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  #1  
Old 08-04-2009
5-rise 5-rise is offline
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5-rise
Default Lower back pain - too much rotation?

Hi,

I've been doing a bit of open water swimming recently but I'm finishing with lower back pain which also causes me to stop during the swim as well. At first I thought it was the wet suit (live in England!), but now I'm realising it's due to swimming mainly in one position without the relief I would normally get in the pools from changing position at the end of each length. However, not sure if the pain is a result of something wrong with my stroke or whether it might be a case of my muscles needing to get stronger. Has anybody else experienced this?

Also, in terms of rotation, my understanding is that one should spear as far forward as possible by "swimming taller". However, how do you do this and at the same time limit the rotation, so you're not rotating too much?

Thanks in advance
Jon
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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The non-stop aspect of open water swimming takes some getting used to. You could try abdominal exercises to strengthen your core, or just get into the habit of tucking your pelvis forward from time to time while swimming.
As for the reaching, don't do it to the point where you're straining.
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2009
sasquatch sasquatch is offline
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sasquatch
Default tempo?

Have you had back trouble in the past? Is it muscle pain or more in the bones/joints?

Not that this is always bad, but are you stroking too slowly and therefore spending a lot of time in skating position? Like you said, not a big deal when you are boincing off the walls and changing position, but will take your muscles some getting used to once you hit the open water.I've never used one, but the wet suit may be an issue because it compresses your muscles more than your used to.

As for rotating too much, that could be related to tempo as well. If you're stroking too slowly you may over do it until you learn just where to hold it. I wouldn't shorten up your spearing entry; stay tall, but if you're worried about over-rotating try spearing your tracks even wider than shoulder width. I'm not suggesting you'd swim this way permanently, but play with it a bit and pay attentiion to how your body position/rotation changes. There are lots of things you could tinker with in terms of the target you are spearing toward on each stroke. One nice thing about the open water is being able to play with your stroke without being interrupted so frequently by a wall.

Last edited by sasquatch : 08-05-2009 at 11:24 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-05-2009
5-rise 5-rise is offline
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5-rise
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Thanks for the replies

Quote:
Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
As for rotating too much, that could be related to tempo as well.
This sounds interesting, could you say a bit more?

Thanks
Jon
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  #5  
Old 08-05-2009
sasquatch sasquatch is offline
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I'm not sure exactly how to explain it (maybe someone with more experience could chime in if they agree) but I think if you are "too patient" with the spearing hand you might keep rotating to more of a shoulders stacked position unless you know exactly where and how to stop rotating around your center axis (halting rotation just as your recovering shoulder clears the water). I was thinking about this a little more in relation to the wet suit too; could the added bouyancy of the suit make it easier to over rotate by combining with your rotational momentum to carry your top hip further upwards? Is the wet suit new to you, or have you used it for a short swim where you normally train?

Whether it's the suit, or the stroke rate over-rotation will stack your shoulders meaning you'll automatically engage other muscles (possibly from your lower back) to maintain your balance.

I hope that helps, and good luck with the back pain.
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2009
BradMM BradMM is offline
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I've Googled this before because I was wondering if some of my back pain might be related to swimming. One thing I read was that keeping your back out of its natural alignment (possibly lordosis) too much could cause a problem. I haven't had the problem lately so I've not looked into it again lately.

Brad
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2009
elskbrev elskbrev is offline
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elskbrev
Default shoulder v.s. hip lead

I think the lower back pain may definitely have something to do with the way you are rotating side to side. I have experienced lower back pain when I let my shoulder lead the rotation rather than the hip.

Maybe the wet suit throws off your "y-axis" balance so your hips ride higher in the water and this is throwing off your usual hip drive.

Also, BradMM has a good point. If you arch your back as you "spear forward as far as possible," that can be a problem since the back should be relatively flat.
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2009
vol vol is offline
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vol
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When I swim non-stop for more than, say, 300 yards, I tend to have lower back ache. In my case I think it's because in the later stage I began to lose correct position or movement due to fatigue or stroking for too long time, which is not supposed to be the case if one has really mastered the techniques. Your case could be different, though.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2009
Adam Adam is offline
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Arching your back will cause lower back pain over time.

It's common to arch your back pain while trying to float over the water (which can't really be done). What often happens is that the swimmer feels the air at his upper body and at his feet. This gives you the sensation of floating. In fact, if you're arching your back, you will also feel as if you are floating because there will be more drag from the water near your stomach.

When this happens to me I try to focus on head position and on having the armpit of the leading arm point downwards. I also try to keep the legs as compact as possible. Of course I don't focus on all of this at once...
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2009
vol vol is offline
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Adam, by 'arching your back', do you mean the back is bended UP (the middle is higher than two ends viz. head and feet) or DOWN (middle lower)? Sorry if this is a laughable question!
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