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  #1  
Old 08-01-2009
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default WILD LEGS: Drills or Training aids ?

My 2BK is awful (just saw it on video). Two problems:
a. Legs spread too wide (knee angle = 90deg) - drag+instability
b. ankles are also too stiff and 90deg - drag

QUESTIONS:
1. Is there any training aid or drill which can help develop a proper kick (where legs stay within the CORE BODY shadow)?

2. Would it help if I tie my legs with a rope and swim?

Thanks. ALEX
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2009
eddiewouldgo eddiewouldgo is offline
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Two big secrets:

1. To increase ankle flexibility, stretch more.

2. To develop a more effective kick, kick more.

If you want to narrow your kick, use a band. But its all worthless until your ankle is flexible and floppy. Without a floppy ankle, you might as well point your toes as best you can and drag them along behind.

Last edited by eddiewouldgo : 08-01-2009 at 10:17 PM. Reason: inadvertent omit
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2009
terry terry is offline
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Actually, kicking more is likely to just deepen the imprint of the inefficient kick you already have. You need to do something to replace the neural program that causes you to spread your legs with one that will "instruct" your legs to remain streamlined -- i.e. to "draft behind" your torso.

I suggest you check out my response on the thread, answering Ed Levin's very similar question about his outsweeping right arm.

The likely cause for your leg splay is very likely similar. You have some kind of lateral instability in your stroke. Your legs splay to act as outriggers to try to correct that instability. Tying your legs together will cause you to feel awkward and probably to "strongarm" the water with your pull, but I can't see how it will help you identify and fix the cause of your lateral instability. However Lessons 1 through 5 on the Easy Freestyle DVD all include elements that improve lateral stability.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2009
terry terry is offline
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Actually, kicking more is likely to just deepen the imprint of the inefficient kick you already have. You need to do something to replace the neural program that causes you to spread your legs with one that will "instruct" your legs to remain streamlined -- i.e. to "draft behind" your torso.

I suggest you check out my response on the thread, answering Ed Levin's very similar question about his outsweeping right arm.

The likely cause for your leg splay is very likely similar. You have some kind of lateral instability in your stroke. Your legs splay to act as outriggers to try to correct that instability. Tying your legs together will cause you to feel awkward and probably to "strongarm" the water with your pull, but I can't see how it will help you identify and fix the cause of your lateral instability. However Lessons 1 through 5 on the Easy Freestyle DVD all include elements that improve lateral stability.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2009
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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TERRY, EDDIE: Thank you very much for your help.

TERRY: Now that I think about it, you are 100% correct.
I do have lateral instability due to over rotation. The "wild kick" probably comes from the legs wanting to help stabilize the stroke.

And this is happening in spite of the fact that:
a. I start each workout with vertical kicking (150)
b. I do plenty of skating drills for balance + learning how to kick from the hip (and get the legs to draft behind the torso)

EDDIE: I would love to have flexible ankles and also more flexible shoulders.
If you or other people in this Forum know of any stretching exercise/drill to achieve that.... that would be great !
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  #6  
Old 08-03-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex-SG View Post
TERRY, EDDIE: Thank you very much for your help.

TERRY:
I do have lateral instability due to over rotation. The "wild kick" probably comes from the legs wanting to help stabilize the stroke.

And this is happening in spite of the fact that:
a. I start each workout with vertical kicking (150)
b. I do plenty of skating drills for balance + learning how to kick from the hip (and get the legs to draft behind the torso)
Alex
It's not guaranteed that your VK practice will help with the lateral instability. It can help pattern a more compact kick . . . but that pattern is specific to a vertical position, while your problems are cropping up in a horizontal position. Your postural muscles interact with leg muscles in a completely different way when vertical than they do when horizontal. As well, the kick you're using in VK is a steady, unbroken one. I imagine you use a (discontinuous) 2BK while stroking.
The two differences mean you "grow myelin" on one circuit when doing VK and on a very different one when swimming.

Skating practice can be helpful, as can be practice with both arms at your sides. In this practice, make sure you're imprinting a "barely off your stomach" position rather than an "on your side" position.

In both Skating practice and if you do the same with both arms at your sides, practice minimizing your rotation to the breath. Try to breathe closer to the way you do in whole stroke, rather than Sweet Spot. And work on breathing to either side.

One length of this, followed by a length of whole stroke, should be a good sequence. Breathe to the same side on both lengths -- i.e. breathe right on the drill, then on the swim. Then breathe left on both.
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  #7  
Old 08-03-2009
eddiewouldgo eddiewouldgo is offline
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Terry,

His foot is still hooked.

What, if anything, do you think he should he do to fix it?

Thanks in advance for any clarification you provide.
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2009
eddiewouldgo eddiewouldgo is offline
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As a wise man once said:

Side kicking – This can help you with both coordination and flexibility and is one more benefit to practicing TI drills. Each Long Axis drill (i.e. those involving flutter kick) start and finish with time spent in your Sweet Spot. Any time you’re kicking on your side, you’re a lot more likely to use the 30-degree flexion kick. Kicking on your stomach – with or without kickboard – makes if far more likely that you’ll do the bicycling kick, because gravity encourages it. On your side, because your knees don’t flex in the direction gravity is working, you’re far less likely to “bicycle.”

So, substitute "side kick more" for "kick more."

You can do several things to increase your ankle flexibility so that your body is physically capable of executing the desired movement pattern, i.e., a hip-driven downward flick of the foot, followed immediately by a return of the foot to a toes-pointed (plantar flexed) streamlined configuration directly behind your hips, instead of hooked (dorsiflexed), drag-creating "Aquabrake" feet. See the Shinji Takeuchi YouTube video at 1:00 to 1:13 to get a good idea of what the flick-and-streamline should look like in two beat mode. First, kicking itself helps (see above), with and without fins -- just practice it with purpose and focus, trying to "myelinize" (get used to) something new and better. Static ankle stretching exercises, if you do them well enough, often enough, and long enough (think daily at least, for several weeks at least) will also help with the ability to achieve a relaxed streamline, so that you can "point your toes" (get the bottom of your feet parallel to the surface when they are not doing anything) without having to engage the soleus and gastrocnemius to pull them into trim, which gets crampy quickly. Static stretching won't help so much for the dynamic "flicking" action -- only kicking really helps there. The simplest stretch is to sit on your ankles with the top of your feet flat on the floor and apply gentle pressure down. That will eventually get your ankle flexible enough that you can actually point your foot straight back. Do the same thing with a rolled up towel under your toes and you can develop another inch or two of mobility. There is no magic -- it just takes persistence. Unless you have some anatomical defect, which is almost certainly not the case, you can significantly improve joint mobility in a sport-specific and useful way. Just know what you want to achieve, for what you need to do, and get that degree of flexibility, and no more -- no need to turn yourself into a Cirque du Soleil flexibility act. You do need to be able to streamline your feet without strain to swim your best.
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2009
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Thanks Guys,
Excellent tips, I am sure I will improve. ALEX
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  #10  
Old 08-03-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiewouldgo View Post
Terry,

His foot is still hooked.

What, if anything, do you think he should he do to fix it?
The necessary question is what's the goal? Alex, what kind of swimming do you want to be good at - being able to swim greater distances (a mile or more) at a solid pace without fatigue? Or to improve your pace for shorter distances - say 500 yards and less?
The best use for your legs, and the kind of focus you want to give your kick, should proceed from that goal.
As a distance swimmer, my kick goals have been:
1) Have my legs draft behind my torso.
2) Have my leg movements coordinate better with my weight shift - 2BK
3) Minimize resistance as well as energy cost from kicking.
4) Be able to selectively increase the contribution of leg drive to my speed on a tactical basis - when I need it for a strong finish or -- usually briefly -- in midrace, to maintain a drafting position.
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