Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

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Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by cottmiler on Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:15 pm

I happen to think that the reason some of us struggle to get faster is because each arm is doing a different thing. One arm is always more powerful and it takes over the stroke while the other just goes along for the ride. It seems very hard to cure and stems from poor body balance on one side.

The first step this morning was to measure some laps pulling with one arm.

With the beeper set at 1.6 s which corresponds to 37.5 spm, it took 22-21 pulls with the right arm to cover 30 m.

With the left arm, it was 23-24.

About 10% slower. so there is the real problem. Even if I manage a seamless transition from right to left arm and vice versa, the overall swim speed is limited.

The learner will just try to pull harder on the strong side but it is diminishing returns for a lot more effort.


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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:22 pm

I never feel symmetrical when breathing bilaterally; however, when I swim with my face in the water and slightly less rotation I feel much more symmetrical. I conclude that my imbalance is less due to lateral strength differences and more to do with asymmetric mobility in the neck and hips (I have internal rotation at the hips, more pronounced on the left hand side, which has been diagnosed by a sports podiatrist and a physio, and which causes me problems when running).
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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by nightcrawler on Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:00 am

In my opininon freestyle swimming cannot be symmetrical because during breathing rotation degree is more than when head in the water.

Assume that a swimmer breathing in each 3 strokes (bilaterally). The rotations may be like this:
30
30
40 breath

Or 30-40 when the swimmer breathes in each 2 strokes(unilateral breathing):
https://youtu.be/tfH0zhVsesM

Note that these degrees may change according to person but they are somewhere between 20-40 degrees, also might be for bilaterals 35-35-40 or 25-25-33 or 32-32-38, 22-32, for unilaterals 30-40, 25-35, 33-38, etc... hope you got it.

SS tries to eliminate this extra rotation of 40 degrees by singing the mantra 1-2-stretch and thinks that stretching will retouch that extra rotation and helps to avoid that pause. Acting as a magician can help Paul for earning money but actually that stretching serves to no purpose, it is totally unreasonable! You know why? It is not sustainale because stretching is itself also a pause and by the way stretching also requires energy and leads to fatique. So that almost all the competitive swimmers dont swim symmetrical, because it is contradictory to front crawl's nature.

What can I recommend?
I can recommend the symmetrical one arm drill, it is a great way to play with the rotation while also concentrating on the efficient arm mechanics.
Do it like this: One arm extending forward the other arm is working. Breath then throw 2 or 3 right arms, breath then throw 2 or 3 left arms, repeat the loop...

Swim on!
NC


Last edited by nightcrawler on Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by cottmiler on Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:05 am

I see your point re the breathing. I suppose I meant that with no breathing, the stroke should be symmetrical.

Your later point
"I can recommend the symmetrical one arm drill, it is a great way to play with the rotation while also concentrating on the efficient arm mechanics.
Do it like this: One arm extending forward the other arm is working. Breath then throw 2 or 3 right arms, breath then throw 2 or 3 left arms, repeat the loop..."

is extremely important because the transition from one side to the other should be seamless and certainly takes some practise. I discovered this when doing my Dunco which is doubled up Unco drill - two arms one side then switch to two arms the other.

Talking of Unco, repeating yesterday's effort using 37.5 spm Unco on the left side it was about 25 strokes and the extra reach forward made it hard to achieve this high frequency.

This session morphed into doing Unco with legs tight together like ankle band. This went quite well using left arm but body balance was imperfect using the right arm.


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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by s.sciame on Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:17 pm

Talking about symmetry and breathing: while it's fine to try and detect asymmetries while drilling as cottmiler is doing, it's worth doing the same while swimming too.

Now, on one hand breathing bilaterally - every 3 strokes, every 5, 22322 etc - is a good way to level up the stroke (and to swim straighter in ow). On the other hand my favourite pattern in the pool remains to breathe every 2 and change side every length: not only for oxygen intake reasons but mostly because it's a better asymmetry detector. For instance, if during a set you start losing 1SPL only when breathing to one side, you know you're doing something wrong on that side. If instead you breathe every 3 it's harder to detect asymmetries on the fly: even if your SPL is constant, you're not sure whether it is constant because your stroke is even (fine) or because the good side compensates for the bad side (this would be hiding a problem).

That said, as we all know a lot of swimmers are faster when swimming with visible asymmetries. Committing to symmetry imho is more about injury prevention than speed.

Salvo

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by Sprinter on Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:31 pm

cottmiler wrote:
About 10% slower.  so there is the real problem.

The learner will just try to pull harder on the strong side but it is diminishing returns for a lot more effort.

As far as I know, 10% difference is considered quite normal.
The problem is NOT the pulling harder (that is a PLUS), but the weak pull on the other side.

I always felt a bit worried regarding my asymmetries (strong on the right side, more flexible on the left side, concerning the upper body; for the legs, the right leg is more the kicking leg (as in Kung Fu), so danger of bending (and danger of right leg not doing much work for the flutter kick)), but no physiotherapist ever worried about that. For the swimming, yes, the weaknesses should be improved.

But no problem with ever using too much effort Very Happy

For many years I had major problems with breathing to the left (shoulder and neck), but fortunately, recently, this improved much. Likely the general health situation improved, and likely also the technique, and so at least for the slower speeds, the bilateral style isn't so much slower than the unilateral style. So I am doing more of that now (as a kind of "technical exercise"). After doing it, at least for now I can feel an improvement for the unilateral swimming. Watching my stroke, for the sprints it has always been noted by coaches that my breathing is too often rather disruptive, and the bilateral breathing, in my special case, really watching my swimming (I think that's important!), had been recommended as an exercise, to cure the too big movements. But that was only pointed out by coaches specialised to sprinting -- for normal slow swimming coaches often considered my head movements as quite good. (Sure, no breathing is best Twisted Evil and I indeed swim faster, I believe around 10% (but not sure about the current situation), when not breathing, but I can do that currently only once, at most, over 25m, and then it's over Sad ).

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by nightcrawler on Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:45 am

I am happy with my left arm but my weak right arm is sometimes slipping the water and also sometimes dropping after the catch. You may obviously see it in the below video, SA(smooth arnie) couldnt have realized and commented on my right arm issue yet  Very Happy
https://youtu.be/XIQi6U7FqtA

Once an olympic swimmer in my next lane had lively watched my technique under the water and has told the same. I think this is because of my operated(had an operation  from my shoulder 5 years ago) left arm's being more bulky and lazy, sometimes right(faster) arm is waiting for my left arm to comlete its recovery and while waiting right elbow drops. In order to correct this there is no solution, on e arm drill doesnt help because each arm works better alone than working together Very Happy

Picture when a moving car collides into a parked car. The kinetic energy of the moving car gets transferred into heat, crumpling metal and kinetic energy of the parked car that now starts moving. Swimmers are working in an open system—we cannot isolate the kinetic energy of a rotating body or a recovering arm, as if it were a closed system, because all of the body parts are connected. The motion of one part affects another. Like the cars colliding, the energy of a counter-rotating body or a recovering arm, when timed correctly, can positively impact the propulsive forces of our hands and feet. Further, all the forces of nature, such as gravity and drag, are acting on the system simultaneously. Coupling motions require more work, and if we succeed, we can use them to our benefit by enabling us to swim faster.

Another example of a coupling motion that is a little easier to visualize is the elite long jumper, who keeps moving his legs and rotating his arms in the air, after the force of the takeoff leg has occurred. So long as the effect of the leg force is still in place and the body is still flying through the air, the coupling motions can augment the effect of that propulsive force, resulting in a longer jump. Simpler and more common coupling motions are the arms swinging while walking. The arm swing adds no propulsive force to the gait, but results in a longer stride.

So that as I mentioned before in my other post that there cannot be concept of "symmety" in swimming, because human body is not symmetrical. So obey your DNA dont resist it, dont let the TI company to damage your nature. Very Happy

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by Don Wright on Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:03 am

Hi folks!

Spend most of my (little!) freestyle efforts doing unilateral breathing (to my right) - but what do you do? - when that right side has a good "pull" - but due to rolling for inhalation, can't give as much attention to the "push" during the up-sweep.  With my left non-breathing side, reckon my "pull" is not as good as with the right arm - but can really put plenty of "oomph" into the "push" during that arm's up-sweep.  The funny thing is my rate of movement when bilateral breathing is quite poor compared with unilateral breathing stints - but maybe that's the fault of not-practising bilateral enough (and concern not to get a mouthful of water instead of air when breathing on the "less happy" side, for which I use a bit of "pressing the buoy" to make it easier for inhalation on that side).  I don't understand how one can ever get symmetrical - in the sense of being able to apply equal effort on each body side!

As has been said before I think, inhalation on every 4th arm stroke gives plenty of time to at least attempt some symmetry during the "head-down" arm strokes.

Bye / Don

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by Don Wright on Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:19 am

Afterthought! - Surely some degree of asymmetry is the reason whey some experts have successfully developed a natural loping freestyle stroke  (e.g. Jason Lezak)- because, for instance, one arm just happens to be stronger than the other!

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by nightcrawler on Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:41 am

Don Wright wrote:Afterthought! - Surely some degree of asymmetry is the reason whey some experts have successfully developed a natural loping freestyle stroke  (e.g. Jason Lezak)- because, for instance, one arm just happens to be stronger than the other!
Yes, Lezak's lopinp, asyncronous, eccentric unique style is a very good example, this style also creates resonance which brings extra power through its pendulum effect. In my style I am not using loping technique due to my lack of fitness level but trying to create some resonance by swinging the arms around in a assymmetric way.

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Re: Making the Stroke Symmetrical and Faster

Post by Mike A on Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:58 am

For me the asymmetry with bilateral is because I can't find air to my right without my hips/legs dropping somewhat, and without a slight pause. This causes a little drag and a mini-stall. It can be ameliorated somewhat by a quick flutter kick as the head re-enters, which gets the body back level quickly.

In long distance swims I tend to adopt a 2, 2, 4 breathing pattern - in SwimSmooth terms, bubble-breathe, bubble-breathe, bubble-bubble-bubble-breathe. The three strokes without breathing are where I keep symmetrical and feel the stroke is most efficient.
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