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  #1  
Old 09-25-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default BACK Shape & TI

Ideally we all want to be streamlined and swim effortlessly, in a straight line.

How does back/spine's shape affect the swimmer's TI stroke?
I assume rotation and swimming straight would be affected.

What is the impact of the following back conditions?

a. Scoliosis
b. Lordosis
c. Cifosis

Thanks. ALEX

Last edited by Alex-SG : 09-25-2010 at 09:12 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Any thoughts on this? Thanks. ALEX
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2010
ewa.swimmer ewa.swimmer is offline
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I have scoliosis and it doesn't seem to affect my stroke. I'm a bilateral breather and one side doesn't seem to be different than the other.
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2010
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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I have always thought that any spinal curve would increase drag, esecially lordosis. I do notice that a lot of the elite do have significant spinal curves when they swim, however. So I don't know how important this is. I believe that flattening the lower spine will decrease the wake waves produced significantly. THis is just my hypothesis.

I would imagine kyphosis would limit the ability to reach in front. I also believe that swimming would be great if the kyphosis is caused by tight or weak upper torso muscles. THe repetitive reaching seems like it would be great for strengthening the correct muscles. This is also just my hypothesis.
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Thanks for your replies.

I started this thread because I have seen swimmers zig-zag in the water (actually their hips and legs seem to move sideways at every stroke, IE... right hand spear -> hips/legs shifting to the left like a Tail)

I have been wondering what causes that.
Could it be...
a. an attempt to lean on the "spearing track" with the head
b. a curved spine which does not allow a clean core rotation (shoulders-hips-legs) but 2 rotations around 2 axis (upper back and lower back)

Should a TI Swimmer with a curved lower back absolutely try to flatten it then to ensure a normal core rotation?

ALEX
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Old 09-28-2010
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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I would say that the standard statement would be "keep it neutral". Just make yourself 1cm taller than normal.

I think that most of the fishtailing in backstroke comes from not holding on to your core muscles enough. People often try to press on the upper back without engaging the core to let the hips stay in line. I love the "Finish UP" drill from the back DVD to work on the core.

I also believe that extra effort in stretching the front of the hips so you can tuck in your tailbone to flatten the spine would reduce the drag that comes off the butt. I know I drop about 1 stroke per length in back and one in breast when I do this. But I don't see many elite with really flat spines, so the effort required for this seems to be in a fine balance with the energy savings from the drag reduction.
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Old 09-30-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Thanks CoachEric,
In fact I was referring to FREESTYLE, do your comments also apply to it?

If there was an advanced TI DVD, it would be good to introduce these kinds of tips to raise hips and legs as well as exercises to strengthen the core.

For the last few years I have been thinking "BALANCE=head down" but there seems to be more to it, especially if you have long legs and a curved back...
a. spine alignment
b. use your core to keep hips up.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I don't think spinal alignment has much impact on whether you go straight or not, as your shoulders & arms will still have full mobility to reach in a straight line down the pool.

Swimming side to side in a snakelike pattern or fishtailing would have little to do with the curve of the spine such as kyphosis or lordosis.

And a scoliosis that is severe enough to cause a curve so severe that the arms could not reach straight in front would likely be disabling.

Alex, do you have one of these conditions?

Usually people that snake down the pool are simply reaching across and not keepign their arms on "wide tracks" as they rotate. Having stiff shoulders or poor mobility in the shoulders would have much more impact than the spinal curves, OR in an attempt to really reach out and lengthen their body, they actually end up not just crossing over, but creating an arc with the ENTIRE body (not just the spine) so that the body follows the "C-shaped" track created with the over reaching/over arcing the body. (not overarching...that's a different problem)
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Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 09-30-2010 at 06:32 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
I also believe that swimming would be great if the kyphosis is caused by tight or weak upper torso muscles. THe repetitive reaching seems like it would be great for strengthening the correct muscles. This is also just my hypothesis.
ACtually for people (mostly men) with a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis where the vertabrae in the spine fuse together, extension exercises are recommended so that if/when the spine fuses, you are fused in an upright posture, rather than stooped forward.
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Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #10  
Old 10-03-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
I don't think spinal alignment has much impact on whether you go straight or not, as your shoulders & arms will still have full mobility to reach in a straight line down the pool.
I just video'd myself to understand the zig-zag problem. Although the spearing arm (right one) seems to go straight, the head leans towards it making the body turn right. Looks like a weight shift towards 1 O'clock... like a motoGP pilot leaning towards the inside of a turn.
I hope the concept "leaning on the armpit/pressing the buoy" is not misleading and making me do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
And a scoliosis that is severe enough to cause a curve so severe that the arms could not reach straight in front would likely be disabling.

Alex, do you have one of these conditions?
Yes my spine is not straight, I have all 3 however the condition is mild, probably normal for many tall people who grew fast in their teenage years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Usually people that snake down the pool are simply reaching across and not keeping their arms on "wide tracks" as they rotate. Having stiff shoulders or poor mobility in the shoulders would have much more impact than the spinal curves, OR in an attempt to really reach out and lengthen their body, they actually end up not just crossing over, but creating an arc with the ENTIRE body (not just the spine) so that the body follows the "C-shaped" track created with the over reaching/over arcing the body. (not overarching...that's a different problem)
In my case the head clearly shifts towards each track (contributing to an undesirable lateral weight shift) and in addition the fishtailing also happens at the back. Are the 2 related?
One of these days I will post the video because it can be the subject of a "TI Doctorate thesis on zig-zag freestyle causes"
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