Recovery help please

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Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:29 pm

Hi there, i'am a new member but long time lurker on here,

I have a question on arm recovery that i have tries to solve myself until im blue in the face!

I always found that High elbow recovery pinched my shoulders so i went to a straight arm (which was basically a one arm butterfly recovery i got from Karlyn Pipes video.
This worked for a while but i was entering with both an elbow and hand strike far out in front and having to really drive down the hip to get the arm down to chest level, causing drag and lifting the front end as well as being exhausting.

So i have recemtly (gingerly) had a pop at High elbow recovery again and i found it more direct and a better entry and spear but im not doing it right and i dont want to injure my shoulders,

I have read all the scapular plane threads and i know about keeping the arms in front of it etc
I was getting the arm behind the body in the straight arm and also in HIgh elbow recovery i think as i often feel twinges.

So my questions are:

Straight arm (not right over the top more around the side)
how does it start? what should the hand orientation be at the exit? & how does that orientation change throughout the swing forward to entry?

High elbow recovery:
How to initiate? ive tried the bounce the basketball at exit shinji tip and also zipper and finger drag drills but all this seems to be hit & miss wether hand leads or elbow does?

And my main question......
I have discovered that if i forget all about the hand forearm elbow etc and just open my armpit really big as i throw the arm forward i get a good twinge free recovery is this correct?

and also i found that by retreacting both scapulas towards the spine (one arm in spear) i can get the recovering arm up high and right on the body line poised in the air ready to spear is this correct?

Basically what i'am asking is what moves first? scapulas retract and shoulder elevates or elbow if it is elbow i find that pinches my shoulder without some sort of shrug or elevation o the shoulder first?

Please help as i'am struggling with this for almost a year now and it is really bugging me, i'am a pretty fast swimmer and have most of the technique nailed apart from a comfortable repeatable recovery.

Thanks in advance for any tips

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by cottmiler on Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:01 pm

Welcome to our site! I saw your post on Total Immersion too.

At the moment my right shoulder is crook and I am having to swim left handed. This is because I worked too hard using forearm paddles and I was entering the right hand in thumb first - against all well known advice.

I am wondering if part of this problem was caused by insufficient body roll because my foot flapping action was inadequate. I try to keep the arm within the scapular plane.

If you prefer a high bent elbow recovery then “finger tip drag drill” is useful.


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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:12 pm

Thanks! i deliberatley started using less rotation following KPN's technique (which is probably why she uses a butterfly round the side recovery) but i think attempting a high elbow without at least 45deg rotation is no doable without impingement risk.

Any thoughts on drawing the scapulas together like squeezing a pencil between them? this gives a high over the body recovery (bent or straight) and seems to be what some pros use?

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by cottmiler on Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:28 pm

I don,t really understand the scapular retraction thing unless it,s to stop us taking the arm behind the scapular plane.

At the end of the day we have to able to swim pain free within the flexibility and positioning of our bones and joints. And flotation characteristics.

What might suit Karlyn may not suit you or me. There,s so much conflicting info on swimming videos. I like doing lots of different drills and hope something good will happen one day.

There,s something to be said for just swimming fast against others and letting the body do it,s job, brain free.

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:33 pm

More likely you cranked your shoulder to get the forearm down
You have to wait until something is rolling you off, ie the spearing arm enters the water
just get the elbow on top of the catching arm during set up a wait for the spearing arm when it enters hook that elbow out to the side to catch the water with the back of your upper arm
I had sucess with going in forward then hooking the elbow out and almost back like latching onto the water

you can try this swimming with fists closed you'll soon get it big power improvement but you have to watch the elbow height as it comes back alongside the body it can finish with the elbow tip behind the scapula plane at around navel level which as i found can also least to a behind the back recovery start position

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:52 pm

Most important is in my opinion to improve your shoulder flexibility! You should take these problems as a good motivation to do daily exercises for improving flexibility (the usual ones), and that's the real solution in my opinion --- not to avoid these problems. Say, 5 years ago, I couldn't do a high-elbow recovery, especially when breathing, without much rotation, and that caused tons of problems -- for (relatively) fast swimming one should only rotate as necessary, not more. Nowadays I have zero problems with high-elbow recovery.

Dryland exercises are very important, also for strengthening all these small muscles around the shoulders. They are likely too weak (in various degrees). You need to go and find the pain, and then attack it -- softly, but with determination.

By far most important for the recovery is to keep the arm relaxed. An exercise for that is that finger-drag: the purpose is to feel the hand and lower arm hanging around, as relaxed as possible. To get that dangling feeling (the "elbow leads").
The relaxation should be the first priority. Hopefully the natural direction of the hand will come automatically in this way: when you exit, you minimise resistance, so you cut through the water, palms parallel to the body (but only at the last moment). Then during the recovery the hand rotates slowly and relaxed into the direction with the palms facing the water.

Sure, drawing the scapulas together helps in general.

Opening your armpit during the recovery is good.

Perhaps you are doing some strange movement you are not aware of. Or you are over-controlling?

A good standard way of feeling the arm-recovery, when you are after fast swimming (and that's what I understand) is in my understanding as follows: The final push under the body, with good acceleration, is directed  DOWNWARDS (not upwards), you really try to push the water BACK (not up). When that's finished (which happens by itself), it seems in most cases best to just forget about you hand, but bring it out and forward, quickly, with the elbow taking over. Trying to optimise the hand exit seems a tricky business, and of low importance. When the hand comes forward, you open the armpit, and then you get that nice spearing-sensation, and with good speed you enter, hands flat, and extend them with good speed forward.

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:07 pm

Thanks some great tips there!

I noticed at the exit as the hand passes from water to air it flies out like a rocket and can get behind the back, there is something there that can be harnessed i think but as you say tricky!

Yes the downwards push at the back i might give the bounce the basketball trick another try to get a bounce into the high elbow. (although i think that requires a shrug or quick elevation of the scapula)

I will try the finger drag drill tomorow

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:31 pm

What do you mean with "bounce the basketball at exit shinji trick" ? You mean to do some flick with the fingers? Anyway, don't see how that would be related to a "high elbow".

By the way, since you have been influenced by Karlyn Pipes: I think her emphasise on that "early vertical forearm", meaning to drag the elbow along the surface, is very harmful for most adult learner. And chances are, that even if you could do that, it wouldn't make you faster! The real point is to get your lats firing quickly! In principle that can be done with straight arms (gymnasts do), but is very difficult. So bending the elbow is also highly recommended for every adult learner. But there is absolutely no need to give up power, and invite shoulder problems, by trying to keep the elbow at the surface. There is only a narrow tunnel, where some can optimise a bit in this way: long-distance swimmers, faster than say 1:20 per 100m, which have the flexibility, might gain a bit, after long training (best started young) -- but the rest will loose! A nice video is that SwimSmooth video "the smoothest stroke", and also that guy doesn't use that extremely early high elbow.

Of course, combined with that extremely early high elbow comes for Pipes the advice to enter wide, which definitely makes you slower. She only does it to enable that extremely early high elbow.
I believe the standard entry positions, typically 11 o'clock and 13 o'clock, are best for most.

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:41 pm

Yes the uber wide entry of KPN's style didnt agree with my shoulders but it does help getting into the catch.
It also stalls rotatation a bit i found.

The shinji basketball trick is to pretend you are bouncing a basketball at the finish of the pull and use the rebound enengy to fire your elbow up and back forward it does work quite well but as i said you need to do a quick shrug at the shoulder to go with it, it does fire your arm back to the front very quickly
(your hand doesn't turn in towards the body at the finish it stays pointing straight back and you "bounce the basketball" with the last bit of the push like you said about finishing DOWNWARDS in your earlier post

here it is demonstrated
https://youtu.be/KSKuqfX53xo

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:58 pm

mushroomfloat wrote:
here it is demonstrated
https://youtu.be/KSKuqfX53xo

Not bad that video: but one should note that this is the "old" style, which puts importance on the final finish -- that's where most of the power comes from. In contrast we have that "extremely early high elbow", which emphasises the first phase of the pull. And there is also extreme sprinting with nearly straight arms and very high frequency, where it is just necessary to exit much earlier.

The only improvement here is to turn the hand right at exit: but for many adult learners at least that means that they turn the hand too early, so that the last power-phase is lost. And thus it seems often better to forget about that final rotation of the hand.

I think that basketball-analogy is very roughly right, but not really: if you really want to use that final flip, then there needs to be quite an explosive movement at the end; and also the palms behave differently -- there is no round ball there, but the "flat" plane of water.

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:20 pm

KPN often talks about relaxing & release & "Circling" / "feathering" the hand out and around into the recovery i have tried to do it with mixed results is this a third way of recovering? (ie straight arm / high elbow / Circling)

She says it is more relaxed than pinching at the shoulder with a HER

demo here:
https://youtu.be/8J4FKpGr0FM
i think the key to this one is the orientation of the palms
i tried to do it with my first 2 fingers leading after coming out in a butterfly style exit 45deg away from the body
I can see she has some scapula retraction going on there and almost as if the scapula pulling towards the spine is being used to exit the arm?
is this known a "Trunk pulling"?

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:50 pm

mushroomfloat wrote:demo here:
https://youtu.be/8J4FKpGr0FM

There it is explicitly stated: that technique doesn't finish the stroke! (And thus you have a very different, short recovery.)
As I said: the extremely-early-high-elbow style emphasises the beginning of the pull.

So that's a completely different beast. You can't have "Shinji" and "Pipes" at the same time -- an essential contradiction.

Who knows, perhaps your shoulder problems come from combining these incompatible styles?

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:59 pm

No i was exiting early with the KPN technique feathering out into a one arm butterfly recovery.

The wide sweep out entry didnt agree with me so i decided to drop KPN technique and went for a full finish which has led me to now need high elbow recovery to get out of it back to the front or go straight arm.
I find i rotate much better with a proper finish the KPN technique was leading to a much flatter style of stroke with whatever rotation i could get coming from the foward arm / shoulder extention rather than a full body shoulder and hip roll

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:19 pm

mushroomfloat wrote:No i was exiting early with the KPN technique feathering out into a one arm butterfly recovery.

Alright.

But it could be that due to the concentration on the finishing part and then getting the hand out, your arm is cramping on recovery.
So you might try, for some time, a simplified version, where you push fully under water, but then just forget about your hand, and switch
attention to your elbow, the hand and forearm just relaxing, and only coming back to life in the final phase.

So you can feel whether this makes an essential difference or not.

There are also all kind of variations on that finger-drag drill, like stalling the recovery in the middle, or just short before entry.

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:25 pm

Yes you are right, just finish and relax and elbow
I found this earlier and tried it on dryland seems to be the same idea:
https://youtu.be/DLdMzQ8ubaw



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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:33 pm

mushroomfloat wrote:Yes you are right, just finish and relax and elbow
I found this earlier and tried it on dryland seems to be the same idea:
https://youtu.be/DLdMzQ8ubaw

Looks good,

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:48 pm

Thanks for your help guys, i shall get down the pool tomorrow and get some strange looks doing the sharkfin drill and bouncing an imaginary basketball lol
i will report back!

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:32 pm

Okay, i tried alot of things out in the pool today and basically it appears that what i have been doing is basically high elbow recovery but with my forearm and hand swinging out to the side in an arc

I begin the recovery with a retracted scapula at the end of the pull, this gets the arm out of the water with a circling motion of the forearm and hand, with a simultaneous shoulder elevaltion bringing the arm forward

Doing High elbow recovery zipper drill is the same movement as i paused at various points and moved the forearm out to the side making a straight arm.

I figure that once the elbow has got to head level the shaping of the arm for entry is the same wether using HER or Straight arm

Basically i have this type of recovery
https://youtu.be/rCga-UiIjSA
this is basically zipperdrill with the thumb running up the nipple line but the forearm is allowed to swing out.
I think it feels alot free'er than a HER did someone say "side lateral raise"? thats what the movement appears to be like
if i bring my forearm back in it feels tighter on the shoulder

i managed to get the Lats nicely engaged on the pull too, i dropped the EVF pull with the elbow at the surface for a more sedate lower catch and i could really feel the Lats doing the work

All in all that was the best swim ive had in a long time

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:54 am

Good that you feel better.

In my own experience, it might be that the straight-arm recovery is an intermediate phase, that the freedom-feeling is due to breaking-out of bad patterns, but that later one finds, that traditional high-elbow recovery does the job as well (or even easier).

With higher stroke-rates, say 100 strokes per minute and above, a straighter-arm recovery comes by itself, but for lower stroke rates you expend extra energy on it, which might not be needed. That's at least what I found. But who knows.

Hopefully your progress stabilises!

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:53 pm

I have another quandry / question if i may?

I've been doing zipper drill dryland practice and have both sides leading with the elbow to top of head level, now i can see the benefits of it! (v straight swinging arm) its like a gate opening and shutting.
But.......how does it work with less rotation? (ie when swimming fast say only rotating off your navel / skating on the nipple lines?

Is this where scapula retraction comes in? trunk pulling the arm more towards the spine to get a bit more clearance over the water?
Edit: actually scrub that i just tried it (ouch!)

I see there is something in the hand rotation, at the finish the palms is turned in toward the leg full tricep extention
then relax the tricep and the had rotates back to palm up position and kind of rotates from palm facing leg to palm facing ceiling as the elbow leads the recovery?
like a constant rotation of the hand throughout the recovery
Then again keeping the hand facing backwards and getting a rebound off the water also seems to work too, like a tricep twitch on / off right at the finish

And another discovery, finishing with the palm facing the leg leads to the elbow moving first as the hand is rotated back to the palm facing ceiling position (in the water that would lead to the elbow breaking the surface first and leading the movement

N.B i can see that with less rotation the arm can be recovered in a more stacked position gaining more clearance by extending the shoulder of the forward arm and letting the shoulder of the recovering arm travel right back at the finish, lockout and then relax into recovery (i expect there is some scapula retraction squuezing of the shoulder blades helping there)

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:34 pm

mushroomfloat wrote:
But.......how does it work with less rotation? (ie when swimming fast say only rotating off your navel / skating on the nipple lines?

I don't understand the problem: Sure, the higher the stroke frequency the less rotation (though there is always some, but especially the hips rotate less).
With enough flexibility, you can do high-elbow recovery and also straight-arm recovery over the middle, even without any rotation.
If you don't have that flexibility, you obviously need to evade sideways.

Your decision, whether you try to reach the middle as far as possible, or you go sideways.
My understand is that for sprinting you should search for the middle.

But that's all pretty clear, no tricks. So I don't know where there's a problem.

mushroomfloat wrote:
Is this where scapula retraction comes in? trunk pulling the arm more towards the spine to get a bit more clearance over the water?
Edit: actually scrub that i just tried it (ouch!)

I don't understand your problem: when you say "ouch" I assume you had some pain? God knows where that comes from  Shocked
Without seeing it, that might be impossible to understand.

Once your shoulders and the upper body are flexible enough (dryland training!), you will have the choice what to do.

mushroomfloat wrote:
I see there is something in the hand rotation, at the finish the palms is turned in toward the leg full tricep extention
then relax the tricep and the had rotates back to palm up position and kind of rotates from palm facing leg to palm facing ceiling as the elbow leads the recovery?
like a constant rotation of the hand throughout the recovery
Then again keeping the hand facing backwards and getting a rebound off the water also seems to work too, like a tricep twitch on / off right at the finish

And another discovery, finishing with the palm facing the leg leads to the elbow moving first as the hand is rotated back to the palm facing ceiling position (in the water that would lead to the elbow breaking the surface first and leading the movement

N.B i can see that with less rotation the arm can be recovered in a more stacked position gaining more clearance by extending the shoulder of the forward arm and letting the shoulder of the recovering arm travel right back at the finish, lockout and then relax into recovery (i expect there is some scapula retraction squuezing of the shoulder blades helping there)

I really don't understand what you are talking about. Are you a programmable robot? Then you need to ask your designer :-)

I don't believe that one can reasonably watch the own swimming actions, without being recorded, in the way as you describe them.
From my own experience, I guess that when you would actually see what you are doing, then you would be surprised (but I don't know how --- just that in my
experience there is a high likelihood of having illusions with swimming).

The recovery is something very simple: you just bring your hand forward. And that as relaxed as possible. If you are flexible enough, then you can do what you want, otherwise you can't Twisted Evil

Concerning the hand rotation: in my understanding it is standard to have the arms in their natural, unrotated position when leaving the water (so that as little as possible resistance is created when leaving the water), Then in a natural way the hand rotates by itself, without you doing something here, so that it enters the water flat.

Perhaps you are stuck with that possibly unnatural idea of not rotating the hand at exit, that is, still facing backwards when exiting?

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by Sprinter on Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:54 pm

I just checked with the last swim-clinic where I have a video: everybody has at exit the palm parallel to the body. So that seems most natural. The typical problem here is that that parallel position is assumed too early (so that the final push is weak or even not there).

Since the arm recovery is quite a fast movement, and completely unobservable by oneself, I can't see merits in your approach of trying to decompose that movement. From my experience, only cramping and unnatural movements will result (since I assume you are indeed not a programmable robot).

It is also not clear why you make these problems? Perhaps, once one gets into that self-analysis mode, one can't escape anymore ?? You need to find your reset-button!

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:33 pm

Hi, thanks for your comprehensive reply, yes i was doing the movements in front of a mirror that is how i was able to observe them.

No i'm not a Bot lol

Yes you are correct i was doing the recovery with the palm facing backwards and not turning it to face the leg, i think that was causing the issue,
i see now to relax and just "bring the hand forward" without over thinking it.

Many thanks Sprinter.

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Re: Recovery help please

Post by mushroomfloat on Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:16 pm

Well i found a nice simple way is to just relax & smell your armpit, like putting on deodorant, H.E.R without thinking!
i Certainly over complicated that!

Not sure which i prefer now straight arm or HER i see the straight arm forces an earlier catch due to the weight coming over the front, i think i will get a more relaxed swim with the high elbow recovery.

I shall try out both later.

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