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  #1  
Old 11-25-2008
madvet madvet is offline
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Default Hand entry and shoulder strain

A few weeks ago, I had been concentrating on backstroke and butterfly, and started getting some pain in my shoulder. I posted about this earlier, and my solution seemed to be to avoid holding my shoulders forward. A better term would be anteriorly (anterior is the surface of your body that touches the floor when you are lying face down -- posterior is the other side). I focused on relaxing as I pulled to allow the shoulders to "open up" more.

This helped, but I was still feeling some discomfort in the shoulder so I looked further. A common culprit in shoulder strain is medial rotation of the shoulder at extension and this was caused by trying to enter the water pinky-first. (Medial rotation, as Counsilman and others have used it, is the primary power movement. If you start with your arm already medially rotated you have no power, and it pinches your rotator cuff).

One argument for entering pinky-first vs. a flat-handed entry is that it is more streamlined and smoother. A flat-handed entry is really no less streamlined than the pinky-first, and yes, you might get a little splash as your hand hits the water, but it really is more of a splish than a splash.

The other argument is that pinky-first positions your hand better for the pull. I found that while my hand might enter flat, as my body continued to rotate, it was facing towards the side. Additionally, since my arm had not medially rotated yet, I actually had more power available. I could also bring my shoulder back more freely, since it wasn't in a pinched position.

I found that the most useful way to accomplish this is to focus on the rotation of the hand in relation to my body, not the surface of the water, or the features of the pool. That is, that as I bring my hand over my head, I keep my palm facing anteriorly (again, facing parallel to the front of my body). If I do this, my hand tends to enter with the back of my hand on the surface of the water, but the rotation of my body tends to rotate my hand in as well, so often I don't actually get any splash even though my hand is flat. But, I find it works better to focus on my hand aligning with my shoulder rather than focusing on my hand aligning with the water surface.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2008
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Huh? I've been lifting my arm with my hand flat and dangling from my wrist. I enter wide; the arm drops in as I rotate. I let the rotation of my body determine the angle of the hand at entry. In other words, I don't force my hand to do anything. Is that similar?

Maybe we could call it "dead-arming it."
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2008
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuumai View Post
Huh? I've been lifting my arm with my hand flat and dangling from my wrist. I enter wide; the arm drops in as I rotate. I let the rotation of my body determine the angle of the hand at entry. In other words, I don't force my hand to do anything. Is that similar?

Maybe we could call it "dead-arming it."
That's certainly what I do! Your recovery should end in your hand-lead sweet spot.
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2008
madvet madvet is offline
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Yes! You said in 10 words what it took me 100 or more. Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2008
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
Yes! You said in 10 words what it took me 100 or more. Thanks.
Well, I have a small, simple mind so things come out with fewer words, I guess. heh
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