sec (for endurance swimming), and increasing the number of units (or decreasing the rest) over time.
At some point that feeling "can't continue" will just vanish (for endurance swimming).
4. Young swimmers (below, say, 12 years old) have in general a much better body posture and much lesser drag, and thus can do quite well. This no longer holds for adults. But adults have more strength to compensate for that.
5. Concerning the question of kicking: trivially, if the propulsion from the kick (directly, and, likely more important here, indirectly, via the coupling) goes away, then the arms have to work harder. I strongly recommend for every swimmer to learn a proper 6-beat kick from the beginning, and then it's easy to change, if wanted, to a lower kick-rate (or higher, though that's rare). This will also be in line with most swimming instructors.
6. The legs don't need rest, they can work constantly.
7. The flutter kick should break the surface slightly with nearly every kick.
8. Having a reduced kick is only possible, in my opinion, if you have a very long upper body (and thus very short legs). I for example follow rather precisely the "classical proportions" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man , thus have rather long legs for a swimmer, and thus my stroke is kick-driven.
9. As a late starter with swimming and as an adult (I assume so), you will meet many opinions "how to swim": over time, you have to try different things, and see what works. That is, what works for your *current* stage of development --- this *will* change!

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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Sprinter » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:07 pm

Though it's not the real topic here, but it comes up frequently, and so here is a very nice article
http://theraceclub.com/aqua-notes/6-beat-kick/
on the kicking (also some comments are interesting).

For as adults, where in most cases fitness is (much) more important than winning a competition, I would add the fitness aspect of kicking: it is an excellent fitness-exercise, for core and legs! Without out, you essentially waste time in the water, with your legs being inactive.

Shenaram
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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby Shenaram » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:52 am

Kestasme wrote:I will try a few drills in the upcoming months and see if I see any progress with my problem.


Please do!
It is good to hear feedbacks!
Really hope that you will post again without the word "beginner" in brackets.

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Re: Front Crawl Endurance (Beginner)

Postby SwimTechniques » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:03 am

work on your drills and be consistent with it.Over time you will overcome the issues of tired arms
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