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  #1  
Old 05-26-2016
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Tom Pamperin
Default Breathing Question

A question: I usually have a short beard these days, and sometimes get a slight red spot/abrasion from my chin on the front of my shoulder from turning my head to breathe. Is this a sign of good form, bad form, or is it irrelevant?

It seems to happen much more strongly on my right side, though I do most all of my breathing bilaterally every 3rd stroke. So I suppose it's evidence of asymmetry, at least.

Thoughts? Just curious if I can learn something about my breathing technique from this. It would seem to indicate that I'm NOT lifting my head, based on dryland reps to see how my head has to move for my chin to rub my shoulder that way. But it may also be a sign that I'm keeping my head turned longer than I have to, rather than taking a bite of air and putting my head right back down. In fact, I think I just answered my own question!

Does that seem right? My right side has been my "natural" breathing side, though these days I'm equally comfortable, almost. But it may be a holdover habit from when I used to roll farther to breathe, and glide longer, on that side.
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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I remember that Terry Laughlin at one time had a beard and decided to shave it off because his beard was rubbing against him when he breathed. So it sounds like a good sign that you're experiencing the same thing, since it suggests that your swimming stroke bears some resemblance to Terry's!


Bob
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  #3  
Old 05-27-2016
haradoo
 
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I'm not so sure - I used to do this, tuck my chin as I rolled to air, so it brushed my shoulder - I mentioned it to a friend who's a very accomplished (admittedly only OW) swimmer and he suggested consciously avoiding tucking my chin - creates a better bow wave to breath in, less neck muscles, less strain, more natural and means laser never changes - it made things easier for me.
As a caveat I should point out I have a MASSIVE head!
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  #4  
Old 05-27-2016
ti97
 
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Tom, Right or wrong I getthe 'road rash' also......I first noticed it after Terry's weekend workshop
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  #5  
Old 05-27-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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sclim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haradoo View Post
I'm not so sure - I used to do this, tuck my chin as I rolled to air, so it brushed my shoulder - I mentioned it to a friend who's a very accomplished (admittedly only OW) swimmer and he suggested consciously avoiding tucking my chin - creates a better bow wave to breath in, less neck muscles, less strain, more natural and means laser never changes - it made things easier for me.
As a caveat I should point out I have a MASSIVE head!
Can I please just parse this for correctness? You used to get a shoulder rash, but following your friend's tuning, you changed your neck/head alignment to avoid tucking your chin, and things got easier. Do I understand that not only did you feel less neck strain, but your laser alignment got better, and your bow wave became easier to breathe behind from. And no more rash.
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  #6  
Old 05-28-2016
haradoo
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
Can I please just parse this for correctness? You used to get a shoulder rash, but following your friend's tuning, you changed your neck/head alignment to avoid tucking your chin, and things got easier. Do I understand that not only did you feel less neck strain, but your laser alignment got better, and your bow wave became easier to breathe behind from. And no more rash.
Yes spot on.
To tuck your chin you have to engage muscle in the neck, to truly rest your head on the water you don't.
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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well, you're getting some contradictory information here, so I'll throw my experience in. I have a beard but have never experienced this problem. My sense of rotating to breath is that one should try to do as much of it as possible with shoulder rotation and minimize the extra head rotation that is needed in addition. If you're hitting your chin on your shoulder, then you seem to be doing a lot more with the head and a lot less with the shoulders than I do.

There's perhaps a caveat here. If you are racing, you might want to minimize shoulder rotation to up your stroke rate. I'm a creature of comfort and I usually swim at paces that generously allow me time to rotate.
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  #8  
Old 05-28-2016
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Thanks, everyone--

I'll pay some attention to what's happening and see what I learn. I have been focusing on letting my head float supported fully by the water lately anyway, so it'll be interesting to see whether that changes things.

My initial guess is that when I remember to put my face back in the water immediately after my breath, this ought to happen less. It's just a habit on my right side that I don't always do that.
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  #9  
Old 05-28-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
well, you're getting some contradictory information here, so I'll throw my experience in. I have a beard but have never experienced this problem. My sense of rotating to breath is that one should try to do as much of it as possible with shoulder rotation and minimize the extra head rotation that is needed in addition. If you're hitting your chin on your shoulder, then you seem to be doing a lot more with the head and a lot less with the shoulders than I do.

There's perhaps a caveat here. If you are racing, you might want to minimize shoulder rotation to up your stroke rate. I'm a creature of comfort and I usually swim at paces that generously allow me time to rotate.
Maybe there is less contradiction than it seemed initially, at least from "haradoo."

He has confirmed that he used to get a rash (therefore was rotating his neck acutely to his shoulder to breathe -- like you say not to -- rather than rotating his neck less, and rolling his shoulders more) but now doesn't. His words for how he achieves this no-rash situation is that he avoids "tucking his chin in", so that it doesn't brush his shoulder any more. His way of avoiding tucking in his chin also creates less neck tension and creates a better bow wave (presumably a bigger one, or one more optimally placed or timed) to breathe in.

Unfortunately, it is not clear yet what the new "non-tucking" neck posture looks exactly like, although we know that it works better in so many ways.

But it's possible that he has achieved this by using less neck rotation relative to his thorax and shoulder spine (and, presumably, rolling the body more at the shoulders, so the head and face end up in the same position at the waterline), in which case, there is no contradiction compared to what you do.

The other possibility, as far as I can see, is that he is rotating the neck the same amount, but flexing (by which I would include the component of flexing the head on the neck) it less so the head, particularly the chin, is tipped less towards the shoulder on that side. A clue that this is what he meant is that he says his laser lead alignment is better. But maybe it is a combination of restraint in both these movements, less neck flexion, less neck rotation.
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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sclim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haradoo View Post
I'm not so sure - I used to do this, tuck my chin as I rolled to air, so it brushed my shoulder - I mentioned it to a friend who's a very accomplished (admittedly only OW) swimmer and he suggested consciously avoiding tucking my chin - creates a better bow wave to breath in, less neck muscles, less strain, more natural and means laser never changes - it made things easier for me.
As a caveat I should point out I have a MASSIVE head!
Yeah, haradoo, sorry to ask again, but as it turns out when I tried to get into your description of "tucking" or "not tucking" there were at least 2 interpretations that I could see of what you're doing differently.

Are you rotating your neck to your shoulders less (and rotating your shoulders more, or at least timing it better) so your mouth gets to the same level on the waterline in time for breathing?

And/Or are you flexing your head and neck less (or not at all), so that the laser lead line coming out of the top of your skull remains almost parallel with your body axis, maybe even exactly in line with your body axis, extending down within your swim lane to the wall?
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