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  #1  
Old 02-16-2012
ScottMT ScottMT is offline
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Default What is "just enough" rotation?

What is, and how does one find, the "proper" amount of rotation? Is this a fixed standard, say 37.5 degrees, or does it vary from person to person? Must it be symmetrical, or should the rotation vary from side to side due to personal variation in shoulder flexibility, strength etc?

The reasons I ask are that 1) I am recovering from swimming-induced shoulder tendonitis and my primary goal at this time is to swim so that I don't injure myself. Although I am working hard on flexibility and strength, my less dominant shoulder will probably always differ from my dominant arm. So should I strive for perfect symmetry or let my varying shoulder mechanics guide my stroke?

And 2); many responses/comments (for instance the Natalie Coughlin thread) imply that there is a perfect standard of perfect symmetry in the rotation. Is this so, or is it relative?
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2012
daveblt daveblt is offline
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You want to rotate to each side just enough to clear each shoulder from the water .So you want to rotate approx. 45 degrees or so . If your rolling to stacked shoulders which is 90 degrees that would be too much which could cause you to sink more or be unstable . TI used to recommend rolling more , to where you would try to point your bellybutton toward the side wall as you roll but it was found that it wasn't necessary .

Dave
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2012
CoachPaulB CoachPaulB is offline
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Default Hand Placement

So I'm interested in what is optimal rotation as well. I know it when I feel it. As someone has posted already, there is a theoretic explanation of what it should be. The feel that I get when Im in the zone is that not unlike the feeling I get when I'm dancing a particular style in contact with a partner. I thinks its called Cha Cha. Where each partner is holding their hands at about face level and making contact with the other persons hands and rotating simultaneaously at the hips. Push to hard on your partners hands and you lose the rhythm. Over energize your hips or over rotate them and you lose the rhythm.
Today I discovered, while doing 200y repeats with TT, that I was not on wide enough tracks but when I explored a little wider with my hand placement... BINGO I felt a bouncy pulse. It was the extended hand and opposite leg communicating through my core. So the extent of rotation was really being dictated at that point by my stroke length and tempo. Intuitively, my lateral positioning was being established.
It was delightful and it occurred about 2500yds into my practice. I am so glad to established this new focal point and look forward to tomorrow when I can have the "next dance".
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  #4  
Old 02-17-2012
tomoy tomoy is offline
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I too am concerned about shoulder injury. Have noticed my left rotator cuff getting a bit sore. I'm not sure there's a lot in it with regards to optimal rotation. Everything I've read about 'just enough' was for the sake of allowing quicker tempo, hence more steady propulsion. When rotating too far, you basically have to spend energy and time to rock your body back and forth. If there's a connection though, I'm all ears.

I've spent a lot of time this year (2 months) working on wide tracks. Allowing my elbows to bend out from my body for the catch, and rotating around that bent 'oar' out there. I feel it has helped with traction, and with no more energy I seem to be getting to the other side of the pool in ~1/2 a stroke count less... you know, that glide, so you can keep your SPL is low ;-) But I also wonder if this added traction is giving my shoulder a hard time.

Am trying to not apply force when developing the catch. It seems like the catch and 'plant' of my left arm while breathing on my right side is where I can feel the sensitivity in my left shoulder. It's where my arms (at least elbow to elbow) are pointing in a direct line. It's not easy keeping the lead left arm in front and wide (left) of my head while my head is turning right to breath, and my right arm goes into recovery. If I relax my left shoulder here my left hand wants to cross over my central axis and I over-rotate.

Another thing I've been doing is allowing my catch to begin a little sooner. Watching a video my brother took showed I was keeping my lead all the way out there until my recovering hand touched the water... what apparently is called a catch-up stroke. It slowed down my SPL. So maybe my coordination with this timing isn't quite right yet.

Anyway, any words of wisdom regarding shoulder health are greatly appreciated.
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Is rotation level a cause or effect?

should we aim for a certain rotational degree it should it be a product of that required to just clear the hand from the water with a high elbow and outswing recovery?

I too am at the stage when I feel a rhythm/rotational sweet spot sometimes but not always. I think it is to do with hitting a precise and symmetrical x/y on the spear.

In swimming we are effectively doing a left/right beep test similar to runners doing touch and beeps across a tennis court.

The secret to holding the beeps is to not be in a state of overbalance on the touch so that the change of direction is effortless.

I also think about the grace of car paint sprayers, there is no mark at each side as they move left and right, just a balanced flow.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2012
CoachPaulB CoachPaulB is offline
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Default Rocking chair

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
I too am concerned about shoulder injury. Have noticed my left rotator cuff getting a bit sore. I'm not sure there's a lot in it with regards to optimal rotation. Everything I've read about 'just enough' was for the sake of allowing quicker tempo, hence more steady propulsion. When rotating too far, you basically have to spend energy and time to rock your body back and forth. If there's a connection though, I'm all ears.

I've spent a lot of time this year (2 months) working on wide tracks. Allowing my elbows to bend out from my body for the catch, and rotating around that bent 'oar' out there. I feel it has helped with traction, and with no more energy I seem to be getting to the other side of the pool in ~1/2 a stroke count less... you know, that glide, so you can keep your SPL is low ;-) But I also wonder if this added traction is giving my shoulder a hard time.

Am trying to not apply force when developing the catch. It seems like the catch and 'plant' of my left arm while breathing on my right side is where I can feel the sensitivity in my left shoulder. It's where my arms (at least elbow to elbow) are pointing in a direct line. It's not easy keeping the lead left arm in front and wide (left) of my head while my head is turning right to breath, and my right arm goes into recovery. If I relax my left shoulder here my left hand wants to cross over my central axis and I over-rotate.

Another thing I've been doing is allowing my catch to begin a little sooner. Watching a video my brother took showed I was keeping my lead all the way out there until my recovering hand touched the water... what apparently is called a catch-up stroke. It slowed down my SPL. So maybe my coordination with this timing isn't quite right yet.

Anyway, any words of wisdom regarding shoulder health are greatly appreciated.
My experience, as I stated in an earlier comment yesterday is that rotation is not necessarily a by-product of proper hand placement and kick timing but is ultimately intuitively adjusted with respect to them. This is finesse and tweaking at this level. The pressure applied in the first instant of the catch should be diminishing but remain continuous.
Gravity and weight transfer of the high side hip then do the work.
When rocking in a well built rocking chair one finishes and starts the cycle with a very light pressure but transfers considerable weight or mass for the rest of the cycle effortlessly. Watch an over rambunctious kid rock. He starts to push with his feet before the end of the cycle. This is like putting on the brakes. It also increases pressure on the feet and legs. Ones shoulder or Ac joint should really never receive any direct pressure from the catch. The outer most muscle of the latissimus dorsi will be worked but only for a brief moment before relaxation.
Too many words for this explanation? I sometimes should heed my children's advice "Less is More" dad.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2012
ScottMT ScottMT is offline
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Thanks for the responses. For now, my working definition of "proper" rotation is "just enough for BOTH of MY shoulders to clear the water COMFORTABLY, or about 45 degrees or so, and with symmetrical rotation".

In my case, the tendonitis seems to be caused or at least exacerbated by a very tight left shoulder capsule and weak upper shoulder muscles (infraspinatus in particular) that cause/allow impingement, particularly during the recovery. So the connection to rotation for me is that by rotating a little further there is more space for my shoulder to swing without pinching on the recovery.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2012
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CoachBobW CoachBobW is offline
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what I often have students do is walk along the pool bottom with hips and shoulders facing the up-coming wall. A good deal of drag and resistance will be felt. Then, slowly, and very incrementally, repeat the walk allowing one shoulder and hip to be influenced by the resistance and fade slowly back.
Done slowly, this demonstates how little rotation allows the body to slip more easily through the water. When swimming, reaching...as if trying to extend another inch or two with the leading arm often accomplishes enough rotation.
The worst overrotation is oftentimes caused by the recovering arm. "Zipping up the prom dress" when recovering the arm out of the water is certain to cause over rotation, which coincidentally will be accompanied by a crazy wide splayed kick as an attempt to correct the situation. If not the crazy kick, any or all of three other 'creative compensations' will be exercised. All a waste of energy and often creating a spiral/cascade of misfortune.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2012
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default Careful

In changing rotation, make sure you're aware that there is a tradeoff in terms of injury prevention.
The recovering arm has more potential for injury in adjusting to the angles available when you rotate less. Think about what range of motion you have available when you're pretty much flat versus when you can use internal rotation with more rotation
On the other hand, rotating too much makes it very difficult to keep a wide track without straining the shoulder on the patient arm. Opening up the axilla and keeping the elbow out is almost impossible to do comfortably for most people at 80-90 degree rotation.

For me, the amount of rotation for the event depends on my choice of those two priorities. In longer-gliding strokes where I'm focused on maximizing efficiency, more rotation is my choice. In shorter races, where immediate access to a high elbow catch is my priority, I am aware of a reduced amount of rotation in the shoulders and hips.
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobW View Post
"Zipping up the prom dress" ... All a waste of energy and often creating a spiral/cascade of misfortune.
Quite a colorful metaphor...
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