Would hesitate to suggest he try the idea of rapidly flicking the thighs up/down with lower legs/feet doing their own relaxed thing, while aiming for a shallow kicking action and legs very close together (thinking of that tidy rear action again!) - because he would probably loose a lot of speed initially, and think it a retrograde step!
Was interested to read of Robert trying buoyancy shorts - allowing one to optionally kick or leave the legs just floating. Am fairly sure the buoyancy from the neoprene in mine has degraded a bit. When mine were new, and I walked down the "fancy steps" into my pool, it used to feel as if the buoyancy would sweep me off my feet and bring my lower end up to the surface. Now after much use, that sensation has "departed" - so I wonder if many of the original closed cells on the inner surface of the shorts, have been abraded (i.e. are no longer closed cells), and no longer provide as much buoyancy as before.
rsilvers wrote:Yes, I need to kick from the thighs. I can practice with a kick board...I tried again today trying to stretch out more:
Good! I think your legs are closer together in that clip, except for that scissor kick as you inhale. I have the same problem when breathing on my "less happy" side, and the only solution I've found is to keep thinking about keeping the feet close together as they pass up/down, so the big toes are almost brushing against each other.
We are told to "kick from the hips", but what that really means IMO, is that the impulse comes from the flicking action of the thighs up/down. I have only recently "discovered" this more correct way to kick (see footnote) and as I haven't got a kickboard - I just hold both arms outstretched and "kick like crazy" for some 6-7 metres till I run out of breath, and then stand up in the uniform depth pool for a "breather" (being an "oldie", that's very essential ) before resuming. I haven't really managed yet to my satisfaction, to synch the normal stroking arm action with the rapid thigh action (which is definitely in excess of 6-beats/stroke cycle) - because each down-thrust of a thigh causes the hip to rise slightly on that side. That does not always work out conveniently for making an inhalation - as the body is rolled away from that side and the stroking arm does it's push back up to the surface. Because, at one moment the hip on that breathing side is high, then an instant later due to the rapid kicking, that hip is low and the other high. So my hips are doing a fast wiggle (am more aware of that "wiggle" when making an inhalation) while the arm action is almost in "slo-mo" in comparison. Good job my body roll is initiated from my shoulders!!!
Prior to this rapid kicking business, I was hampered by inflexible ankles/non-flappy feet. Till "it hit me", that the solution for me was to make my kicks more shallow so the feet at the bottom of a kick downbeat didn't point to the bottom so much. Hence because the feet traversed a shorter path due to shallow kicking, I could make the action faster. Wow! what a difference it made - instead of just "dribbling slowly along" I could "steam along" at a decent pace (pity about getting short on breath though!)
Don Wright wrote:Good! I think your legs are closer together in that clip, except for that scissor kick as you inhale. I have the same problem when breathing on my "less happy" side, and the only solution I've found is to keep thinking about keeping the feet close together as they pass up/down, so the big toes are almost brushing against each other.
I think in quite a few cases keeping the feet together is not enough, since the scissor can be quite a fast action, and if you haven't seen it on video (several times possibly) you believe your kicks are together all the times, but in reality those guys have their own ideas.
A stronger solution is required. To say it simply: keep in control!
That was wisdom
But there is real wisdom hidden here: you must be *really* in control, not just by superficial measures.
So when you breathe, you need to feel the rising tension in your core, and you need to counteract.
Don Wright wrote: We are told to "kick from the hips", but what that really means IMO, is that the impulse comes from the flicking action of the thighs up/down. I have only recently "discovered" this more correct way to kick and as I haven't got a kickboard - I just hold both arms outstretched and "kick like crazy" for some 6-7 metres till I run out of breath, and then stand up in the uniform depth pool for a "breather" (being an "oldie", that's very essential ). I haven't really managed yet to my satisfaction, to synch the normal stroking arm action with the rapid thigh action (which is definitely in excess of 6-beats/stroke cycle) - because each down-thrust of a thigh causes the hip to rise slightly on that side. That does not always work out conveniently for making an inhalation - as the body is rolled away from that side and the stroking arm does it's push back up to the surface. Because, at one moment the hip on that breathing side is high, then an instant later due to the rapid kicking, that hip is low and the other high. So my hips are doing a fast wiggle (am more aware of that "wiggle" when making an inhalation) while the arm action is almost in "slo-mo" in comparison. Good job my body roll is initiated from my shoulders!!!
I guess the interruptions will make the practice of the kick very hard. What about vertical kicking?!
Concerning the synchronisation: it might also have to do with swimming rather slowly -- that makes everything rather wobbly. I think in general initiating the body roll with the kick is a good idea. The more power there is, the easier.
By the way
should be useful to get the kick more efficient: rather quickly rsilver's kick becomes more and more like walking / bicycling.
rsilvers wrote:One of the CoachRobb videos said don't kick to raise your hips - raise your hips by pressing your chest into the water.
I am not sure how to do that or if that is a solution for me.
Which video? Such statements should always be considered in context.
The kick definitely creates lift (when done right), but the right posture for swimming is very important, and that is meant here. There is a lot of discussion about the importance of posture / body position in the water here in this forum.
By the way, one thing not to copy from that video is the big rotation for breathing: I guess you have heard about Popeye-breathing.
And also her arm entry needs more smack: http://theraceclub.com/aqua-notes/myth- ... -swimming/
rsilvers wrote:I tried this and could not lift my arms at all : -
Ah now we're getting somewhere! An EVF catch - as well as nice arm recoveries with "spear-ins" at arm water entry.
Could it be that Robert is not rolling sufficently when doing arm recoveries, to allow the arm easy passage over the surface when he says "I tried this and could not lift my arms at all". The body needs to roll away from the recovering arm, to get the elbow out properly. Maglischo's body roll mantra - "Roll towards the arm going down into the water, and roll away from the arm coming up to the surface!" - needs to be "engraved on the heart!"
[ On another look at Roberts first "before" clip - I can see that he is apparently rolling sufficiently in that "above surface" side-view - I really thought that might be the answer, until I had that further look. His left arm recovery looks a bit "laboured" and the UW arm sweep on that side was probably not very good at that time. Later clips are not so helpful in seeing that point, since they are just UW ones - but think his body roll is OK-ish!]
I expect the reason Robert would find an EVF style catch difficult, where just the forearm/hand are dropped down to a vertical, while the upper arm stays up close to the surface - might be due to the upper arm being too close to the head at water entry/arm extension. (Aha! Now we're getting into a bit more detail for Robert!) The recovering arm with a high-ish elbow is "speared-in" and slid into the surface as the arm is extended forwards (absolutely straight from shoulder,elbow,wrist,fingers!). This is one of the "tidying-up" points Robert could aim for!
Some 8-9 years ago I followed Tom Jager's advice on a DVD, to a squad of kids standing on tiptoe on a pool deck with one arm by the side and the other pointing to the sky with the upper arm pressed against the cheek - as he said "Reach for the light bulb!" while the kids were simulating a stream-lined attitude. Yes that was good, up to a point - reaching ahead at arm entry in an attempt to gain a few more inches, to make the subsequent UW stroke path a bit longer - but at the cost of twisting the spine etc, in over-reaching!
IMO one cannot achieve an EVF catch, unless the upper arm is away from the cheek, and more or less in line with the hip/shoulder line (or one happens to have amazingly flexible elbow joints - OK for ETs?). Otherwise, the dropping forearm/hand would be in danger of crossing, at some steep angle, the centre line of the body. So for the EVF style catch the speared-in/recovered arm needs to extend, more or less, in line with the hip/shoulder!
We've chatted before about the business of having a high elbow during the arm recovery, and think SS talked about it in a blog not so long ago. Think most of us avoid the classic peaked elbow at mid-recovery with forearm dangling down towards the surface - and opt instead for a very relaxed arm recovery, in which at about mid-recovery the elbow is high-ish but the forearm is sloping only slightly downwards, but still well above the surface (the "sling-it-over" style). Think whatever style of arm recovery one prefers, the only important thing is to synch the arm entry/extension with a well-timed kick - in order to help cancel the "pushing drag" caused by the entering arm.
I think one has to consider
I tried this and could not lift my arms at all : -
as great news: this is something you can work on. And as I can say from own experience, it is really important not just for swimming, but also for your general health!
So I propose you start doing, best every day, the usual swimmers stretching, especially for the shoulders.
Though I believe, that test in the video needs clarification: Just doing it, on land, without any preparation, I can lift the arms say 10 cm. However, for swimming the warm-up is extremely important for me (and I guess for everybody, especially those of 50 amongst us (like me)), everything is rusty for say the first 400m, but then it improves quite a bit. I assume that after this preparation the test would yield better results. Nevertheless, shoulder flexibility is key. And you can also prevent future neck- and shoulder-problems, by doing stretches. (I actually find the swimming motivation for such stretches very helpful: although I know I need to do it, absolutely, otherwise big problems arise, but "just the health" is not enough -- swimming faster gives it the edge.)
Second, one doesn't need to swim with the elbow scratching the surface: just look at the van-Hazel video! So don't worry too much: (likely) you will never get there, to that (excessive) high-elbow position --- but you can swim world-class without that. This video shows well the extremes:
Most swimmers will be somewhere between.
(But it is likely WRONG that the high-elbow catch is more powerful: as for example it is emphasised (with good reasons, I believe) by Gary Hall Sr many times -- the high elbow is LESS POWERFUL, but offers less frontal drag, that's the point.
http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/07 ... roke_79164 )
Was interested to see the clips you linked in your above post - food for thought indeed!
The EVF catch looks as if it will make for a weaker subsequent pull because of the shallow arm insertion and the consequent smaller backward-facing area, compared with a deeper straight arm insertion. But don't forget the upper arm action, which provides a changing backward-facing area, as it is drawn back/around towards the ribs - and that must make some contribution to propulsion!
However, the Early-Vertical-Forearm reaches a catch quicker than any straight arm action because only the forearm/hand are involved - while the straight arm action (Morozov style) has the increased risk of shoulder strain due to the long leverage it is possible to apply.
Another factor that comes to my mind, is that during the pull phase after an EVF catch, the hand travels on a curved path - when viewed from above - but almost horizontally beneath the surface when viewed from the side (since the depth of arm insertion does not alter much). Whereas for the straight arm action (and the SS catch?) the hand travels on a circular arc for the pull (and the earlier down-sweep to a catch). I don't need to tell you which of the 2 subsequent pulls, hand traversing a horizontal path or on a circular arc, after the catch - has the maximal backward-facing area for longer - and hence possibly more propulsive. The backward-facing area of the straight arm action is constantly changing. So although the arm insertion is deeper, it is not at the best angle for a maximal backward-facing area - until the arm is pointing to the bottom, at the end of the pull.
Or have I "misinterpreted" things? There are so many varying factors involved in comparing the different UW stroke paths, that it seems to me it's more a matter of personal preference depending on one's capabilities.
Re the kicking action you referred to in an earlier post on this thread : -
Sprinter wrote:By the way
should be useful to get the kick more efficient: rather quickly rsilver's kick becomes more and more like walking / bicycling.
That set me thinking about my "little discovery" that I could make much better progress by flicking the thighs rapidly up/down, when prone in the water and arms outstretched with knee/ankle joints completely relaxed, so the only energy expenditure was in driving the thighs up/down with no force exerted by the lower legs at all. Have spent a lot of time using this "new" kicking style recently and managing to synch the arm action with it much better now. Provided the amplitude of the thigh up/down movement is kept small, and the kick rate is dropped to a more sustainable level - I can reach the end walls without gasping! It suddenly struck me that I was using "the principle of conservation of momentum"... (Only very vaguely remembered from my youth, some 60 years ago - dealing with exam questions on colliding billiard balls etc.) ... in order to send a wave-like action from each moving thigh down the rest of the relaxed leg...
During the course of a lecture, I once had to demo a linear case of the above mentioned principle, using a little "toy" which consisted of a small "soccer goal" (sans net!) with it's uprights on a base, and a line of 10 metal balls on thread suspended from the crossbar, each metal ball being in contact with the next ball. At some point, I had to lift one of the metal balls sideways away from the others, and let it drop back into place - resulting in a demo of conservation of momentum, as the impulse shunted each metal ball in turn until the last one was displaced almost as much as the one I initially moved.
Unless am very much mistaken - the rapid up/down movement of the thighs while leaving the lower legs (with "loose" knee/ankle joints!) completely relaxed during the action - results in a wave-like out-of-phase movement of each moveable part as the impulses run down the lower legs/feet - and is a 2-dimensional (due to thigh up/down action) usage of the conservation of momentum principle. The (hopefully!) flappy feet will flap around in a 3-dimensional way - but the same principle still applies. The thigh action accords with what we have always been told for flutter kicking, i.e. "Kick from the hips!".
So I don't think such leg action, as I've described, has much resemblance to the leg action when cycling - in which there is definite "firmness" at knee and ankle joints!
As a "Parthian shot", I thought your earlier comment : -
Sprinter wrote:... one doesn't need to swim with the elbow scratching the surface...
a bit unfair - because no sensible EVF-catcher would dream of such exaggerated action. All of the exponents I have seen in clips using that catch, have the elbow several inches below the surface at both the catch and subsequent pull. With the exception of one crazy demo produced by some swim clinic, in which at the catch the swimmer's elbow actually appeared above the surface - that initially "put me off" until I read Sheila Taorminas book "Swim Speed Secrets", then I was "hooked" on EVF!
Bye / Don
Keep remembering that feeling very good if you start to apply some more pressure on the arms.
Its easy to focus so much on the arms that the legs are forgotten. You always want that rear engine running at the background.
You dont want the legs up by bending the lower back and pivot the hips and the legs up at the same time.
If you lay on the floor and raise a leg try to keep the lower back straigt and raise the leg with neutral pelvis, tension in the butt muscles and rear of upper leg.
This is not easy, but that is the feeling you want in the water. Raise the leg while keeping the rest aligned.
If you kick down from that raised position together with the same side pull you achieve the main powersource in the stroke.
TRying the get those alpha fins at the surface while keeping the lower back flat seems a usefull exercise to me.
(and not achieved by excessive kneebending)
But I became very aware that my timing was off. I noticed that if I reached far and pulled that it became almost automatic for my hip rotation to be correctly in time. And then I noticed that if I got out of breath, I would regress to an emergency breathing mode and my timing would go way off again. I need many more hours to somewhat cement in what I can do part of the time now.
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