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-   -   Sinking legs without fins - help!! (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=9660)

dubdub 07-31-2018 09:15 PM

Sinking legs without fins - help!!
 
I had posted a month or so back on getting my breathing right. The advice I received on these forums helped me quite a bit - I'm able to do 25 yards at a stretch. I can see that I don't panic as much anymore and I become conscious when I go too fast. I'm reminding myself to slow down and I'm not reaching for the wall in a panic. I practice about twice a week for 45 minutes each.

Then about a week back I borrowed my son's fins and that helped me even go 2-3 laps (25 yards) without breaks. I was able to get a good feel for a streamlined posture, rotating body and was able to somewhat correct my arm movements. But when I remove the fins, I'm realizing that my legs sink and drag behind me. I think this was the case even before I used the fins but the usage of the fins have made me aware of this sinking/drag. Without the fins I do 25 yards with about 30 strokes which is not sustainable. I'm very dejected.

I don't want to be dependent on the fins. They have been useful in localizing issues I see with my technique. But now comes the hard part. How do I get my feel/legs to stay afloat?

Also, I read about Finis Rangs. Unlike the fins, if these don't become a crutch, I'd like to use them. (if these are like Kids' floats that you remove one after the other over a period of time by which time the kids have gotten habituated to remain afloat, then I'd be super thrilled).

Any suggestions on rectifying my technique flaw and thoughts on the rangs are most welcome. Thanks

Dubdub

Zenturtle 07-31-2018 10:23 PM

at least fins have helped to get aware that your legs sink.

You can:

- buy Zoomers. Or other very small fins
- only use one fin.one length on the right foot,one length on the left foot.
try to kick also with one leg and hold the other leg still
- use fins, but dont kick.
- use one fin, and dont kick
- go from no kick to a very small kick
- highly exagerate the amplitude of your kick
- etc etc

all variations that can help to get more aware of your stroke, bodyposition and connection between front and back.
Dont swim only with fins. At least mix it up with no fin swimming,

sojomojo 08-01-2018 02:48 AM

Your dependence on fins to keep your legs from sinking is exactly what I went through. I too thought I’d be dependent on fins forever.

This is how I weaned myself off the fins.

I started each swim session doing the Superman Glide drill.

Swim two laps with the fins.

Swim one lap without the fins.

Swim two laps with the fins.

Swim one lap without the fins.

REPEAT THE FINS ON AND OFF.

Eventually I ended up finding myself swimming more and more without the fins. Now days, I hardly ever swim with fins.

The thing that you’ve got to figure out is the cure for the sinking legs. When I did the Superman Glide drill, I found that if I lowered my extended arms to a deeper depth angle, my legs would stay up near the surface of the water. This was my A-HA moment. When I swam without my fins, I found if I drove my arms a little deeper, my legs stayed up. Thus, no need for fins to keep my legs from sinking.

Mushroomfloat 08-01-2018 03:00 AM

A pullbuoy will give you the feeling of where your hips want to be
then you can ditch it and you'll remember the feeling and start to know when your legs are dropping.

Fins imo are no good, it's imprinting kicking to keep the lega afloat which is the opposite of what is wanted for TI
the aim i to use a 2bk for balance and as an aid to rotation and streamline.

Of all the styles TI is the best for learning balance and streamline
the difference can be seen at any pool where the good swimmers are effortlessly streamlined with a minimal 2bk and the mediocre swimmers are kicking like crazy to maintain position

i can spot kick dominant swimmers a mile off now.

(that's not to say kicking is bad and shoulder driven sprinters will be using massive 6bk's etc but the best distance swimmers are not kicking to keep the legs up it's an aid for balance / anchoring & rotation.)

Mushroomfloat 08-01-2018 03:22 AM

This isn't TI but it helped me out immensley finding balance
(forget about swimming for a while and devote practice time to the TI balance & streamline drills or work on the richard quick stuff below)
When you get it just add in the arms and legs and you'll understand.

"The last thing were concerned about is what the arms & legs are doing"

https://youtu.be/YwOHzq8Qgso

CoachBobM 08-01-2018 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dubdub (Post 66143)
.But when I remove the fins, I'm realizing that my legs sink and drag behind me. I think this was the case even before I used the fins but the usage of the fins have made me aware of this sinking/drag. Without the fins I do 25 yards with about 30 strokes which is not sustainable. I'm very dejected.

I don't want to be dependent on the fins. They have been useful in localizing issues I see with my technique. But now comes the hard part. How do I get my feel/legs to stay afloat?.

It sounds like your problem is not so much a problem swimming without fins, but a problem of relying too much on your kick to keep your body horizontal. What the fins are really doing is amplifying your kick, thereby making this easier.

What happens when you do Superman Glide without kicking? Are you conscious of your legs sinking? If so, how much of a kick do you have to add to keep this from happening? You shouldn't need to add more than a very gentle kick.

TI freestyle really just goes from your Skate position on one side to your Skate position on the other side, so if you can find your balance in your Skate position without fins, you should be able to do it while swimming freestyle. The keys to finding your balance in Skate are:
  1. head position - are you relaxing your head into the water with your nose pointed down?
  2. position of your leading arm - your wrist should be lower than your shoulder with your palm facing down and your fingertips angled down

If you do these things and your legs are still sinking, trying lowering your leading arm more.

If you have access to water that is over your head (some pools don't provide this), you can improve the effectiveness of your kick by doing Vertical Kicking: Fold your arms across your chest and keep your head above water by kicking. Focus on kicking from your hips and ankles - not from your knees. You can transition to horizontal kicking by starting Vertical Kicking and then letting yourself "fall back" onto your back while still kicking. If you spend some time doing Vertical Kicking each time you have a swim practice, you should see your kick improve over time.

Let us know how you make out!


Bob

Zenturtle 08-01-2018 02:03 PM

If you do these things and your legs are still sinking, trying lowering your leading arm more.

Bob, how far do you want to take this approach?
You pretty soon reach the point of deminishing returns I guess. The idea of bringing more mass in front of the lungs also starts to disappear when lowering the arm.
I think 30 degrees down is about the max for this trick to have nett positive result.

for more ideas about why legs could be sinky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7ETlhaMsEk

dubdub 08-01-2018 05:31 PM

Thanks for all your responses. I believe coachBob is spot on when he says that the problem is relying too much on the kick to stay horizontal (and the fins are amplifying).

When I did the superman glide I noticed that the legs begin to droop slowly but I didn't pay attention to how much I needed to kick to prevent them from going down. I'll be sure to take note next time.

Also, the pool does have a deep end (10 ft) where I can try the vertical kicking. I'll put all other suggestions to practice and report back.

Dubdub

novaswimmer 08-01-2018 08:03 PM

Also,

1) Make sure you are breathing to the side and not lifting your head to breathe. Any lifting of the head will cause legs/hips to sink.

2) Make sure after you have speared that during the initial part of the underwater stroke the arm is not stroking downward. A downward stroke will lift the upper body resulting in lowering of hips/legs. Sometimes people do that without thinking to raise the head for a breath. All stroking should be directing water backwards for propulsion/anchoring and never downwards.

bx 08-01-2018 08:13 PM

Dubdub:-

Squeeze your bum - all the time - like you're trying to crush a grape.

Glute engagement is HARDLY EVER mentioned in TI. I seem to recall
it's mentioned in passing, just once, in one of the newer TI DVDs.

Very interestingly, if you follow the TI twitter account, the most recent post
gives a link to a video on Tim Ferriss' website, where a student was taught
TI by Terry, with Tim in attendance also. There is a point where the student is struggling with horizontal balance, and Tim gets her to do a sort of plank exercise, grabbing Tim's ankles on the pool deck, and raising her legs by engaging her glutes and core muscles.

https://www.facebook.com/thetimferri...2049779826522/
16 minute mark for the reverse hyperextension exercise.

The glutes are a hip extensor, so they straighten the body and keep legs in line.

Glutes engagement also (in my experience) greatly helps to keep scissor kicks and wayward waggles in check.

It is a miracle cure. Please try. It WILL take several weeks or months before continuous glute engagement becomes automatic, because the brain has to develop new neural pathways.


PS
Glutes engaged, but knees not locked out rigid.

Mushroomfloat 08-01-2018 08:59 PM

yeah! squeeze your 2nd blow hole ;-)

dubdub 08-04-2018 05:27 PM

Hello everyone,

I went back to implement some of the ideas. I didn't take the fins so I wouldn't be tempted. I did superman glides for about 30 mins and added kicks after that. Here are my observations -
1. During the superman glide, initially the feet did sink within about 10 seconds
2. After a few tries I figured that if I held a tall posture with my arms and feet completely stretched out, the legs weren't sinking as quickly. I was able to stay afloat for over 20 seconds
3. Butt clench helped with stretching out the legs/feet.
4. When I added kicks, it helped me to stay afloat longer.
5. I noticed that even when I was kicking from my knees, I was still staying afloat and infact moving along further. I even experienced the glide like I did when i had the fins on.

Note that through 1 - 5, my feet were not sinking as badly and I was able to maintain a streamlined posture, by and large.

6. Lastly when I tried to inhale by turning my body sideways and putting face back in the water, I noticed that my feet were beginning to sink and hit the floor. (I believe this is where the fins helped by accentuating the kicks and helping my body stay streamlined)

So, based on this drill, I see I can stay afloat but at the same time no. 6 tells me that I need to practice being able to inhale/exhale while remaining in a straight line.

What should I do from this point on?

Dubdub

novaswimmer 08-04-2018 10:32 PM

'...when I tried to inhale by turning my body sideways...'

Of course, it's impossible to see what you are doing without a video. So I'm not sure we can help much.

When you are trying to breathe, is that in full stroke? Or still drills?

In full stroke, as I prepare to breathe, I turn by body roughly 45°. Then I turn my head roughly another 45°. This allows my head to face at 90° from the bottom of the pool (more or less). When I started out learning to breathe, it was more like 100 to 110° from the bottom of the pool, and I gradually learned to reduce the angle.

If you turn your whole body sideways, it is called being 'stacked' and you will sink -- or at least I DO! But maybe you didn't mean 90° sideways.

CoachBobM 08-05-2018 04:40 AM

To expand a bit on what novaswimmer said:

You can simulate the core body rotation you should experience while you're swimming by standing in front of a mirror and, while keeping your nose pointed toward the mirror, rotate your core body about 45 degrees to the right. Then, while keeping your nose pointed toward the mirror, rotate your core body until it is about 45 degrees to your left (a 90 degree rotation altogether). If you keep rotating your core body back and forth between these two positions while keeping your nose pointed toward the mirror, you will be approximating the core body and head positions you should be experiencing while swimming freestyle without breathing. (The mirror, in this analogy, represents the bottom of the pool.)

If you want to simulate the core body and head positions you should experience when breathing, make the following modification (we're going to simulate breathing to your left, but if you reverse it, you will simulate breathing to your right): Stand as before, with your nose pointed toward the mirror and with your core body turned about 45 degrees to the right. But when you are rotating your core body toward the left, instead of keeping your nose pointed toward the mirror, let your head rotate with your body. Since your core body is rotating 90 degrees (from 45 degrees toward the right to 45 degrees toward the left), your nose will go from being pointed toward the mirror ("the bottom of the pool") to being pointed 90 degrees toward your left (which, if you were in the water, would be the surface of the water). In practice, you might need to rotate your head a little more toward the left to bring your nose and mouth above the water's surface, but the primary sensation would still be that the rotation of your core body about the axis of your spine is bringing your mouth and nose to the air.

What you want to be careful not to do is lift your head (since this will cause your legs to sink). Another way of looking at it is that, while it's okay to make the kind of head movements you make when you're shaking your head to say "no", you want to avoid making the kind of head movements you make when you're nodding your head to say "yes" (or, to put it differently, say yes to the "no" kind of head movements, but no to the "yes" kind of head movements).


Bob

CoachDavidShen 08-06-2018 03:33 PM

RE: CoachBobM

Perhaps this video I did will help with the exercise he describes: https://youtu.be/J5xMFIJ_TkA

CoachBobM 08-07-2018 06:35 AM

Excellent video, David! Thanks!


Bob

dubdub 08-07-2018 06:53 PM

Thanks Novasimmer, CoachBob and CoachDavid. I’ll try these out and report back.

Dubdub

dubdub 08-15-2018 09:35 PM

Update
 
The Finis Rangs that I ordered a few weeks ago arrived so I haven't swam with the fins. But I did use the Rangs. I did 2 sessions of 45 minutes each. Each time, I swam with the rangs for about 25 mins. I felt better that I was not using the fins for propulsion but I realize the rangs help me stay streamlined.

The rangs help me with focusing on the rest of my stroke, my body movement and specifically my kicking. I can tell how I need to kick so legs don't sink however, I'm not able to consistently kick in that manner. I need more practice. Once I get my basics right I plan to wean myself off the rangs. I will report progress. Thanks for all your valuable suggestions and tips. I'm putting them to practice (albeit while wearing the fins).

Dubdub

Tom65 08-16-2018 06:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dubdub (Post 66331)
The Finis Rangs that I ordered a few weeks ago arrived so I haven't swam with the fins. But I did use the Rangs. I did 2 sessions of 45 minutes each. Each time, I swam with the rangs for about 25 mins. I felt better that I was not using the fins for propulsion but I realize the rangs help me stay streamlined.

The rangs help me with focusing on the rest of my stroke, my body movement and specifically my kicking. I can tell how I need to kick so legs don't sink however, I'm not able to consistently kick in that manner. I need more practice. Once I get my basics right I plan to wean myself off the rangs. I will report progress. Thanks for all your valuable suggestions and tips. I'm putting them to practice (albeit while wearing the fins).

Dubdub

If you need kicking practice/miles, you may want to try doing laps streamlined on your back. I can't stand kickboards but find on my back quite comfortable and a reasonably fast way to get to the other end of the pool.

Mushroomfloat 08-16-2018 03:48 PM

You don't want to be kicking to keep your legs / hips up

you should be able to find balance & streamline without kicking

then kick is used for stability anchoring against & as an aid to rotation

then you can move to using intermittent kicking to boost propulsion


but carry on.

Mushroomfloat 08-16-2018 03:57 PM

The balance for your legs is on the front side of your hips, loll around on this front side of hips using it as the balance point and you see that the legs stay up and streamlined and youll generate a natural 2bk

As i said originally a pullbuoy between the thighs will show you this.

novaswimmer 08-16-2018 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mushroomfloat (Post 66337)
The balance for your legs is on the front side of your hips, loll around on this front side of hips using it as the balance point and you see that the legs stay up and streamlined and youll generate a natural 2bk

As i said originally a pullbuoy between the thighs will show you this.

If a pullbuoy helps you significantly, it shows you that your body is not naturally balanced.

Some bodies are horribly balance-challenged. For some of us “adult-onset swimmers”, it's never been possible to float. In superman glide, my legs begin to sink after maybe 1 second, even with full lungs. But that's not keeping me from swimming. It just takes us longer to find air when we swim and have the confidence to keep plugging away. I remind myself that Terry often said we swim through the water and not on top of it.

Mushroomfloat 08-16-2018 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 66341)
If a pullbuoy helps you significantly, it shows you that your body is not naturally balanced.

Some bodies are horribly balance-challenged. For some of us “adult-onset swimmers”, it's never been possible to float. In superman glide, my legs begin to sink after maybe 1 second, even with full lungs. But that's not keeping me from swimming. It just takes us longer to find air when we swim and have the confidence to keep plugging away. I remind myself that Terry often said we swim through the water and not on top of it.

Yes, agreed
but i found that a certain level "taughness" in the lower abdominals / glutes will give a level body position

but i only discovered that through trying a pullbuoy then i prompty ditched it once i had found the key.

if you dont know what it feels like it'll be hard to "discover" it

Mushroomfloat 08-16-2018 06:57 PM

Sternum forward also adds a small bit of a balance point ahead of the lungs which you can also loll around on

get both working in tandem (with a slight bias towards the front, slight corkscrew) and and you'll be moveing really well

liolio 08-17-2018 10:46 AM

A piece of my experience. My legs were not really sinking but they were (including the pelvis) slightly to low for my taste.
For me the issue was lake of hips rotation relatively to the torso, so I practice at letting go(rotatte) the pelvis hips as I swam with some speed. Over doing it to some extend helps to findspot the tensions.
Then relaxation + speed got the hips to sync properly on their own (and the kicks).
Still working on it to install it for good but the feel is there, not my biggest focus at the moment, proper breathing is.

dubdub 08-17-2018 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mushroomfloat (Post 66342)
Yes, agreed
but i found that a certain level "taughness" in the lower abdominals / glutes will give a level body position

but i only discovered that through trying a pullbuoy then i prompty ditched it once i had found the key.

if you dont know what it feels like it'll be hard to "discover" it

I think I know what you are talking about. Y'day when i felt my legs sink I made a conscious effort to clench my abs, butt and glutes. It did help. It's just that you have to constantly remind yourself to do so, while remembering to do 10 other things just right.

Another thing I noticed was that natural gliding happens as I near the wall. As I sense that the lap is ending, I begin to relax. My hips rotate and I'm able to take one last gasp of breath in an easy manner before I touch the wall. Then, when I go back for another lap, I remind myself that I need to swim like that the whole way but it just doesn't happen until the final 5-7 yards !! There are things that I become aware of such as my sinking legs. I make adjustments to streamline my body and the thought of relaxing goes out the window.

It's frustrating but I'm positive that it will all come together at some point. Two months back I couldn't swim even 3 strokes without having to stand up for breathing. But now I can do 25 yards and sometimes even back to back with a few second break between laps. I'll keep reporting progress. Thanks for all suggestions

Dubdub

dubdub 08-17-2018 03:49 PM

I forgot to mention, that with the help of the Rangs, I may have succeeded in zeroing in on when the legs sink. When I start the lap, I push off the wall into a superman glide before I start my strokes. I glide about 5 yards or so and my legs do not sink. With my face still in the water and looking directly below me, I do two strokes, my legs don't sink. Then I take a breath and put face back into the water which is when I can feel my legs sink a little. Then I begin to make adjustments to streamline my body, bring my feet back up over the next two strokes with my face still in water.

I need to video my stroke so I can post here for suggestions. I think it may be the way I turn to breath in and put my face back in the water. The mechanics may be wrong throwing my body off balance.

Dubdub

Mushroomfloat 08-17-2018 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dubdub (Post 66349)
I forgot to mention, that with the help of the Rangs, I may have succeeded in zeroing in on when the legs sink. When I start the lap, I push off the wall into a superman glide before I start my strokes. I glide about 5 yards or so and my legs do not sink. With my face still in the water and looking directly below me, I do two strokes, my legs don't sink. Then I take a breath and put face back into the water which is when I can feel my legs sink a little. Then I begin to make adjustments to streamline my body, bring my feet back up over the next two strokes with my face still in water.

I need to video my stroke so I can post here for suggestions. I think it may be the way I turn to breath in and put my face back in the water. The mechanics may be wrong throwing my body off balance.

Dubdub

yes the head lifting or pulling offline will drop the legs instantly, you learn to recover position quicker but the real answer is move the head as little as possible with no lifting
its not easy and i still struggle with this but i know when the legs start to drop so i can recover position very quickly with a snap back down of the face / slight press on the chest etc.

top swimmers minimise breathing because they say it causes too much disruption to the stroke.

There is also "head lead" which is a type of technique where the head breathing and return leads the stroke but that is a whole other story

Mushroomfloat 08-17-2018 04:15 PM

Your probably doing what i used to do and thats arcing the head up to the right or left to breathe, do you feel it in you mid spine? Like your spine is banana'ing?

that then drops your legs like a stone and you need to recover position by rushing your face back down.

turn the head in a longitudinal manner along the central axis in time with the rythmn of the stroke

watch shelly ripple here

Mushroomfloat 08-17-2018 04:16 PM

https://youtu.be/rCga-UiIjSA

CoachStuartMcDougal 08-17-2018 07:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dubdub (Post 66349)
I forgot to mention, that with the help of the Rangs, I may have succeeded in zeroing in on when the legs sink. When I start the lap, I push off the wall into a superman glide before I start my strokes. I glide about 5 yards or so and my legs do not sink. With my face still in the water and looking directly below me, I do two strokes, my legs don't sink. Then I take a breath and put face back into the water which is when I can feel my legs sink a little. Then I begin to make adjustments to streamline my body, bring my feet back up over the next two strokes with my face still in water.

I need to video my stroke so I can post here for suggestions. I think it may be the way I turn to breath in and put my face back in the water. The mechanics may be wrong throwing my body off balance.

Dubdub

Hi Dub, Being aware of your hips/legs sinking when breathing is excellent, most swimmers have no idea that's actually happening and why swimmers find it so hard to breathe.

This blog outlines a process to help you breathe easy, establish good timing, and maintain posture when rolling to air. Select this link: Breathing It's Overrated

Once you remove all the added terrestrial movement patterns (i.e. looking for the promise land of air) and remove tension in neck, shoulders, chest is when you will find the "easy breath". There really is no breathing stroke and non-breathing stroke, only a seamless breath has become integrated into your stroke.

Good luck and be patient with the process!

Stu
mindbodyandswim.com

dubdub 08-23-2018 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal (Post 66353)
Hi Dub, Being aware of your hips/legs sinking when breathing is excellent, most swimmers have no idea that's actually happening and why swimmers find it so hard to breathe.

This blog outlines a process to help you breathe easy, establish good timing, and maintain posture when rolling to air. Select this link: Breathing It's Overrated

Once you remove all the added terrestrial movement patterns (i.e. looking for the promise land of air) and remove tension in neck, shoulders, chest is when you will find the "easy breath". There really is no breathing stroke and non-breathing stroke, only a seamless breath has become integrated into your stroke.

Good luck and be patient with the process!

Stu
mindbodyandswim.com

Coach Stu,

Your post helped a lot. Right away I noticed this - "Lifting head and rotating more to breathe instinctively triggers the lead arm to push down and legs to splay wide to maintain stability." I'm not so much lifting my head as rotating more. Maybe, I'm breathing in for a second longer than I need to.

I realize that I need to lead with my shoulder and make sure the chin moves with the shoulder. It would help if someone can tell me where my eye should be looking when I breath in. As I breath in the bow wave, would I be looking at a point which is 90 degrees to my right or more like 120-130 degrees to my right ?

I'm making progress though and all these suggestions help !! Thanks everyone

Dubdub

daveblt 08-23-2018 11:46 PM

Breathe directly to the side with eyes focused to where you are breathing. If you look too much back over your shoulder it could cause you to over roll or your lead hand may cross over too much to your center line. If you look too much ahead it can cause you too lift your head in the breath.

Dave

Mushroomfloat 08-24-2018 11:36 AM

I was a fan of looking back towards the shoulder when breathing and if i'm in trouble and really have to make that breath i'll go back towards the shoulder as i know "youll always find air at the tip of your shoulder" to quote Terry.

but looking back also sabotages the front spear and can lead to sending the recovery arm over the back.

So yes straight 90 to the side is best

pirate breathing, one goggle under water splitting face mouth pursed to the side like a pirate saying "arrrrgh" ;)

Mushroomfloat 08-24-2018 11:45 AM

Doesn't always work in busy pools with wave chop, but superb in a still flat pool

CoachStuartMcDougal 08-24-2018 07:00 PM

Actually remaining in posture, head low - creating bow wave and low pressure pocket is absolutely necessary when breathing in adverse, lumpy open water conditions too.

Stu
mindbodyandswim.com


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