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  #1  
Old 08-20-2013
zerdna zerdna is offline
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zerdna
Default Correct head position and relaxed neck

I know that this is THE first thing that has to be done right, but i am still not sure that i am doing it right. Problem for me is that there are seem to be two types of advice that i am having trouble combining
1. Neck should be relaxed and weight of the head supported by the water
2. Head should be aligned with the spine as when standing straight touching the wall with the head, back, and heels

Thing is that when i try to relax the neck and let the head go, it moves down, away from alignment with the spine in this straight 'back to door' position. I think there is some trick or point i am still missing. Could someone clue me in on how you guys do it?
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2013
helixfairweather helixfairweather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerdna View Post
I know that this is THE first thing that has to be done right, but i am still not sure that i am doing it right. Problem for me is that there are seem to be two types of advice that i am having trouble combining
1. Neck should be relaxed and weight of the head supported by the water
2. Head should be aligned with the spine as when standing straight touching the wall with the head, back, and heels

Thing is that when i try to relax the neck and let the head go, it moves down, away from alignment with the spine in this straight 'back to door' position. I think there is some trick or point i am still missing. Could someone clue me in on how you guys do it?
I don't find the spine/door thing helpful to me as I have a protruding rear end. If my butt is against the wall, my head will only be against the wall if forced out of alignment with my spine.

Your head should be in a line with your spine such that there could be line drawn vertically (when you are standing) right up your spine and out the top of your head.

FWIW, I a newbie but that's my take on it from using the PMF DVD.

Helix Fairweather
Keizer, OR
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2013
zerdna zerdna is offline
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zerdna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helixfairweather View Post
I don't find the spine/door thing helpful to me as I have a protruding rear end. If my butt is against the wall, my head will only be against the wall if forced out of alignment with my spine.

Your head should be in a line with your spine such that there could be line drawn vertically (when you are standing) right up your spine and out the top of your head.

FWIW, I a newbie but that's my take on it from using the PMF DVD.

Helix Fairweather
Keizer, OR
Yeah, i think your self description applies to me as well. I guess the curve of my spine is not ideal -- all these years staring at the screen do their job. I think my lower back bent a bit forward that results in this "protruding butt" thing and also the neck area of the spine is a bit bend forward. As a result i indeed have to force my head back at the door and tighten my abs to straighten myself out.

My empirical experience is that i seem to glide better if i let my head go out of alignment and just relax it into the water. Question is if its a result of some screwed up posture that i have and that i should strive to correct, or i should just let go of all this straight back and "take head back" thing.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2013
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerdna View Post
Yeah, i think your self description applies to me as well. I guess the curve of my spine is not ideal -- all these years staring at the screen do their job. I think my lower back bent a bit forward that results in this "protruding butt" thing and also the neck area of the spine is a bit bend forward. As a result i indeed have to force my head back at the door and tighten my abs to straighten myself out.

My empirical experience is that i seem to glide better if i let my head go out of alignment and just relax it into the water. Question is if its a result of some screwed up posture that i have and that i should strive to correct, or i should just let go of all this straight back and "take head back" thing.
Hi Zerdna. You may have some posture issues, but I see this frequently in workshops. A swimmer with the sensantion of relaxing into weightlessness, laser beam alignment - tension in the neck pushing head down is at times a result of this visual. If you stand upright on terra firma, normal posture, with a slight tuck of the bellybutton toward the spine - this is the posture you need to be horizontal in the water. When we lay horizontal in an aquatic environment, our sense of balance completely changes - tension happens. Although you may not feel the tension in the neck - if head is pushing down, head-spine out of alignment, neck is engaged to hold it that downward position. A remedy that helps swimmers with this issue (and only swimmers with this issue) is to look forward about 5-10 degress. This will put your head-neck into a neutral position. If you can get someone to video you below surface in Superman drill, you will easily see the problem.

Here's a video from Coach Mandy that illusttrates head postion and its importance to good balance: SwimVICE - Head Position in Freestyle.

Hope this helps shed some light.

Happy Swimming!

Stuart
MindBody&SWIM

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 08-20-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2013
helixfairweather helixfairweather is offline
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Great video cip! Thank you Coach Stuart!

I have kind of a weird question about this. I have a lot of body fat, hence I do not experience any of the sinking problems that people mention. Is it possible that my inability to experience any sinking might cause me to miss out on important information about my balance or head position or something else?

Helix Fairweather
Keizer, OR
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2013
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helixfairweather View Post
Great video cip! Thank you Coach Stuart!

I have kind of a weird question about this. I have a lot of body fat, hence I do not experience any of the sinking problems that people mention. Is it possible that my inability to experience any sinking might cause me to miss out on important information about my balance or head position or something else?

Helix Fairweather
Keizer, OR
Hi Helix. Haa! Aboslutely not - and consider yourself lucky! Sinkers, heavy hips, generally guys, I have noticed it's more about hip/leg bone density/size than body leaness. Achieving balance is more difficult, any errors in position - down periscope. The sinkers will often resort to high turnover and kicking to make up for imbalance, I've had some very lean swimmers with thin legs, narrow hips, bob effortlesly on the surface (I always get a bit jealous); some not as lean sink like rocks - and everything in between. Long distance runners (and cylists too), men and women, leg/hip bones have adapted to the pounding over the years typically have the heavy trunks and sink. In any case, you are what I refer to as "blessed with natural balance". You can be very happy about that :-)

Happy Swimming!

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 08-20-2013 at 08:55 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2013
helixfairweather helixfairweather is offline
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Thank you, Coach Stuart! So having natural balance is a plus. :) It will be nice when I can start actually swimming distances so the weight loss program can kick in.

Helix Fairweather
Keizer, OR
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  #8  
Old 08-21-2013
wie wie is offline
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wie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helixfairweather View Post
If my butt is against the wall, my head will only be against the wall if forced out of alignment with my spine.
Same here.
Probably a lifestyle disease.

I am always wondering what is more important, relax the head and let it sink or have it aligned with your spine. Both is not possible for me.
I experiment with that. For stream-lining it is better to move the head up a bit, like Stuart suggested. But then it is not fully relaxed.
When I'm not interested in speed I just let it hang.
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Originally Posted by wie View Post
Same here.
Probably a lifestyle disease.

I am always wondering what is more important, relax the head and let it sink or have it aligned with your spine. Both is not possible for me.
I experiment with that. For stream-lining it is better to move the head up a bit, like Stuart suggested. But then it is not fully relaxed.
When I'm not interested in speed I just let it hang.
I think everybodys head will drop if fully relaxed, you still need to maintain some sort of muscular support, just avoid tension.
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  #10  
Old 08-21-2013
ananthaditya ananthaditya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerdna
Could someone clue me in on how you guys do it?
I used to strian my neck by holding my head slightly higher than was comfortable, with eyes looking slightly forward and not completely down. I just closed my eyes for a couple of strokes and felt my neutral head position. It's still not ingrained, so I'm doing this every other swim.
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योऽपामायतनं वेद आयतनवान् भवति।
yo'pām āyatanam veda āyatanavān bhavati.
'He who knows the seat of water,
Becomes established in himself.'

Ananth Aditya
Freelance writer, editor,
and aspiring novelist.
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