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  #1  
Old 04-24-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Default The difference between anchoring and pulling with the sweep hand

This question seems to come up a lot on this forum: What is the difference between anchoring with your sweep hand as opposed to pulling through the water? Both actions involve exerting force with the same muscles. This morning as I was swimming a distinction occurred to me, which I would like to run by people here.

Pulling with the sweep hand exerts a force on the water, which is used to propel your body forward. The implicit assumption behind this statement is that the greater the force the more propulsion you get. I think the main distinctions between pulling and anchoring are timing and coordination. When you anchor, the force you exert with the anchored hand is measured out very carefully depending on what the other side of your body with the spearing hand is doing. For example, I tend to wait before exerting force with my anchored hand, perhaps longer than others, until my body has rotated enough so that my spearing shoulder is moving horizontally forward, as opposed to going down into the water. Even then, once this has happened, I am only exerting enough force on the anchored hand to move my spearing shoulder forward in a horizontal line. If the anchored hand moves too fast, the coordination between the two sides is lost, and my sense is that energy is wasted. In summary, pulling is an action done on one side of your body without sufficient consideration of its consequences on the other side, whereas anchoring is a whole body coordination, where force on one side is measured out to achieve the desired effect on the other side.

It is reasonable to ask what it is on the spearing side which needs to be coordinated with the anchoring hand. I am not sure of the answer to this, but here is my conjecture. Our bodies are built so that the shoulders on each side can move independently of each other, but efficient swimming occurs when the shoulders move as if they were attached to each other on a straight axis. By doing this, more power in our stroke comes from the core body, where the bigger muscles can do the work. Keeping this axis straight during the stroke requires coordination of the two sides, and I think that is what I am referring to above. I must concede that I am not entirely sure of this analysis and would like to hear other points of view.

Last edited by Danny : 04-24-2015 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 04-24-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Like a lot of descriptions in TI , I regard them as descriptions of feelings rather than facts.
In that sense, and if they are working for a lot of people, they are usefull.

I go along with the timing sensation you describe.
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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If my second conjecture is correct, then this gives an objective meaning to the feeling of anchoring. The force on the anchor must be controlled so as to keep the two shoulders moving as if they were connected by a rigid straight line. This is the difference between anchoring and pulling.
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Old 04-24-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
If my second conjecture is correct, then this gives an objective meaning to the feeling of anchoring. The force on the anchor must be controlled so as to keep the two shoulders moving as if they were connected by a rigid straight line. This is the difference between anchoring and pulling.
This sounds reasonable and makes sense. So what is the configuration of this rigid straight line?

Earlier you said "but efficient swimming occurs when the shoulders move as if they were attached to each other on a straight axis." This confuses me a little, because in this context I tend to associate the word "axis" to mean one of the two directions mutually at right angles to each other to form the reference coordinates of a 2 dimensional plane. (Or one of the three directions in a 3 dimensional solid space).

Ignoring the earlier reference to "axis", the rigid straight line between the shoulders would be obliquely oriented with respect to the longitudinal axis. In other words, the rigid line is occupied in real life by the muscles and bones and joints of the shoulder girdle, which at this moment is tilted, with the shoulder of the recovering and entering hand transitioning to a forward position relative to the shoulder of the anchoring hand (and arm). The lead shoulder is still above the anchoring shoulder, but it is descending, and as the spearing action becomes played out, and transitions eventually to catch and anchor, the lead shoulder drops below the rearward prior anchoring shoulder which then becomes the recovering shoulder and rises above the waterline...etc.

Meanwhile, in an idealised situation, the spine may rotate left and right, but still occupies the position of the longitudinal axis.

So that connecting line you refer to corresponds to the structures of the (now obliquely aligned) shoulder girdle, and in fact constitutes the rigid structure that transfers and transmits the force of the anchoring arm against the water to the structures attached to the other end of the shoulder girdle 1) attached via the "shoulder joint" (i.e. the gleno-humeral joint): the entering and spearing arm and hand and 2) attached to the connections between the shoulder-blade and the left edge of the trunk: the rest of the trunk, which also gets driven forward by the anchoring plus rotating shoulder-girdle force. Of course, the kicking leg driving the hip also imparts a simultaneous forward force to the trunk.

If by "keeping this axis straight..." you mean "maintaining the rigidity of the connection between the point of generation of force and the point of transferral of force", I fully agree with you that it requires the coordination of the two sides, and in fact I would go further and say that it is a very complex coordination of the trunk and limbs requiring very precise adjustments of linear and angular forces and movements in 3 dimensional and rotational space to maintain that efficient transfer of anchoring force and muscular energy into forward motion of swimmer, and not into useless movement of water.

Makes sense to me.

Last edited by sclim : 04-24-2015 at 11:47 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-24-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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sclim, you have fleshed out my explanation with a lot of detail, and I'm not sure that my knowledge of anatomy is up to deciding whether or not you have it right, but it sounds to me like you do. I don't mean that this axis should be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. I see it more like the kayak paddle that has come up in earlier conversations on this subject. A rigid paddle will work better than one which flops around as it paddles. Not sure if this analogy helps or not. Anyway, keeping the paddle rigid means that the two shoulders must work in concert with another, and this may be what distinguishes "anchoring" from "arm pulling".
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  #6  
Old 04-25-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
sclim, you have fleshed out my explanation with a lot of detail, and I'm not sure that my knowledge of anatomy is up to deciding whether or not you have it right, but it sounds to me like you do. I don't mean that this axis should be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. I see it more like the kayak paddle that has come up in earlier conversations on this subject. A rigid paddle will work better than one which flops around as it paddles. Not sure if this analogy helps or not. Anyway, keeping the paddle rigid means that the two shoulders must work in concert with another, and this may be what distinguishes "anchoring" from "arm pulling".
It's a great analogy and very useful. As long as we remember that this paddle is "live" as well as rigid, and doesn't have to be passively rigid. In other words, even being rigid enough to transmit force as you describe, it is smart enough to allow for a patient lead hand, and each paddle doesn't have to be always 180 degrees from the other.

I had to use the detail, because the discussion between participants was getting bogged down when "rotation" used by one participant was understood in a different sense by another participant. For instance one person would mean rotation of the head out of the water, and anther person would think that meant rotation of the head on the trunk axis. So the only resort to give a chance for agreement or non-agreement was to specify each term unambiguously, which meant cumbersome detail. Sorry.

(I know some anatomy, but I'm relatively ignorant, or at least agnostic about swimming. I'm trying to finesse the former knowledge into some clarity about the latter, but it's obviously not a sure thing). BTW have you done the 1 lb hand weight thing yet? I'm trying to imagine the consequences, but I'm getting a confusing mental picture, lol.

Last edited by sclim : 04-25-2015 at 12:19 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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I found this article gives some insight in shoulder connection
http://www.lakeshoreswimclub.com/art...20-%20Free.pdf
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2015
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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wow What an interesting article. Gives a lot of info on range of motion, rhythm and timing, balance, body roll and streamlining, and many informative pictures to illustrate the narrative.

tks for posting

Sherry
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  #9  
Old 04-25-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Yes, interesting article, but overwhelming. I saved it on my laptop to use as a reference.
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  #10  
Old 04-25-2015
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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I think, and I might be wrong, that the term 'anchoring' just refers to a sensation that the 'pulling' arm should not just be slicing thru the water during the pulling phase, but should remain more or less 'motionless' in relation to the floor of the pool, while the body glides effortlessly over it. In other words, the 'anchoring' arm takes 'hold' of the water such that the body is the only thing moving in relation to the bottom of the pool.

If you were to do a time lapse during the pulling phase and marked the pulling arms location in relation to the bottom of the pool, it should be more or less at the same location.

Of course this will NEVER happen because every body -- even that of Shinji -- has at least SOME drag, which requires that the pulling arm has some 'slippage' thru the water ... yes, even the slightest bit. There can never be a perfectly anchored arm as long as there is a thing called 'drag' and as long as water is less dense than the ground, in my opinion.

I don't think -- and again I could be wrong -- that anchoring only refers to an early portion of the catch / pull phase.

The term 'anchor' can help some people. It certainly isn't a sensation that I have experienced in my own journey yet due to my higher level of drag -- which I'm working on!

Perhaps it will be something I'll feel in the future....as one evolves from the actual sensation of pulling to one of anchoring.

So in all that, I think it's semantics.
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