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  #1  
Old 05-20-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Default One arm stronger than the other

Recently I've been doing quite a bit of single arm freestyle, with a view to improving my catch and pull (or catch and roll) and also to improve wrong side breathing, an ongoing project, and I have noticed that my right arm is much stronger than my left, which is perhaps not surprising as I am right handed. However I breathe on the left and when I swim with both arms I don't notice any huge difference between the arms, except that I do tend to veer to the right, especially in open water, and the right arm stubbornly insists on starting the pull too soon, a fault I am trying to eliminate.

Should I swim more repeats with the left arm only, swim full stroke with left hand open and right hand in a fist or what?

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-20-2013
swimust swimust is offline
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To less extend, its exactly the same problem I had with my flying right arm. I am right handed too and my right shoulder is much more "aggressive".
My fix was finding the weight shift tracks at last. I don't need to beat the LATS or fight gravity with my arm anymore. My body is relaxed. Nothing else really helped me and I tried hard.
I don't know how you swim, just telling my story. Maybe you also need to work on weight shift? I don't really know. Just raising an idea.
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi swimust

I think I'm shifting weight OK. I definitely feel a rocking sensation, especially at the slower tempos I normally swim at. Strangely, there doesn't seem to be any tendency to pull too soon on the right hand side in backstroke, but then my backstroke is extremely slow, and in fact, having re-visited my copy of the four strokes DVD, I discover that it is basically the slide and glide drill, which it seems was originally a backstroke drill. Perhaps more long axis combo (three strokes front crawl followed by four strokes back crawl) would be a good idea.

It keeps me amused anyway. ;-)
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2013
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Richardsk,

are you sure the different strength of your arm is the cause? Are the stroke movements exactly the same along the imaginary rails and while breathing?

Two 2cts, because this is one of my Problems...

Best regards,
Werner
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Werner

I don't think two arms (or any two limbs for that matter) can ever be exactly the same, but I do know that my right arm is stronger than my left and also that my right shoulder is stiffer than my left and has clicks in it that the left hasn't got. When I first tried to swim crawl many moons ago, before I discovered TI, I found it difficult to get the right arm out of the water on recovery but now I think it recovers quite nicely.

I definitely swim faster with right arm only than with left arm only and usually with fewer strokes as well. I think on the rare occasions I manage to do a whole length breathing on the right side it is usually faster than my normal stroke and in fewer strokes, so perhaps I ought to consider switching to right-side breathing.

On the other hand, I think my one-arm butterfly is better on the left side. Swimming is full of mysteries.
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Hello Richardsk,

are you sure the different strength of your arm is the cause? Are the stroke movements exactly the same along the imaginary rails and while breathing?

Two 2cts, because this is one of my Problems...

Best regards,
Werner
I definitely agree.

None of your arm will require near maximal force they could exert. Besides, there are other forces involved, body rotation being one.

Just about anything could give us the impression that we have a weaker arm. Bottom line, you have one arm that works (or feel) better than the other.

How would your single arm DPS compare between L and R sides?
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  #7  
Old 05-20-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
Hi Werner

I don't think two arms (or any two limbs for that matter) can ever be exactly the same, but I do know that my right arm is stronger than my left and also that my right shoulder is stiffer than my left and has clicks in it that the left hasn't got. When I first tried to swim crawl many moons ago, before I discovered TI, I found it difficult to get the right arm out of the water on recovery but now I think it recovers quite nicely.
As humans, we can be very assymmetrical creatures but muscle and neurological imbalances favoring one side can lead to injury, and certainly not optimal performance as you've discovered.

One goal I like to have is to work on symmetry - perhaps you'll never get to 100% equality but your goal is to get as close as possible. This can definitely be trained.

Your right shoulder stiffness and the clicks it has also indicates potential restrictions that should be addressed. This will also help even out the two sides if you're not fighting muscle tightness and restrictions on one side and not the other.

You're also finding that you have different neurological reactions on each side, ie. the right side wants to catch/stroke sooner than the left. These can definitely be retrained.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
I definitely swim faster with right arm only than with left arm only and usually with fewer strokes as well. I think on the rare occasions I manage to do a whole length breathing on the right side it is usually faster than my normal stroke and in fewer strokes, so perhaps I ought to consider switching to right-side breathing.

On the other hand, I think my one-arm butterfly is better on the left side. Swimming is full of mysteries.
Personally I'm not a big fan of swimming with one arm. Swimming is a whole body activity and requires switching from side to side. HOWEVER, we do drill on one side where we perform a switch on one side, then stop and stand up and repeat. This helps isolate and reinforce things we want to imprint one side without the complexity of full stroke.

I would advise not giving up working on symmetry. Focal points that focus on only one side work well, ie. swim focusing only on keeping your right arm extended for as long as possible before catching. Let your other arm do what it always does.
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  #8  
Old 05-20-2013
swimust swimust is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
As humans, we can be very assymmetrical creatures but muscle and neurological imbalances favoring one side can lead to injury, and certainly not optimal performance as you've discovered.

One goal I like to have is to work on symmetry - perhaps you'll never get to 100% equality but your goal is to get as close as possible. This can definitely be trained.

Your right shoulder stiffness and the clicks it has also indicates potential restrictions that should be addressed. This will also help even out the two sides if you're not fighting muscle tightness and restrictions on one side and not the other.

You're also finding that you have different neurological reactions on each side, ie. the right side wants to catch/stroke sooner than the left. These can definitely be retrained.




Personally I'm not a big fan of swimming with one arm. Swimming is a whole body activity and requires switching from side to side. HOWEVER, we do drill on one side where we perform a switch on one side, then stop and stand up and repeat. This helps isolate and reinforce things we want to imprint one side without the complexity of full stroke.

I would advise not giving up working on symmetry. Focal points that focus on only one side work well, ie. swim focusing only on keeping your right arm extended for as long as possible before catching. Let your other arm do what it always does.
Hi,
Can you please express your opinion about this swim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJvHhqNZEGE ?
Its me trying to improve my "Shinji" swim. I will take any opinion even if its very negative and I will thank you for your honest opinion.
Its very important for me to connect with the "real world" out of my bubble. Even a private message will be great.
Many thanks :)
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Last edited by swimust : 05-20-2013 at 03:57 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2013
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Richard, I think your 'condition' is very interesting. In my case I have a whiplash neck injury from cycle racing that means I can only breathe to the right. I put that down to why my right arm action is hugely more effective and more powerful than my left however hard I try to be symmetrical. And, of course, my left arm is nothing like as patient as the right.
You breathe on one side - but can breathe on both - yet the opposite side has the stronger arm. That seems pretty unusual to me. I hope someone comes up with a rationale in answer to this.
(Are you going to the British Masters Champs. this year, I think you might be otherwise engaged but it would be good to see you in action?
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  #10  
Old 05-20-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Parrot

I have always breathed to the left - that is since I began swimming front crawl on a regular basis seven years ago. I don't know why, but I gather people don't always breathe to their dominant side. I find it quite easy to breathe to the right when I'm swimming one arm freestyle, slightly less easy with one-arm butterfly but easier than breathing to the front. In breaststroke, as far as I know I have a more or less perfectly central breathing pattern and in breaststroke I am not aware of any difference in the strength of the arm pull but then the breaststroke is mainly a kick stroke - at least the way I swim it.

I will not be going to Plymouth to swim in the British Champs because of family commitments but I am hoping and planning to swim in the long course meet in Aldershot at the end of June.

In answer to Coach DavidShen, I imagine that I am unlikely to greatly improve the mobility of my right shoulder at my advanced age, but I do do mobility exercises and am more supple than many others of my age but obviously less supple than others. I am fortunate in that I do not suffer pain in any of my joints although I have a knee that gives the odd twinge - probably a relic of my foolish fascination with jumping when I was a boy. I practised the short jump, the low jump and the short triple jump and was a line-out jumper when I played Rugby, although at a low level. Naturally I ignored all warnings about future joint damage.

Perhaps Werner and Charles are right and the difference in my right and left hand pulls is down to the lesser facility of the non-dominant arm, but I am inclined to think that strength is also playing a part. I shall continue to experiment and will report back.
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