Problems achieving "correct" SPM

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CobbV
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:17 am

Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby CobbV » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:30 am

Hello swim smooth forum! I have a problem with achieving high enough SPM.

I am an overglider and have a natural SPM around 46. I have tried to go higher (with metronome). When I go around 56 SPM my balance is actually better in the water, I take fewer strokes per length (18 with 46SPL and 17 with 56). Despite this I am alot more tired at 56SPL and my speed is "too fast", much faster than my CSS. When I take fewer SPL than 46 of course my balance is hurt and its hard to get smooth. Any suggestions what I should work on?

Sprinter
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby Sprinter » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:59 am

Hi,

could you tell us what your speed is, and how many lengths, with what rest-time, you practice (in a set)?
How often do you swim per week? And for how long?
Otherwise it's hard to know what you are really talking about.

In general, the calculated CSS-times have not a very "solid" meaning at the beginning, and only via consistent training it all converges.

Shenaram
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby Shenaram » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:56 pm

CobbV wrote:Hello swim smooth forum! I have a problem with achieving high enough SPM.

I am an overglider and have a natural SPM around 46. I have tried to go higher (with metronome). When I go around 56 SPM my balance is actually better in the water, I take fewer strokes per length (18 with 46SPL and 17 with 56).

Non-expert here.
Congratulations for measuring time and stroke count as well as using a wetronome! I think that these are major stepping stones for improvement. From your description, can we assume that you did the full ramp test (from below your natural pace to well above it)? If not, I think that it is a good thing to do it thoroughly. It may teach some good lessons. In particular at "high" cadence.
Maybe measuring even a second time with one or two weeks interval, in order to make sure that your measurements are representative of your current performance is not a bad idea.

Sincere apology for asking: you did not mention your age?
Any health condition that would impair faster swimming?
Your ape index?

When you write "18 with 46SPL and 17 with 56", do you mean SPM (stroke per minute, as opposed to stroke per length)? Otherwise, it does not make sense.


CobbV wrote:Despite this I am alot more tired at 56SPL and my speed is "too fast", much faster than my CSS.

As some others have already indicated, an analysis from your short summary and no visuals is quite a speculation. However, should I be allowed to, I would gladly speculate.
1. Low cadence swimmers (who swim only at low cadence) tend to get tense chest when swimming at higher cadence, which prevents proper breathing (exhaling and inhaling). I think that it is essential to disconnect the "tension" generated by the faster arm action, from the breathing.
2. At 60 SPM, the inhaling time is less than 1 second, and exhaling too (assuming breathing every cycle). One can easily be in oxygen deficit over a certain distance. For seasoned runners or cyclist, it may be a comfortable tempo, but for many others, it is quite a rhythm, which is difficult to hold for a sustained duration. The lungs' diaphragm need some training too.
3. Overgliders may tend to push water down during the initial pull phase when stroking at too high a cadence by rushing the catch. At lower pace, there is more time to correctly position the arm. By wasting precious oxygen, CO2 build up is promoted and leads to rapid tiredness, even though the overall speed may be higher.


CobbV wrote:Despite this I am alot more tired at 56SPL and my speed is "too fast", much faster than my CSS. When I take fewer SPL than 46 of course my balance is hurt and its hard to get smooth. Any suggestions what I should work on?

Troubleshooting is even further a speculation. Nevertheless, if you allow me:
1. Sets at increasing cadence from the natural pace to faster (say 4 x 100 m @ 46 SPM, then 48 SPM, then 50 SPM). After some sessions, 48, 50, 52 SPM, etc. (I am parroting SwimSmooth advices).
2. I would (my own opinion) include a few sets of 100 or 200 m at 10 or 15 SPM above your current natural SPM. It may teach some good things on arm position, catch, and overall arm and body movement.

Hope that you will improve your swimming and reach your goal soon.
Keep posting. Feedbacks are greatly appreciated!
Last edited by Shenaram on Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CobbV
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:17 am

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby CobbV » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:32 pm

Sprinter wrote:Hi,

could you tell us what your speed is, and how many lengths, with what rest-time, you practice (in a set)?
How often do you swim per week? And for how long?
Otherwise it's hard to know what you are really talking about.

In general, the calculated CSS-times have not a very "solid" meaning at the beginning, and only via consistent training it all converges.


In 400m test I did 9minutes this summer (started swimming once in a week a few months before that). If I swim 50m in a percieved fast speed I finish it in 55sec.

When I practice I do 100m x4 with 20sec rest between. 200m and then 100m x4 with 20 sec rest between.

This summer i swum 3-4 times per week, but lately only 1 time due to time problems.

Ok, that sounds reasonable. Because I have a hard time swimming at my CSS speed because it goes to slow!

CobbV
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:17 am

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby CobbV » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:36 pm

Ducky wrote: making swimming feel 'easy' is not congruent with swimming at an appropriate stroke rate and effort level intially. at some point 56 will start to feel normal but if you don't get used to being comfortable being 'uncomfortable' then it will never come. make sense?

are you breathing bilaterally?


I have no intention to swim easy. But at 56 I get to very high heart rate (around 180-190), even after a few lengths.

I breath to both sides but usually breath every second stroke. I have tried every third to breath fully bilaterally but getting short of breath. I have made sure that I exhale proparly also. I have worked alot on the exhale.

CobbV
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:17 am

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby CobbV » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:52 pm

Shenaram wrote:Sincere apology for asking: you did not mention your age?
Any health condition that would impair faster swimming?
Your ape index?

When you write "18 with 46SPL and 17 with 56", do you mean SPM (stroke per minute, as opposed to stroke per length)? Otherwise, it does not make sense.

As some others have already indicated, an analysis from your short summary and no visuals is quite a speculation. However, should I be allowed to, I would gladly speculate.
1. Low cadence swimmers (who swim only at low cadence) tend to get tense chest when swimming at higher cadence, which prevents proper breathing (exhaling and inhaling). I think that it is essential to disconnect the "tension" generated by the faster arm action, and the breathing.
2. At 60 SPM, the inhaling time is less than 1 second, and exhaling too (assuming breathing every cycle). One can easily be in oxygen deficit over a certain distance. For seasoned runners or cyclist, it may be a comfortable tempo, but for many others, it is quite a rhythm, which is difficult to hold for a sustained duration. The lungs' diaphragm need some training too.
3. Overgliders may tend to push water down during the initial pull phase when stroking at too high a cadence by rushing the catch. At lower pace, there is more time to correctly position the arm. By wasting precious oxygen, CO2 build up is promoted and leads to rapid tiredness, even though the overall speed may be higher.

Troubleshooting is even further a speculation. Nevertheless, if you allow me:
1. Sets at increasing cadence from the natural pace to faster (say 4 x 100 m @ 46 SPM, then 48 SPM, then 50 SPM). After some sessions, 48, 50, 52 SPM, etc. (I am parroting SwimSmooth advices).
2. I would (my own opinion) include a few sets of 100 or 200 m at 10 or 15 SPM above your current natural SPM. It may teach some good things on arm position, catch, and overall arm and body movement.

Hope that you will improve your swimming and reach your goal soon.
Keep posting. Feedbacks are greatly appreciated!


I am 27. Started swimming around december last year once a week. This summer I did 3-4x week but now back in school and I swim once a week. I run once a week. Spinning once a week and strength training 2 times a week. 185cm and 75kg. Dont know my APE index and have no health condition that should impair my ability to swim.

Yes I mean strokes per minute. At 46 SPM i did a 25m in 18. At 56 I did it in 17. Probably because I have a better position in the water.

I did not do a complete ramp test because I have been training alone. I did it myself, from 46 to 62. Maybe I should do it again with a friend.

I should try to think of relaxing, exhaling and inhaling properly. Exhaling was a big problem before but I feel like I have solved that one, but hard to know! Number 3 I think I am doing. The faster cadence the harder to push the water correctly.

Is those sets what swim smooth coaches suggest when you need to work on your cadence?

Shenaram
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby Shenaram » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:28 pm

CobbV wrote: I am 27. Started swimming around december last year once a week. This summer I did 3-4x week but now back in school and I swim once a week. I run once a week. Spinning once a week and strength training 2 times a week. 185cm and 75kg. Dont know my APE index and have no health condition that should impair my ability to swim.


You wrote the reply while I was typing my comment on your preceding posts. I was guessing that you are quite a fit person and practice(d) other dry land sports regularly. And you indeed are.

I think that you are have accomplished a wonderful job in a few months. Many people cannot swim 2 laps in a row, while you swim 400 m AND racing against the clock!

CobbV wrote:Is those sets what swim smooth coaches suggest when you need to work on your cadence?

Unfortunately, I am not a swim smooth coach and I think that the ones that used to post here are no longer doing it, but I may be wrong.
If memory serves, Paul Newsome recommended to increase gradually the swim cadence sessions after sessions (or set of sessions, depending on volume and frequency of training). Also, you seem to swim 1 km per session, once per week, possible more if time permits. I remember him suggesting to swim sets of 100 m with 10 seconds rest (10 or 12x 100 m). When fitness allows, then increase the distance (say 200 m) with longer rest (for instance 20 s for 200 m intervals). Others may disagree or propose other sets.


CobbV wrote:I did not do a complete ramp test because I have been training alone. I did it myself, from 46 to 62. Maybe I should do it again with a friend.
I should try to think of relaxing, exhaling and inhaling properly. Exhaling was a big problem before but I feel like I have solved that one, but hard to know!

It is indeed better to ask someone to count and time you. But, with some practice, it is possible to do it alone, though the measured times may not be very accurate. The result of your ramp test (time, stroke count, and perceived effort @, say 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70, ... SPM) would most probably be revealing.

Although I am speculating, I think that properly breathing (in- and exhaling) in quantity and frequency, independently from the tension created by the arm and leg action (and any other body part), is one major milestone.

CobbV wrote:Number 3 I think I am doing. The faster cadence the harder to push the water correctly.

Maybe your arm is a bit lazy and does not try to immediately catch the water as it extends in front? i.e. the arm may not get into position for a proper pull in continuation of the recovery movement. In my opinion, many swimmers make the error of accelerating the arm only during the catch (and the initial phase of the pull), while the arm the should accelerate along the pull and push phase. If not properly done, much energy and oxygen are wasted.

Keep going and posting!

Sprinter
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Problems achieving "correct" SPM

Postby Sprinter » Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:30 pm

CobbV wrote:Yes I mean strokes per minute. At 46 SPM i did a 25m in 18. At 56 I did it in 17. Probably because I have a better position in the water.


I would mostly forget about such counting: what counts is the time you need! Quite a few overgliders do funny things after the push-off, in order to minimise the stroke count. And there's the kick of course -- with that one also distorts the measurement (you can have more or less kick).

46 SPM is clearly too low. But directly increasing it to 56 SPM seems too steep. Since 50 is a nice number ;) , why not try this as the new basis, and from there you increase in steps of +1. (At your level, there isn't much sense in precise optimisations -- it's just psychology.)

Naturally you will have breathing problems --- once you do the 400m in 5 min you can assume your technique is okay, but above that assume that it's faulty : :twisted:

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on these numbers -- you can't make them "precise" at your level, but it's all very wobbly. Just fix some starting point, do it for a week, adapt it, ...


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