Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

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Swimmingly
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Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:22 pm

Hi,

I realised that I have been swimming breaststroke in a way such that my arms provides a fair amount of propulsion in the stroke. Everything except the arm movements is the same. Instead of the regular pull where it forces the upper body to move vertically, my pull is more towards a horizontal action, pulling my arms back as far as my fingertips touching my thighs. This causes my body to not only move through the water but also slowly cause my upper body to glide up for my head to take a breath.

I am wondering if this is normal and if anyone else does the same and if not, why?

I am in no means a professional swimmer but I find this way of swimming efficient and also effective. For example, I realised that I only needed about 13 stroke cycles per 50m and this is with weak breaststroke kicks, which I am trying to master, and a mere simple kick off from the wall.

Thank you.

Shenaram
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Shenaram » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:06 pm

Swimmingly wrote:I realised that I have been swimming breaststroke in a way such that my arms provides a fair amount of propulsion in the stroke. Everything except the arm movements is the same. Instead of the regular pull where it forces the upper body to move vertically, my pull is more towards a horizontal action, pulling my arms back as far as my fingertips touching my thighs. This causes my body to not only move through the water but also slowly cause my upper body to glide up for my head to take a breath.

Have you tried to recover your arms in the air instead of under water? And maybe not kick with your legs, instead let them stretched and undulating? It may be fun! :lol:

Swimmingly wrote:I am wondering if this is normal...?

What is normal?


Swimmingly wrote:... if anyone else does the same and if not, why?

I do not, because it is not breaststroke. But I may do it on specific occasions.


Swimmingly wrote:I am in no means a professional swimmer but I find this way of swimming efficient and also effective. For example, I realised that I only needed about 13 stroke cycles per 50m and this is with weak breaststroke kicks, which I am trying to master, and a mere simple kick off from the wall.

There are some drills that look like what you describe. These are generally meant to improve body posture, body balance, streamlining, among others. I do not think that they are meant to be used for swimming, rather for helping to swim better. Apart from stroking, what you describe is somehow close to the technique used after diving or turning. On the other, everyone is free to swim in whatever way he/she feels like.

Swimmingly
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:59 pm

Shenaram wrote:Have you tried to recover your arms in the air instead of under water? And maybe not kick with your legs, instead let them stretched and undulating? It may be fun! :lol:

I have not. Do you mean like a butterfly stroke?

Shenaram wrote:There are some drills that look like what you describe. These are generally meant to improve body posture, body balance, streamlining, among others. I do not think that they are meant to be used for swimming, rather for helping to swim better. Apart from stroking, what you describe is somehow close to the technique used after diving or turning. On the other, everyone is free to swim in whatever way he/she feels like.

I have been doing this for quite some time as a way of swimming and I find it a pretty neat way of swimming for me. I find it better than to just pull vertically to allow your head to breath. Wondering why elite swimmers do not incorporate this into their breaststrokes, is it because it is slower than their usual breaststroke?

Swimmingly
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:54 pm

Ducky wrote:curious if you could expound on 'efficient and effective'? i think we all have different goals mine is to go the absolute fastest i can go. is this your fastest breast stroke? what time for say a 50? 100?


I usually do longer distance swims like 1500 meters taking about 13 strokes per length (50m) and total time of below 30minutes. For a 50m swim alone, a time of 45 seconds should be achievable. I know that this is very slow relative to top swimmers, but as i said, i am not at all an elite swimmer and using a weak breaststroke kick (which i am trying to improve). I would imagine a top breaststroker would swim so much faster if their arms provided propulsion?

I know that my kick is weak because i have yet master the technique and can feel only little propulsion from it. Now it seems like my hands are providing 70% of propulsion and legs only 30%, as compared to elite breaststrokers where the legs constitutes most of the propulsion.

Shenaram
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Shenaram » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:56 pm

Swimmingly wrote:I usually do longer distance swims like 1500 meters taking about 13 strokes per length (50m) and total time of below 30minutes. For a 50m swim alone, a time of 45 seconds should be achievable.

Congratulations for your pace. It is truly remarkable. Also, if you can swim 1500 m in less than 30 min. (1:30/100 m), than you should certainly swim 50 m in much less than 45 s.


Swimmingly wrote: I know that this is very slow relative to top swimmers, but as i said, i am not at all an elite swimmer and using a weak breaststroke kick (which i am trying to improve). I would imagine a top breaststroker would swim so much faster if their arms provided propulsion?

After reading my post again, I realise that it may not be interpreted correctly. My apology if there was anything offending.

As you may know, the butterfly style stems from the breastroke style. Still some 65 years ago, "pure" breaststrokers and "butterflyish" strokers were competing in the same event as there was not yet any distinction between the two. The FINA (Fédération International de Natation) created a separate event for butterfly, and rules for breaststroke have become constantly more complex since then.

SW 7.3
The hands shall not be brought back beyond the hip line, except during the first stroke after the start and each turn.

SW 7.4
During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer’s head must break the surface of the water. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke.

https://www.fina.org/content/sw-7-breaststroke

What you describe is thus forbidden as per FINA rules, therefore no competing swimmer would do it.

However, as I wrote before, there is no need to follow these rules if swimming for oneself.
Thank you for your question and keep swimming!

Swimmingly
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:19 pm

Shenaram wrote:What you describe is thus forbidden as per FINA rules, therefore no competing swimmer would do it.

However, as I wrote before, there is no need to follow these rules if swimming for oneself.
Thank you for your question and keep swimming!


Thanks for your reply and no worries, i will not be offended by any replies because they are all valuable. I would like to ask if elite breaststrokers were to do this assuming the rules does not exists, will they thus swim faster than the conventional pull and if they are able to do this competitively in the 1500m freestyle or open water marathon swim event?

The Dodo
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:17 am

Swimmingly wrote:Hi,

I realised that I have been swimming breaststroke in a way such that my arms provides a fair amount of propulsion in the stroke. Everything except the arm movements is the same. Instead of the regular pull where it forces the upper body to move vertically, my pull is more towards a horizontal action, pulling my arms back as far as my fingertips touching my thighs. This causes my body to not only move through the water but also slowly cause my upper body to glide up for my head to take a breath.

I am wondering if this is normal and if anyone else does the same and if not, why?...


Hi "swimmingly"!

I couldn't resist adding my little bit of so-called advice! Though I don't swim much breast-stroke now, I did some years ago - and think I learnt some useful points as a leisure style swimmer. There were some bits in the above that disturbed me - I've highlighted them in red! : -

IMO, one should swim "in" the surface, so unless one is introducing a deliberate undulation As in the modern "wave" style breast stroke or swimming fly stroke, the aim should be to keep as flat as possible, keeping the head in line with the spine until the moment the head needs to be raised to clear the mouth above the water line for an inhalation. I get the impression that your diagonal down/out arm action to reach a breast stroke "catch" - (the position in which the arms are in a backward-facing position and ready for exerting a strong effective pull) - may be too forceful since you mention a vertical movement. You can learn a lot by thinking about the mechanics of other strokes (fly or even front crawl). In breast stroke, as I "see it"", at the end of a stream-lined glide, the arms should gently drop diagonally down/outwards, and as they do so, allow the elbows to ride over the top of the forearms (i.e. the hands/forearms move a bit faster than the upper arm, down to an almost vertical position (this is now the best position for a subsequent strong pull out/around, which will bring the elbows close in to the ribs). It is very like the out-sweep used by some fly swimmers - and effectively similar to an "Early Vertical Forearm" catch, as used in front crawl swimming. It is during this fairly gentle action, that one can raise the head and snatch a breath, before returning the head to look down at the bottom.

The "pull" after the catch is sometimes called the in-sweep in swimming jargon, because it assumes that the arms (led by elbow movement) are brought inwards towards the ribs with the upper arms/forearms/hands being brought in close beneath the tum , before doing a normal breast stroke arm recovery. HOWEVER!!! - I see that you are experimenting with doing an almost complete semi-circular sweep with each arm so as to end with your hands back by the thighs! There is nothing wrong with such experimentation - in fact I think there is a photo in Maglischo's "Swimming Fastest" showing a lady trying that style of pull. But my own experience ended up with me finding that the drag encountered in recovering the arms forwards from such a low-down attitude, was just not worth the supposed gain in the distance the arms could sweep the water backwards. I say this from experience in swimming the US Navy Seals "Combat Side Stroke" and also in the "Long Doggy Paddle" drill, advocated for front crawlers by Maglischo in his great tome. When you are in stream-lined glide attitude, parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action - otherwise you are just pushing water to the sides instead of backwards. Also towards the end of such an arm sweep, it becomes less and less effective, as the arms approach the hips because the arms can no longer face backwards for a good push!

When you do your "froggy" kick, try to angle your body so that it enters the glide at a slight downward angle (head a bit lower than the heels). As you exhale during the glide, your body will resume a more horizontal attitude, and obviate the problem of the legs sinking! You should be able to sense that your heels are close together and up by the surface all the time during any glide. It has been proved, so I understand, that "snapping" the legs quickly together after the "froggy kick", has little or no effect on propulsion - except from the stream line point of view of reducing drag. It is worthwhile in my estimation, to get good propulsion from your breast stroke kick because I reckon it is more propulsive than the fly stroke major kick downbeat - the reason I write that, is because in a crowded pool when wishing to pass others, I used to kick with both legs close together (dolphin style) for a short while as I passed others - so that my normally wide kicks didn't upset them! I noticed that my rate of movement certainly waned a bit on those "legs together" kicks! It has been said that for fly stroke, the secret to fast swimming is to have an effective kick - and I reckon the same comment applies to breast stroke even though the kicking style is totally different ("flat" in breast stroke and part of an undulation in fly).

Although poking the knees deep into the water beneath the body must produce considerable drag, as you draw the heels up towards the bum as a prelude to kicking out/back. By presenting your shins in an almost backward-facing direction at the start of the "froggy" kick "down-beat", you will undoubtedly produce good propulsion as the lower legs are thrashed down/outwards to complete the kick!

Best wishes / Don
Last edited by The Dodo on Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Shenaram
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Shenaram » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:43 pm

Swimmingly wrote: I would like to ask if elite breaststrokers were to do this assuming the rules does not exists, will they thus swim faster than the conventional pull

Maybe. If there are reliable data demonstrating that one is faster than the other, that is the answer you are looking for. I do not have them. Perhaps, other members would chime in. Still, what you describe is close to the current pull-out technique used by (all) elite swimmers in breaststroke race.
Water-polo swimmers also use "hybrid" style/techniques that I am not much familiar with. They may have more knowledge than I do... which is unfortunately not difficult.

Swimmingly wrote:if they are able to do this competitively in the 1500m freestyle or open water marathon swim event?

Freestyle is indeed free. As far as I understand, one could even swim backwards, feet first.
My opinion: very unlikely that swimmer would do that (not the feet first, your illegal breaststroke style), because front crawl is the fastest style (undisputedly), whether it be 25, 50, 100, or 200 m. Speed depletion over distance follows a decreasing exponential curve that, I think, is comparable for any style, maybe less so for front crawl than for butterfly or breaststroke, owing to a more streamlined swimming style and less water drag during arm recovery. What you describe is mid-way between breaststroke and butterfly. Butterfly has an edge over breaststroke because arm recovery is in the air. What you do defeats that advantage by undergoing water drag all along the arm recovery. Still, front crawl is faster than butterfly.

Again, swimming is not exclusively for winning races. Fun is, I think, part of it. Others may disagree, though.
Keep swimming!

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Tom65
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Tom65 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:43 pm

Swimmingly wrote:Now it seems like my hands are providing 70% of propulsion and legs only 30%, as compared to elite breaststrokers where the legs constitutes most of the propulsion.


You can bet elites arms are doing as much as they can as efficiently as they can.
Forum locked, might go to TI's forum, looked at SS's facebook page, too many photos...ewww...for me.
New Forum http://swim.palstani.com/

The Dodo
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:37 am

Hi "Swimmingly"!

"Shenaram" has already asked earlier if you've tried to recover the arms over the surface as in fly stroke!

Go on :) - have a try since you seem to like the idea of pulling the arms back to the thighs!

I did that when in my mid-20s, about the time of the separation of what we now call fly stroke from "breast stroke with over-water arm recovery" (that dates me a bit - 80 at present). Have memories of struggling to complete the 75 yard length of the old Lido type pool I learnt in, using that hybrid over-water arm recovery but breast stroke kicking. The pool was 6 ft deep at one end, shelving to barely 3 ft at the other shallow end. Due to the sudden transfer of arms weight forwards, and my front end plunging downwards - I was in danger of scraping my hands on the shallow rough concrete floor!

A few attempts doing "that", convinced me to try the new fly technique (plus the encouragement I got from a "Bovril" promotion poster I once had, of the different stages in fly stroke illustrated by pics of one of the first successful guys using the stroke in competition (Grigory Tympek?). What a "revelation" - a whole new world of swimming skills for exploration/mastery opened up for me - and the delights of doing the drills - "on the side" body dolphin, underwater body dolphin, on the surface one-arm fly stroke, and of course the more strenuous full stroke (a pity I can only manage about 15m of that now without a rest)! Swimming body dolphin is about the nearest we humans can get to swimming like a fish! ;)

Am I enthusiastic about it? - what a question! - I really look forward to that part of my routine at each swim session - first some half a dozen mini-sets of freestyle variations using different breathing patterns and kicking styles - or in one case no explicit kicking. That's my "bread and butter" stuff! Then, maybe a bit of 2 back strokes (English, back crawl) and just a couple of lengths of breast stroke - then my real joy - fly stuff! :D

I go down the fancy steps into the 20m uniform depth DW Fitness pool now, leaning on a stick (a decrepit/arthritic old codger with balance problems when upright), dump the stick by the steps as I get in the water - and then I forget my age and little problems for an hour - the water supports the old creaky joints and I almost feel young again! An onlooker wouldn't believe it was the same chap who first got in!

Bye / Don
Last edited by The Dodo on Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mike A
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Mike A » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:13 pm

Breaststroke with hands pulling back to the thighs is only usually swum underwater. I think the problems with this style are 1) it makes it hard to get the hands back out front without creating a load of drag and 2) it makes the whole cycle slower, making the kick less effective and breaths less frequent.
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Swimmingly
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:19 pm

The Dodo wrote:When you are in stream-lined glide attitude, parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action - otherwise you are just pushing water to the sides instead of backwards. Also towards the end of such an arm sweep, it becomes less and less effective, as the arms approach the hips because the arms can no longer face backwards for a good push!


Hi Don,
Thanks for your advice.

Could you explain what do you mean by "parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action"?
And yes, i find that the arms approach the hips like how the freestyle pull phase ends, only that it is now two hands simultaneuosly instead of one. When it gets closer to the hips, it no longer face backwards for that good push but maybe its that slight upward motion which cause my body to float up to the surface.

The Dodo wrote:When you do your "froggy" kick, try to angle your body so that it enters the glide at a slight downward angle (head a bit lower than the heels). As you exhale during the glide, your body will resume a more horizontal attitude, and obviate the problem of the legs sinking! You should be able to sense that your heels are close together and up by the surface all the time during any glide.


On the part about the kicking, i think i have more of a problem of my legs floating up to the surface then sinking, which causes me to "kick air" and reduce my propulsion.

Shenaram wrote:What you do defeats that advantage by undergoing water drag all along the arm recovery. Still, front crawl is faster than butterfly.

Shenaram, if the arms are moving through the water faster than the body, will drag still exists?

Mike A wrote:Breaststroke with hands pulling back to the thighs is only usually swum underwater. I think the problems with this style are 1) it makes it hard to get the hands back out front without creating a load of drag and 2) it makes the whole cycle slower, making the kick less effective and breaths less frequent.


Mike A, Do you have any advice on how to efficiently get my hands back out front in this case?
It might make the whole cycle slower, but wouldn't it give you extra speed under the water, therefore greater distance covered, since there is extra propulsiuon from the arms?

Ducky wrote:oh i see what oyu are doing it's the pull out stroke, but you do it every stroke. um no no one practices that as a breaststroke to use every cycle. if you like it go for it, but you won't get better at legal breaststroke w/o learning how to whip kick and get that catch and pull quickly done and back into streamline. a great breast pull out is part of being a great short course swimmer though so you are not wasting your time if you plan on racing short course at some point. in only race the 100 scy IM so it's a mere 25 yards just a few strokes after a pull out. breast is my least favorite i just don't have the timing down yet to nail it every day, but my kick is coming along and makes up for lack of great timing. i cannot imagine racing long course breast those people are freaking amazing going that fast with 1 wall to accelerate.


Yes, i am trying to improve on my kick!
Last edited by Swimmingly on Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Swimmingly
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:24 pm

The Dodo wrote:When you are in stream-lined glide attitude, parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action - otherwise you are just pushing water to the sides instead of backwards. Also towards the end of such an arm sweep, it becomes less and less effective, as the arms approach the hips because the arms can no longer face backwards for a good push!


Hi Don,
Thanks for your advice.

Could you explain what do you mean by "parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action"?
And yes, i find that the arms approach the hips like how the freestyle pull phase ends, only that it is now two hands simultaneuosly instead of one. When it gets closer to the hips, it no longer face backwards for that good push but maybe its that slight upward motion which cause my body to float up to the surface.

The Dodo wrote:When you do your "froggy" kick, try to angle your body so that it enters the glide at a slight downward angle (head a bit lower than the heels). As you exhale during the glide, your body will resume a more horizontal attitude, and obviate the problem of the legs sinking! You should be able to sense that your heels are close together and up by the surface all the time during any glide.


On the part about the kicking, i think i have more of a problem of my legs floating up to the surface then sinking, which causes me to "kick air" and reduce my propulsion.

Shenaram wrote:What you do defeats that advantage by undergoing water drag all along the arm recovery. Still, front crawl is faster than butterfly.

Shenaram, if the arms are moving through the water faster than the body, will drag still exists?

Mike A wrote:Breaststroke with hands pulling back to the thighs is only usually swum underwater. I think the problems with this style are 1) it makes it hard to get the hands back out front without creating a load of drag and 2) it makes the whole cycle slower, making the kick less effective and breaths less frequent.


Mike A, Do you have any advice on how to efficiently get my hands back out front in this case?
It might make the whole cycle slower, but wouldn't it give you extra speed under the water, therefore greater distance covered, since there is extra propulsiuon from the arms?

Ducky wrote:oh i see what oyu are doing it's the pull out stroke, but you do it every stroke. um no no one practices that as a breaststroke to use every cycle. if you like it go for it, but you won't get better at legal breaststroke w/o learning how to whip kick and get that catch and pull quickly done and back into streamline. a great breast pull out is part of being a great short course swimmer though so you are not wasting your time if you plan on racing short course at some point. in only race the 100 scy IM so it's a mere 25 yards just a few strokes after a pull out. breast is my least favorite i just don't have the timing down yet to nail it every day, but my kick is coming along and makes up for lack of great timing. i cannot imagine racing long course breast those people are freaking amazing going that fast with 1 wall to accelerate.


Yes, i am trying to improve on my kick!

The Dodo
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:46 am

Hi "Swimmingly"! Re your queries/comments : -

Swimmingley wrote:
The Dodo wrote:
When you are in stream-lined glide attitude, parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action - otherwise you are just pushing water to the sides instead of backwards. Also towards the end of such an arm sweep, it becomes less and less effective, as the arms approach the hips because the arms can no longer face backwards for a good push!


Hi Don,
Thanks for your advice.

Could you explain what do you mean by "parting the arms to start a semi-circular sweep needs to be a gentle action"? [Of all the movements in any swimming stroke - the one IMO that needs to be done "gently" almost dropping the arm(s) under their own weight, is the descent of the arm(s) to a catch position. Exerting force the moment the arm(s) enter the water is I think catastrophic for body balance. Furthermore that more "gentle" action provides a bit of muscular rest for the vigorous pull/push which follows the descent to a catch!]
And yes, i find that the arms approach the hips like how the freestyle pull phase ends, only that it is now two hands simultaneuosly instead of one. When it gets closer to the hips, it no longer face backwards for that good push [Yes the same thing happens in most strokes, as the stroking arm(s) approach the surface during the up-sweep, they contribute less and less to propulsion - in freestyle bending the wrist backwards in an effort to keep the hand pointing backwards is a bit of a desperate measure IMO. We had a very experienced swimmer on the forum at one time who advocated a "premature" withdrawal of the stroking arm as it approached the surface at the end of the up-sweep - in order to get the arm out of the water earlier, do the recovery and more quickly get into the next propulsive arm action.] but maybe its that slight upward motion which cause my body to float up to the surface.[I disagree over that - if anything, an upward pressure of the arms as they are about to exit the water will drag the hips down a bit! Any upward motion you sense is probably the after-effect of the more propulsive part of the push phase - you might also be doing a slight body undulation - a bit like a subdued fly kick, a little downward flick of the feet causing the body to rise up!]

The Dodo wrote:
When you do your "froggy" kick, try to angle your body so that it enters the glide at a slight downward angle (head a bit lower than the heels). As you exhale during the glide, your body will resume a more horizontal attitude, and obviate the problem of the legs sinking! You should be able to sense that your heels are close together and up by the surface all the time during any glide.


On the part about the kicking, i think i have more of a problem of my legs floating up to the surface then sinking, [You amaze me :shock: A very large % of swimmers have problems with "sinky" legs and trying to maintain a horizontal posture!]] which causes me to "kick air" and reduce my propulsion.



Hope my red highlighted additions to your post explain things a bit more clearly! For breast stroke, IMO the start of the "out-sweep", from the stream-lined glide position, begins with the action of gently "dropping" the arms diagonally down/out a little way (e.g. until with your head raised looking ahead, you are aware your hands are passing out of your field of view) - during the time the head is raised an inhalation snatched - then the elbows "ride over" the forearms/hands as the latter get into a backward-facing attitude - by that time it is probably too late to snatch an inhalation because there is no downward action to raise the mouth above the water line, since the arms are ready to pull backwards (so the head should at that stage, be looking down at the bottom, head/neck/spine all in line).

Bye / Don

The Dodo
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:58 am

Hi "Swimmingly"!

This is the clip I used to learn this hybrid of front crawl/breast stroke/sidestroke - you might like to try it for a bit of fun - re the business of recovering the arms from back by the thighs! In the "sprint" version, shown 1/2 way through the clip, only one arm strokes right back to the thigh, and the other only pulls until the arm is vertical, before both are recovered. I found it difficult to do an enormous scissor kick as the instructor does (top leg kicking forwards and rear one backwards, the instructor says this facilitates his body rolling back onto the tum), so I turned more onto my tum and then did a lop-sided breast stroke kick in order to help cancel out the drag caused by recovering the arms (the kick being timed to coincide with the arms coming up close to the body as they pass the head). As an interesting detail, I noted that the instructor suggested the scissor kick was done to co-incide with the recovering hands coming up past the face. Think I got into the habit of doing the big kick as the arms started recovery from way back - but that was probably associated with my lop-sided breast stroke kick, instead of doing the advocated big scissor kick to automatically help turn the body onto the tum!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lUHudMN1TU

I looked back at this after mentioning it in one of my my earlier posts, because of late, I have been swimming some of the lesser used strokes in my "repertoire" :roll: ;) - so I'll be putting a bit of this back into my usual swim routine.

It uses flutter kicking while the arms are stroking back, so that's good kicking practice. The other good thing about it, is that as the first arm starts it's stroke from the "both arms outstretched stream-lined attitude", you can roll away from the stroking arm quite early on, and get in a good lungful of air until quite late in that arm stroke.

If you find flutter kicking with almost straight legs only gets you "dribbling along", you could try kicking with more of a knee bend than SS approve of (!!!), to present the shins in a more backward-facing attitude for the kick downbeats, because they will be at a steeper angle and the instep of each foot will be more horizontal - giving a better "angle of attack" as each foot drives down and the leg straightens. That may produce a bit of surface disturbance as the heels break the surface, but never mind for ordinary bods like us. The so-called "Combat Side Stroke" should IMO be called "Covert...." because the idea for the US Navy Seals, is presumably to create as little surface disturbance as possible, in order to fool any possible watcher! In flutter kicking, after a kick downbeat, the legs are recovered straight as they come back up to the surface in the kick upbeat (a sort of "rebound" action) - otherwise the back of the lower legs would be moving against the intended direction of movement if the knees were still bent!

I was surprised that the instructor in the clip, did not say much about how one should "paddle" the arms through the water for optimal effect - e.g. as in making a "gentle" catch with the stroking arms before applying effort, so as not to upset balance. If I re-fresh my efforts at this stroke, think I'll "take across" what has already been learnt from the front crawl arm action - especially the "flinging back" action of the stroking arm during the push phase so as to give a bit of extra oomph!

Towards the end of the clip, the instructor talks of swimming that stroke's proficiency test of 500 yards in under 10 minutes, suggesting that if the swimmer is fast, they should maybe swim the first 400 yards using the standard stroke, then the last 100 yards using the sprint version. So that gives us some idea of how fast one ought to able to swim the stroke - I think it works out at less than 33 sec/25m pool length!

At one point in the clip, the instructor referred to "Pressing the buoy" for those not "blessed" in the buoyancy department. That might seem strange to you unless you have come across the idea before of "Pressing the 'T'" aka "Pressing the buoy! It merely refers to the fact that pushing the head a few inches under the surface during the "head down" part of the stroke (and of necessity that action involves the upper part of the buoyant chest area) - brings the legs up closer to the surface. This can be a useful trick to use in some strokes such as freestyle and fly, if one has sinky legs - the head is "nodded down" for an instant, near the start of each arm pull phase. The resultant effect of bringing the legs up closer to the surface, also facilitates inhalation, during the immediately following push phase of the stroking arm.


A final thought - before having another go at this stroke in my swim session tomorrow. Played the clip through upmteen times, concentrating on the wide "scissor" kick the instructor does. He brings his upper leg's thigh forwards quite a bit as the lower leg's lower part is curled back a bit - then he kicks out that upper leg's lower part quickly, and brings the legs back close together again in line with the body. So my earlier "work-around" solution to not getting enough forward push for the recovering arms, but instead doing a lop-sided breast stroke kick, doesn't seem to be "far off the mark"!

Bye / Don

The Dodo
Posts: 111
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Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:06 pm

Looks like "Swimmingly" has abandoned his thread - maybe that's my fault in being too "gushy" or OTT! :? Anyway I "resurrected" my efforts of some years ago at swimming the US Navy Seals "Combat Side Stroke" this morning - very clumsy at first. I re-learnt some things that did/did not work for me - fitted in some 6 lengths of it, and enjoyed it so much am going to make it a another regular feature of my future swim sessions.

Swimmingly
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:24 pm

Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:44 pm

Hi Don!,

thanks for the reply. No i have not abandoned my thread, just did not visit the forum lately. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your swim.

I've tried doing scissors kick in a typical sidestroke and i believe i also have problems having that big scissors kick you mentioned. However, this is not the main issue while i swim sidestroke but i noticed that i tend to sink on my sides while reaching one of my arms out for the catch, with instead of being a straight line perpendicular to the pool, it becomes like a "U" shape perpendicular to the pool but not that curved like the "U" and then my whole body seems off balance and it ends up probably with my legs doing froggy kick instead. And this sinking while on my sides also affects me while swimming freestyle, when 1 of my arms are all the way in front and out for the catch.

Talking about flutter kick, i do have very weak kicks, moving just a little bit with much effort and have been trying to improve these past couple of months. After various measures such as kicking from the hips (which i try to do, but am not sure if i am really kicking with my hips) and the knee bending comment you mentioned, i still find my kick pretty much propulsionless. One thing i find that might be slowing my kick is the position of my legs while i lie flat in the water, which seems to be over-bouyant, causing me to "kick air" just as mentioned how my froggy kick "kick air".

The swim demostrator in the video looks pretty smooth but i think it really requires lots of balance to excecute all those movements as he moves through the water.

And yes, i didint know about the keeping legs straight during the upbeat of the flutter kick part and did not pay attention if i have been currently doing that or not.

By the way, i'm curious why do the NAVY SEALS requires swimming seemingly on thier sides instead of facing down?

The Dodo
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:42 am

Swimmingly wrote:... However, this is not the main issue while i swim sidestroke but i noticed that i tend to sink on my sides while reaching one of my arms out for the catch, with instead of being a straight line perpendicular to the pool, it becomes like a "U" shape perpendicular to the pool but not that curved like the "U" [ I guess you mean a "saggy banana" shape - see my comment at end of your paragraph -after the blue high-lighted bit!] and then my whole body seems off balance and it ends up probably with my legs doing froggy kick instead. And this sinking while on my sides also affects me while swimming freestyle, when 1 of my arms are all the way in front and out for the catch.[ I think there is a basic problem here that you need to fix - I strongly suspect that your outstretched lead arm is in a bad attitude whether you are swimming sidestroke or trying to swim freestyle. Think your outstretched arm is not "ramrod straight" and may be bent a bit at the elbow or wrist (what I call a "swan arm", like the head and bent neck of a swan - e.g. either a saggy elbow or an unconsciously upturned palm - effectively "putting the brakes on" as SS say! If you are swimming sidestroke then you need to have that lower shouldwer up close by the cheek while the arm is outstretched - then you present a narrower head-on x-section to the water as you move forwards.]

Talking about flutter kick, i do have very weak kicks, moving just a little bit with much effort and have been trying to improve these past couple of months. After various measures such as kicking from the hips (which i try to do, but am not sure if i am really kicking with my hips) and the knee bending comment you mentioned, i still find my kick pretty much propulsionless.[A large proportion of swimmers grumble about their lack of movement when flutter kicking - and I belong to that group because of inflexible ankles and arthritis in the bones of the feet and arthritic knee joints etc - I've got it everywhere, a common problem with advancing age. So for instance the kick upbeat in back crawl puts painful pressure on the bones of my insteps, something I don't notice when flutter kicking on the tum because I suspect am not even attempting to "point the toes" as they say we should! Yes I believe the experts are right when the say we should kick from the hip - but what do they really mean by that? - I reckon they mean the initial impulse for a kick needs to be the act of throwing the thigh forwards through a small angle, letting the impulse run down from upper to lower leg, then the foot. i have discovered that keeping the kick very shallow and making the flutter kicking more rapid (easier because the amplitude is less!) could well be a solution - the only snag is that I find it consumes more energy! During one of my freestyle mini-set variations, I don't explicitly kick - but as each recovering arm is about to enter the water I quickly thrust the hip on that side down a few inches, that sends a shallow ripple down the leg on that side because the legs are kept completely relaxed, (have even found it works OK just doing the quick hip flick downwards on my inhalation side only. The action is similar to shaking the end of a rope lying laid flat on the floor, so as to send a ripple down it. By doing that my very awkward feet do not protrude into the water flow beneath the body so much - so (what thought :roll: I am only doing one "kick"/stroke cycle, yet can move faster! The quick hip flick downwards causes the body to roll towards the side of the entering arm - and that is precisely the correct direction of body roll for an entering arm in freestyle] One thing i find that might be slowing my kick is the position of my legs while i lie flat in the water, which seems to be over-buoyant, causing me to "kick air" just as mentioned how my froggy kick "kick air".[Am astounded by that - think there are very few bods with buoyant legs! :) ]

The swim demostrator in the video looks pretty smooth but i think it really requires lots of balance to excecute all those movements as he moves through the water.

And yes, i didint know about the keeping legs straight during the upbeat of the flutter kick part and did not pay attention if i have been currently doing that or not.

By the way, i'm curious why do the NAVY SEALS requires swimming seemingly on thier sides instead of facing down? [I don't know the answer to that - could it be that the emphasis is on covert swimming i.e. as little evidence above the water surface as possible of anyone swimming. Also, because of the almost freestyle UW arm action, and the flutter kicking during the arm pulls and recoveries probably make it possibly faster than breast stroke??? Tou may have noticed that in the clip the instructor keeps his head very low when inhaling, so perhaps they look for things like that in the proficiency tests i.e. looking for "covert" action.]


Hope my red high-lighted comments above answer your questions!

Best wishes
Bye / Don

The Dodo
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby The Dodo » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:25 am

Have found that pulling the arms right back to the hips before doing a nice kick to help overcome pushing drag - (as the arms are recovered back to an outstretched stream-lined position again) in the US Navy Seals side stroke mentioned above - was not as horrific as I expected. OK so there must have been lots of deceleration during that long recovery - but I hope to try a similar thing with fly stroke - as a drill to hopefully enable me to inhale with more confidence during the very short "window of opportunity" that the full fly stroke affords. So that will entail doing a normal UW fly arm stroke, but recovering the arms UW - and arranging the timing of the major kick downbeat a short instant before the arms start their up-sweep to the surface - that should help "lever" the front end of the body up a bit, to clear the mouth above the water line for a quick inhalation! If it's not a success - well - "glug-glug-glug" choke/spluttter - I may not be posting here again! Will have a go at it during tomorrow's session. ;) (Did I hear someone mumble "Get lost!" :) )


Would have liked to see the UW timing of the kick downbeat/push forwards of the recovering arms, but this poolside clip doesn't show that detail (so I shall just have to find out by experimenting!) : -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCqhtE1mpF4

Presumably the weight of the head/shoulders/arms as they emerge from the water during the full fly stroke - must depress the head - working against the effort to get the mouth clear of the water for inhalations. Think the rule is to start inhalation just as the arms are still in the water but about to exit and begin recovery over water.

Swimmingly
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:24 pm

Re: Breaststroke with arm propulsion?

Postby Swimmingly » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:02 pm

Hi Don,

I think there is a basic problem here that you need to fix - I strongly suspect that your outstretched lead arm is in a bad attitude whether you are swimming sidestroke or trying to swim freestyle. Think your outstretched arm is not "ramrod straight" and may be bent a bit at the elbow or wrist (what I call a "swan arm", like the head and bent neck of a swan - e.g. either a saggy elbow or an unconsciously upturned palm - effectively "putting the brakes on" as SS say! If you are swimming sidestroke then you need to have that lower shouldwer up close by the cheek while the arm is outstretched - then you present a narrower head-on x-section to the water as you move forwards.


I do have double jointed elbows and always did thought that it does cause problems while swimming front crawl. Now hearing you say this, it only adds to my affirmation. If this is the case, how do i fix it?

A large proportion of swimmers grumble about their lack of movement when flutter kicking - and I belong to that group because of inflexible ankles and arthritis in the bones of the feet and arthritic knee joints etc - I've got it everywhere, a common problem with advancing age. So for instance the kick upbeat in back crawl puts painful pressure on the bones of my insteps, something I don't notice when flutter kicking on the tum because I suspect am not even attempting to "point the toes" as they say we should! Yes I believe the experts are right when the say we should kick from the hip - but what do they really mean by that? - I reckon they mean the initial impulse for a kick needs to be the act of throwing the thigh forwards through a small angle, letting the impulse run down from upper to lower leg, then the foot. i have discovered that keeping the kick very shallow and making the flutter kicking more rapid (easier because the amplitude is less!) could well be a solution - the only snag is that I find it consumes more energy! During one of my freestyle mini-set variations, I don't explicitly kick - but as each recovering arm is about to enter the water I quickly thrust the hip on that side down a few inches, that sends a shallow ripple down the leg on that side because the legs are kept completely relaxed, (have even found it works OK just doing the quick hip flick downwards on my inhalation side only. The action is similar to shaking the end of a rope lying laid flat on the floor, so as to send a ripple down it. By doing that my very awkward feet do not protrude into the water flow beneath the body so much - so (what thought :roll: I am only doing one "kick"/stroke cycle, yet can move faster! The quick hip flick downwards causes the body to roll towards the side of the entering arm - and that is precisely the correct direction of body roll for an entering arm in freestyle


I do try to improve my kick and i will probably try letting the impulse run down and the quick flick.

I don't know the answer to that - could it be that the emphasis is on covert swimming i.e. as little evidence above the water surface as possible of anyone swimming. Also, because of the almost freestyle UW arm action, and the flutter kicking during the arm pulls and recoveries probably make it possibly faster than breast stroke??? Tou may have noticed that in the clip the instructor keeps his head very low when inhaling, so perhaps they look for things like that in the proficiency tests i.e. looking for "covert" action.


it seems from the video that it is pretty tiring doing this form of swim and seems ideal only for calm waters like in the pool, not sure how it is gonna work out in more erratic waters.


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