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  #1  
Old 08-19-2009
techie techie is offline
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techie
Default Importance of ankle flexibility?

Okay, so Shinji et al are probably in fantastic shape, and pro swimmers have amazing flexibility, but how much is ankle flex affecting efficiency for someone at my level? One of the things I noticed in vids I posted recently was that while I thought I was pointing my toes sufficiently, It could be a lot better.
I'm not old, but I have always had terrible flexibility. That's not likely to change, so how much should I worry about it.
Is dragging the feet a little a big concern, or is it a "fine tuning" item someone should worry about after improving the core skills?
Does it even matter when TI takes so much focus away from the kick?
Anybody correct this and have some feedback about the benefits?
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Flexible ankles are less of a concern when you do a two-beat kick, but it still helps to have them. I still do the active balance drills in fins, just to loosen up my ankles.
If you keep your lower leg relaxed and floppy, rather than pointing your toes, you'll be less likely to have calf cramps, and of course use less energy. Think of flicking your feet as if to shake something off your toes.
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2009
Nicodemus Nicodemus is offline
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Try rotating your legs inward slightly to create a pigeon-toed effect. There is some rotation at the hip, and more at the ankle. This is what I was taught on a TI workshop. I am lying on the sofa as I write this. When I point my toes, they are still 3 inches higher than my heels. When i then twist my feet inwards (& pull my heels wider apart), my big toes can actually touch the cushion.

Remember also that when you kick, your body is rotated. So if you kick down towards the bottom of the pool, this will naturally use the above foot position anyway. Ie when you kick, present the outside of your ankle to the water, not the front of it.

Last edited by Nicodemus : 08-19-2009 at 06:32 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2009
Chase Chase is offline
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Chase
Default Ankle Flexibility

Feet sticking with the toes pointed straight down toward the bottom of the pool, as if you're walking, will create drag as if you're braking with your feet to slow down. I don't think that the drag that you create matters whether you're doing a 2-beat or 4- or 6-beat kick. The idea seems to be to get your fee within the streamline of your body. So, the more parallel with your body that you can get them without cramping and while being comfortable, should help. Runners, like me, have a problem with ankle flexibility; and I work on trying to keep my feet extended out behind me every time I'm in the pool. Small fins can help increase ankle flexibility and will make you really focus on your feet while you have them on. I've never tried the pigeon-toe suggestion but probably will do so during my next swim.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2009
eddiewouldgo eddiewouldgo is offline
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eddiewouldgo
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The answer is about 30 seconds away, next time you are in the pool. Swim half a length with your feet plantar flexed (toes pointed at the wall you came from, or as straight as you can get them, and keep them there). Halfway down the lane, dorsiflex your ankles (flex them to a 90 degree angle, hold them there), and keep swimming to the opposite end with your feet hooked. I predict you will not need a watch, tempo trainer, or videotape to tell the difference between straight(er) feet and hooked feet.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2009
atreides atreides is offline
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atreides
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techie View Post
Okay, so Shinji et al are probably in fantastic shape, and pro swimmers have amazing flexibility, but how much is ankle flex affecting efficiency for someone at my level? One of the things I noticed in vids I posted recently was that while I thought I was pointing my toes sufficiently, It could be a lot better.
I'm not old, but I have always had terrible flexibility. That's not likely to change, so how much should I worry about it.
Is dragging the feet a little a big concern, or is it a "fine tuning" item someone should worry about after improving the core skills?
Does it even matter when TI takes so much focus away from the kick?
Anybody correct this and have some feedback about the benefits?
Something interesting happened at the pool this morning. I had gone swimming on Tuesday and felt heavy and unbalanced in the water. I couldn't put my finger on what had changed from this weekend where I had felt long and sleek. After playing around a little bit with prone glides, I decided to do a lap. I instinctively pointed my toes as best I could and began to flick my 2BK. I have been playing with the amplitude of my kick but really hadn't thought much more about it. For whatever reason I maintained the light flick and had a fairly pleasant lap. On the way back I tried a heavier kick and immediately my hips dropped and I felt lower in the water. I went back to the lighter kick and things straightened out. I spent the rest of the workout with the flick and time went on felt longer and sleeker in the water. When I point my toes like that, it stretches my calfs and I would say that my legs are anything but relaxed. But it seems to put my legs in the highest position and closest sensation that I equate it to is when I wear fins. So you might try to do the same. I'm not sure if its the position of my foot or that I creating less turbulence with the "little" flick. But for now I sticking with it.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2009
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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splashingpat
Default playing around....works! flick it instead of kick it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by atreides View Post
Something interesting happened at the pool this morning.
I had gone swimming on Tuesday and felt heavy and unbalanced in the water.
I couldn't put my finger on what had changed from this weekend where I had felt long and sleek.
After playing around a little bit with prone glides,
I decided to do a lap.
I instinctively pointed my toes as best I could and began to flick my 2BK.
I have been playing with the amplitude of my kick but really hadn't thought much more about it.
For whatever reason I maintained the light flick and had a fairly pleasant lap.
On the way back I tried a heavier kick and immediately my hips dropped and I felt lower in the water.
I went back to the lighter kick and things straightened out.
I spent the rest of the workout with the flick and time went on felt longer and sleeker in the water.
When I point my toes like that, it stretches my calfs and I would say that my legs are anything but relaxed.
But it seems to put my legs in the highest position and closest sensation that I equate it to is when I wear fins.
So you might try to do the same.
I'm not sure if its the position of my foot or that I creating less turbulence with the "little" flick.
But for now I sticking with it.

great thread
i think too
Pat

What have the Masters learned...
Listening to how the swimmers explain it...
Ya can learn by listening to these guys too!

fine tunin' it by havin fun with it!relax and enjoy the glide with it
He could not put his finger on it right away...then thought about it,
and he did a great job of explaining it...

i think so! anyway! didn't he! hi guys

so where does the stroke begin?
from the bottom Up...
flick of the toe,drop of the hip then the spearing of the arm to the top?

something alway to think about?
when it is said by the student...other students "see" it better!
don't they! (for some reason!)

so I learned (shut up )& listen the students speak up so well
shake my head...and learn to play along with just
a splash!

Last edited by splashingpat : 08-20-2009 at 04:37 PM.
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