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  #1  
Old 02-14-2018
fatbob
 
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Default Having to lift head to breathe

Hi all,
I have been working through the Perpetual Motion Freestyle videos and posted a few questions along the way, in existing threads. I have moved on to a new lesson (and new problem!) now so started a new thread for clarity.

I have got as far as lesson 5 "rhythmic movement and breathing" where you start to transition from spear-switch to full stroke and introduce uninterrupted breathing.

My spear switch is feeling a lot better, at least some of the time, and the transition to full stroke is a work in progress, but I always have, and still do, struggle with the breathing. There are a lot of issues with timing and maintaining rhythm, but the fundamental problem is I always seem to have to lift my head in order to clear the water. I have to rotate almost right over to face straight up and/or lift my head in order not to inhale water. It is probably not helped by my very slow speed which means there isn't really a bow wave or pocket of air behind it. If anything I tend to lift my head while swimming, out of habit and to look where I am going and where my hands are spearing, so if I make a point of relaxing my head it is even worse!

One of the exercises was to swim in skate and rotate the head part way to look sideways, before rotating further to air. In the sideways position my head is almost completely under water so if I manage to continue the rotation around the spine my face remains under water.

Also, I feel continuously out of breath even doing slow drills because of the forced breathing pattern. It feels like I am holding my breath all the time, even though I am exhaling (more or less) continuously while my face is in the water.

It seems to work for everyone else so what am I doing wrong?

Thanks for any suggestions :-)

PS. Probably unrelated but something else I have noticed which is odd...the pool I swim in has a slight current because the water comes in at one end and goes out at the other, like most pools I guess. Before I started TI I found it noticeably easier to swim in the direction of the current. Now I find it noticeable easier to swim in the opposite direction, AGAINST the current, and the pool has not changed! Does that make any sense? The only explanation I can think of is that the flow of water in the opposite direction is giving me some lift and helping keep me horizontal so I glide better, at least that's how it feels.
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2018
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Bob,

Breathing is one of the toughest hurdles in freestyle, but once past it - you think why was I making it so difficult, breathing is so easy. Our human and terrestrial movements take over unconsciously - lifting head looking for air to breathe, winging recovery arm past the spine over-rotating for air, pulling/pushing down low side arm to lift head/chest to air - there are many creative combinations as well. Each break posture (bending spine) and create imbalance, hips sink, arms/legs get busy attempting to stabilize your vessel; all these added movements make is far more difficult to find air thus snowballing the breathing problem.

Rolling to air in skate is a good drill, but nearly impossible to find air with those that have any imbalance and there is little forward momentum. But if you only see water this is probably due you have already emptied too much air and sinking a few inches. It's kinda' catch 22, you've stabilized into a good skating edge, but the time it took you lost buoyancy emptying lungs too quickly. Use fins in this drill so 1. you find edge sooner and not empty too much air, 2. have enough forward momentum to breathe without lifting head or over rotating.

There are a lot of terrestrial movements to remove and requires a progression of timing while maintaining posture and balance. The Effortless Endurance 1.0 has that progression and is one we use in workshops and is very successful. The main thing is you must be very balanced and stroke beginning to stabilize before breathing, learning to integrate a seamless breath without interrupting stroke cycle, posture and balance. Using snorkel to imprint stroke movements and balance first is always helpful.

Be patient with the breathing process and progression, you will cross that hurdle soon

Stu
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2018
sclim sclim is offline
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Stu: I tend to swim rather deep compared to others when I have achieved full horizontality. So the tip of the snorkel is very close to submerging, and in fact it often does, causing a disruption in my focus on smooth centred balance in whole stroke.

As a result I think I hold my face a little higher than ideal when snorkelling, which seems to me to undermine the principle of horizontality and spinal relaxation that I am trying to mold into.

Talking of molding, I have heated the snorkel in boiling water and tried to re-shape the bend angles to get a higher "periscope-depth" but it still is problematic.

I basically have not persisted in snorkel drills because of this problem. I think I will get better practice mileage just doing standard breathing drills, aiming for "just-right" timing and breathing angle, given that with my lower swimming depth I also have to angulate further for air if I don't want to risk bobbing my head end of body up and down.

Any suggestions?
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2018
fatbob
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hi Bob,

Breathing is one of the toughest hurdles in freestyle, but once past it - you think why was I making it so difficult, breathing is so easy. Our human and terrestrial movements take over unconsciously - lifting head looking for air to breathe, winging recovery arm past the spine over-rotating for air, pulling/pushing down low side arm to lift head/chest to air - there are many creative combinations as well. Each break posture (bending spine) and create imbalance, hips sink, arms/legs get busy attempting to stabilize your vessel; all these added movements make is far more difficult to find air thus snowballing the breathing problem.

Rolling to air in skate is a good drill, but nearly impossible to find air with those that have any imbalance and there is little forward momentum. But if you only see water this is probably due you have already emptied too much air and sinking a few inches. It's kinda' catch 22, you've stabilized into a good skating edge, but the time it took you lost buoyancy emptying lungs too quickly. Use fins in this drill so 1. you find edge sooner and not empty too much air, 2. have enough forward momentum to breathe without lifting head or over rotating.

There are a lot of terrestrial movements to remove and requires a progression of timing while maintaining posture and balance. The Effortless Endurance 1.0 has that progression and is one we use in workshops and is very successful. The main thing is you must be very balanced and stroke beginning to stabilize before breathing, learning to integrate a seamless breath without interrupting stroke cycle, posture and balance. Using snorkel to imprint stroke movements and balance first is always helpful.

Be patient with the breathing process and progression, you will cross that hurdle soon

Stu
Hmmm...I live in the UK where health and safety regulations have become so restrictive they are stupid; you can't do this, you can't do that. As a result I cannot use fins or a snorkel in the pool. The only thing you may be able to use is hand paddles, and even then only at the discretion of the pool manager when its not too busy. Its quite a small pool (6x25 yards?) and apparently they have had incidents in the past with people getting hit by a paddle.

I think I have sinky legs so I have to keep my head down and not hold too much air in the lungs in order to try and stay horizontal. Also I have read that not exhaling leads to a CO2 buildup in the lungs and contributes to the feeling of being out of breath.

When I tried to integrate the hip drive, patient lead hand and breathing into full stroke it was easier to breathe than in the drills, but still a struggle to find air and I get so out of breath in a short time. I am not consciously aware of lifting my head to breathe but I'm sure I am because after that there is a definite "crash" back down into the water where I submerge even further then float back up a little.

So, no magic solutions? :-(
I might try Effortless Endurance 1.0 instead and see if that helps.
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2018
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
Any suggestions?
When I'm drilling or swimming slowly/easily, I find I can often go 5-7 strokes, up to half a length (25m pool) without breathing. That gives you a little bit of time to dial in the sensations of balance and form without needing a snorkel, or needing to complicate things by adding breathing.
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2018
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Bob,

Ahh - didn't know that about the UK. Paddles just no, fins an snorkle you can easily improvise without. I only use spear-switch and skate to breathe for refinement of swimmers already with good balance. Often what I have my squad rehearse is 1-2-breathe-skate so you have some momentum and the breathing is more intergrated into freestyle and not from a skate only position. Take a few clean strokes (no breathing), count is forward on spearing recovery arm ... stroke-1, stroke-2, on stroke-3 follow your shoulder to air "breathe" and finish in skate (goggles down) on the edge opposite breathing shoulder. If don't get air, don't chase it, just return your head to neutral (goggles down). The point of this rehearsal is to allow air to find you without lifting head or bending spine, or pulling with low side arm to breathe

Re: Sinky legs. Join the club - that's the profile of most of us guys. Hanging the head, head-neck-spine-hips in line (posture line), spearing recovery arm below the lungs (not lay flat of surface) will make the hips/legs light and rise toward surface and maintain balance to make breathing easy.

Get EE 1.0, very succinct series and progression - and/or O2 in H2O has a very similar breathing progression. But breathing will be a wash or only "rehydration" if your vessel is out of balance (hips/legs low).

Again patience, balance and breathing will happen.

Hey Sclim: Re: Snorkel. The cool thing about the snorkel, other than being able to breathe more freely, is it checks head position too. It's not easy to swim with a snorkel since roughly 2-4" of snorkel ride above the surface when in good posture. If you are sucking water, it's usually due to tension in neck pushing head down and it's down periscope. So use this as a cue and not modify the snorkel to mask a posture problem. In order to feel the head truely hanging between shoulders, in torpedo drill, press face down from neck - hold for a brief moment, then release all tension in neck allow head to bob up to surface and float on its own. This is a neutral position where head is supposed to be. You can also do this in freestyle as well since it serves as a good reset in posture, i.e. swim a few strokes pressing head down, then release tension in the neck and finish the length. Feel tension in neck AND shoulders disappear when releasing neck tension

Stu

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 02-15-2018 at 05:20 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2018
Mushroomfloat
 
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Man i told you.....

PRESS FOR THE BREATH

keep foward momentum when breathing

you are probably breathing too late in the stroke cycle

when your fingertips pierce the water that is the que to start rolling to air

DO NOT "pull yourself to air"

stab the water with the spearing arm and turn away from it

as the arm travels towards full extention your head should be rolling towards the opposite sied to air

at full extension you are now pirate breathing one goggle in one goggle out with your mouth pursed to the side
keep the head low and press the ear into the water

As the recovery arm reaches shoulder height you should be snapping the head back down to neutral to watch the opposite arm snap down into the catch anchor.

its counter intuitive but dont pull up to breathe or pull yourself to air breathe within the natural body rotation generated by the arm turnover

a late breath will caise all kinds of leg splaying with will create drag and stall you out which will sink you

foward forward forward PRESS FOE THE BREATH
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2018
Mushroomfloat
 
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press your breast bone into the water as yor start to roll to air you can generate a bobbing motion which will give you more clearance for the mouth

if you lift your head you will destroy the bow wave and them hae to lunge further up over it to breathe

keep low even go deeper but PRESS FOR THE BREATH not lift
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2018
Mushroomfloat
 
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It takes a while to get it, i spent months pulling to air and bending throught the spine like a banana.

Not enough correct info online about it or arm recovery for that matter
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2018
Mushroomfloat
 
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sometimes i think people struggled to get where they are and so dont want to reveal the secrets to beginners because they think they should go theough the same forge.
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