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  #1  
Old 06-10-2013
petervenn petervenn is offline
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Default Core control

How much of a successful TI stroke would people say is down to good core control? I've noticed that by pushing off and stretching with a torpedo / doing the Superman glide, it encourages me to tuck in the lower abs and kick differently. It's quite a hard feeling to keep hold of, but I do think that trying to hold a gentle tension in my stomach seems to keep me more stable and encourages a better kick. Terry talks quite a lot about being 'needle like' the edition of his book, that's why I mention it. I'd be interested to know what emphasis people place on core stability in conjunction with balance (and whether one feeds into the other)?
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Old 06-11-2013
swimust swimust is offline
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In my humble opinion, "core control" can be very misleading. People will think that its "core muscles control" and its not. Its "core balance control" relying on weight shift.
Our natural tendency is to use muscles and that's wrong. We should use gravity, not muscles. That's the source of all the wrong doings in TI swimming. Just my donkey idea, not a coach.
The art is to use muscles just enough for a weight shift balance. That's easy to type in a forum post, but harder to do in the pool.
Use any tool that you have for a balanced weight shift.
I.E. - a good catch is just as important as core control and avoids unnecessary use of core muscles.
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Last edited by swimust : 06-11-2013 at 04:39 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
How much of a successful TI stroke would people say is down to good core control? I've noticed that by pushing off and stretching with a torpedo / doing the Superman glide, it encourages me to tuck in the lower abs and kick differently. It's quite a hard feeling to keep hold of, but I do think that trying to hold a gentle tension in my stomach seems to keep me more stable and encourages a better kick. Terry talks quite a lot about being 'needle like' the edition of his book, that's why I mention it. I'd be interested to know what emphasis people place on core stability in conjunction with balance (and whether one feeds into the other)?
IMHO core control is VERY important to successful TI stroke. you need to have the correct control of your torso muscles in order to transfer energy from your 2BK through the hips, across the torso, through the opposite shoulder. If you do not have correct muscle control, you could have a lot of energy "leakage" and not optimize energy transfer to forward motion, as your torso muscles may not be fully activated and transfer energy poorly.

Just to be clear, when i say "core" i don't mean more sit-ups or crunches. I mean the correct, instantaneous, natural use of your primary movers and spinal stabilizers in your torso to contract on demand to enable the maximum energy transfer during that rotational moment in the 2BK.

If you want to play with something, try this upper and lower body rolling patterns exercise:

http://youtu.be/1scfzwCF1bk

and then once you get that down, you should move to the "hard" roll:

http://youtu.be/bGgBdxs4m90

the hard roll mimics the action of the body during 2BK, and helps imprint the correct muscle patterning to enable an effective 2BK.
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Old 06-11-2013
swimust swimust is offline
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Interesting. I understood from petervenn that he talks about passive core control and should he engage muscles to HOLD his body (quote:"core stability in conjunction with balance"), while CoachDavidShen was talking about dynamic core activation (not control) during the body rotation. That's how misunderstandings occur, or I may have understood it wrong myself.
Anyways, what CoachDavidShen says sounds very good even if it may not be what the first poster asked about.
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Last edited by swimust : 06-11-2013 at 05:12 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2013
petervenn petervenn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
IMHO core control is VERY important to successful TI stroke. you need to have the correct control of your torso muscles in order to transfer energy from your 2BK through the hips, across the torso, through the opposite shoulder. If you do not have correct muscle control, you could have a lot of energy "leakage" and not optimize energy transfer to forward motion, as your torso muscles may not be fully activated and transfer energy poorly.

Just to be clear, when i say "core" i don't mean more sit-ups or crunches. I mean the correct, instantaneous, natural use of your primary movers and spinal stabilizers in your torso to contract on demand to enable the maximum energy transfer during that rotational moment in the 2BK.

If you want to play with something, try this upper and lower body rolling patterns exercise:

http://youtu.be/1scfzwCF1bk

and then once you get that down, you should move to the "hard" roll:

http://youtu.be/bGgBdxs4m90

the hard roll mimics the action of the body during 2BK, and helps imprint the correct muscle patterning to enable an effective 2BK.
Interesting, ta. I'm aiming for the kind of like the feeling you get when you make a concerted effort to stand completely erect, which seems to be beneficial to my sense of stability and also helps keep my legs up and out of the way. My coach pointed out that being relatively skinny by sense of balance is likley to be pretty delicate, so I'm experimenting to see what I can do to help. Also to promote a kick from the hip (which I find a nightmare) which is what you seem to be saying. I'm sure it's all a case of keeping everything 'connected' without exerting undue stress...

Last edited by petervenn : 06-11-2013 at 02:43 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
Interesting, ta. I'm aiming for the kind of like the feeling you get when you make a concerted effort to stand completely erect, which seems to be beneficial to my sense of stability and also helps keep my legs up and out of the way.
it is actually a good practice to stand at attention. this trains your posture, as well as all the stabilizer muscles of the entire body to hold yourself for extended periods of time in a positive orientation. how i direct this practice is like this:

1. stand against a wall. it is the easiest way to know if you're in good alignment, which is to have your heels, buttocks, shoulder blades, and back of head against the wall. when the back of your head is against the wall, the head should not be tipped back with your eyes looking upward; the chin should be down and you should be looking forward, and pull your head back to the wall. behind your lower back at your lumbar spine, there should be air; your back should not be flat against the wall. instead, there should be a slight curve to your lower back, meaning it is not touching the wall.

stand like this for 5-10 minutes with no movement, hands at sides. breathe through your belly - do you know what belly breathing is?

2. after you master 1., then start by standing against the wall. once you are aligned, take a half step away from the wall and stand for 5-10 minutes. if you feel like you are slouching or your posture is compromised, step back to the wall and realign. once you realign, step away from the wall and continue.

3. once you master 2, then just stand at attention with proper alignment - hopefully 1 and 2 have imprinted some sense of what proper alignment is. stand for 5-10 minutes and breathe through your belly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
My coach pointed out that being relatively skinny by sense of balance is likley to be pretty delicate, so I'm experimenting to see what I can do to help.
i would rephrase that to say that skinny people are often challenged to find balance in the water due to their body composition. their upper bodies tend to be of less body mass relative to their lower bodies and thus their legs may tend to drag their hips down more than for people who have more mass in their upper bodies. less mass in general means less buoyancy and thus many skinny people easily sink in the water when attempting things like superman glide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
Also to promote a kick from the hip (which I find a nightmare) which is what you seem to be saying. I'm sure it's all a case of keeping everything 'connected' without exerting undue stress...
i'm not sure what you mean by promoting a kick from the hip - in today's TI, we teach our 2BK to execute more from the lower leg as a snap at the knee, not a big kick executed from the upper leg using your hip flexors.
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2013
petervenn petervenn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
it is actually a good practice to stand at attention. this trains your posture, as well as all the stabilizer muscles of the entire body to hold yourself for extended periods of time in a positive orientation. how i direct this practice is like this:

1. stand against a wall. it is the easiest way to know if you're in good alignment, which is to have your heels, buttocks, shoulder blades, and back of head against the wall. when the back of your head is against the wall, the head should not be tipped back with your eyes looking upward; the chin should be down and you should be looking forward, and pull your head back to the wall. behind your lower back at your lumbar spine, there should be air; your back should not be flat against the wall. instead, there should be a slight curve to your lower back, meaning it is not touching the wall.

stand like this for 5-10 minutes with no movement, hands at sides. breathe through your belly - do you know what belly breathing is?

2. after you master 1., then start by standing against the wall. once you are aligned, take a half step away from the wall and stand for 5-10 minutes. if you feel like you are slouching or your posture is compromised, step back to the wall and realign. once you realign, step away from the wall and continue.

3. once you master 2, then just stand at attention with proper alignment - hopefully 1 and 2 have imprinted some sense of what proper alignment is. stand for 5-10 minutes and breathe through your belly.



i would rephrase that to say that skinny people are often challenged to find balance in the water due to their body composition. their upper bodies tend to be of less body mass relative to their lower bodies and thus their legs may tend to drag their hips down more than for people who have more mass in their upper bodies. less mass in general means less buoyancy and thus many skinny people easily sink in the water when attempting things like superman glide.



i'm not sure what you mean by promoting a kick from the hip - in today's TI, we teach our 2BK to execute more from the lower leg as a snap at the knee, not a big kick executed from the upper leg using your hip flexors.

Thanks, I will try this. 'Kick from the hip' is the phrase my coach has used and I've picked up from some TI literature (Terry's book I think) to promote the flutter kick when drilling, although I have trouble really grasping this. My natural tendency is use my legs for support, as when I taught myself to swim I had quite a pronounced 'rear end drop' and used to kick like crazy to stop my legs from sinking. Now I'm far more balanced but still tend to kick too hard from the knee. My question about core control is not unrelated, as I'm putting a lot of time into trying to kick gently and using my legs in the right way (Superman flutter, skating, recovery drill etc) and overcome what my coach calls 'leg-brain issues'! I thought perhaps it may have some relation to how I'm using my core body muscles to support myself in the water. The more stable you feel there the less inclined you'd be to force the legs into action, or somthing along those lines...

Occasionally when drilling I can feel how the two beat kick would come quite naturally, but I get the feeling you shouldn't try to force it but let it come out of a good drill-kick pattern - hence why I'm so determined to sort out the flutter.

I assume belly breathing is similar to abdominal breathing - or 'breathing from the bottom of your lungs' as a friend described it?

cheers
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Old 06-11-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
Thanks, I will try this. 'Kick from the hip' is the phrase my coach has used and I've picked up from some TI literature (Terry's book I think) to promote the flutter kick when drilling, although I have trouble really grasping this. My natural tendency is use my legs for support, as when I taught myself to swim I had quite a pronounced 'rear end drop' and used to kick like crazy to stop my legs from sinking. Now I'm far more balanced but still tend to kick too hard from the knee. My question about core control is not unrelated, as I'm putting a lot of time into trying to kick gently and using my legs in the right way (Superman flutter, skating, recovery drill etc) and overcome what my coach calls 'leg-brain issues'! I thought perhaps it may have some relation to how I'm using my core body muscles to support myself in the water. The more stable you feel there the less inclined you'd be to force the legs into action, or somthing along those lines...

Occasionally when drilling I can feel how the two beat kick would come quite naturally, but I get the feeling you shouldn't try to force it but let it come out of a good drill-kick pattern - hence why I'm so determined to sort out the flutter.
These days, especially for adult onset swimmers, we try to calm the legs down and don't flutter kick much any more because generally it just frustrates people and wipes them out physically. being tired and wiped out is not the best situation to imprint new and good swim habits. Besides, it interferes with the development of your control of balance independent of thrashing legs so it's probably better to find your balance with calm legs versus legs that are always reaching around in order for you to feel balanced and comfortable, as you've discovered.

once we solve your balance issue without the use of your legs, then we introduce them back but only kicking once per stroke, per the 2BK. Then at this point, if you want, we start looking at other kicking patterns like 6BK but generally we find that 2BK works pretty good for most peoples' swimming goals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
I assume belly breathing is similar to abdominal breathing - or 'breathing from the bottom of your lungs' as a friend described it?

cheers
yes you want to expand your lungs through the bottom of the ribcage, which means breathing through your stomach/abdomen. This allows more air in and happily reduces tension in the upper body/shoulders from trying to breathe *through* your ribcage which doesn't expand all that much.
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Old 06-11-2013
petervenn petervenn is offline
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That's really interesting. Forgive me for harping on but if a kick isn't really introduced how do you initially teach the balance drills - something like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz-46LZ6atQ

Would you then move onto the recovery drills but with a very gentle kick? I do 25m after initially practising in smaller pools so some propulsion is necessary. My coach has a very subtle leg movement kick when he demonstrates (unlike in his training video where it's very wide - perhaps that's what is meant by flutter kick?). More of a 'leg shuffle' that a kick as I'd usually understand it! That's what I've been trying to get hold of recently. However he did also suggest trying to work in the 2BK more so I'll definitely try to do so.

Very useful to hear a variety of perspectives, so thanks.

Last edited by petervenn : 06-11-2013 at 10:51 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petervenn View Post
That's really interesting. Forgive me for harping on but if a kick isn't really introduced how do you initially teach the balance drills - something like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz-46LZ6atQ

Would you then move onto the recovery drills but with a very gentle kick? I do 25m after initially practising in smaller pools so some propulsion is necessary. My coach has a very subtle leg movement kick when he demonstrates (unlike in his training video where it's very wide - perhaps that's what is meant by flutter kick?). More of a 'leg shuffle' that a kick as I'd usually understand it! That's what I've been trying to get hold of recently. However he did also suggest trying to work in the 2BK more so I'll definitely try to do so.

Very useful to hear a variety of perspectives, so thanks.
Coach Shinji has broken down the swim strokes into the smallest, teachable components. We have teaching drills that involve stroking only once, and then standing up to repeat. Many of our kicking drills really focus on bringing you up the curve in learning 2BK, not trying to flutter kick your way across the pool. Certainly if you swim now, it will be easier if you are kicking gently versus not kicking at all - of course give that a try if you have time. It does challenge your swim skills in other ways to generate propulsion and maintain balance without a kick.

If you want to swim right now and have not mastered the 2BK, then i would say kick more compactly and gently. Try to always kick within the wake or shadow the body makes as it moves forward in the water. This will minimize drag generated by feet moving - if they move outside your wake, they will generate more drag. The trick to keeping your kick more compact and quiet is better balance -> more comfort in the water. Also, learning how to rotate around your centerline and not bending your body around will improve balance and your control in the water, leading to not feeling like you have to splay your legs out to gain balance.
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