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Old 01-29-2015
chairmanmeadow chairmanmeadow is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5
Default Lower Back pain

I am a swimming noob and have been trying out some of the total immersion exercises at the pool from the book. But I seem to be getting lower back pain from swimming.

My coach said my back looks really tense. I basically go into to a skydiving position. I have tried without much success to "relax my back".

I was wondering if someone had any advice for someone in my situation.
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Old 01-29-2015
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,353

Hi Chairmanmeadow:

That's a fairly common issue, arching of the back is only human. Gently tuck bellybutton toward spine, think rounded back. Recovery arm/hand should slice in below the lungs at fwd extension, i.e. a gentle slope, hand below wrist, wrist below elbow, elbow below shoulder.

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Old 01-29-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,499

I recently have started to address an "old man slouch" that was affecting my swimming posture and balance, as well as my breathing. I was initially skeptical that dry land postural rehearsals could be mimicked in water, but it turned out to be doable with a lot of persistence and repeated practice.

(See "a way to make breathing more comfortable and efficient" thread)

I did a lot of practice modelling on land in front of a mirror, and tried to do same lying in bed on my front then on my back, then tried to do the same in the pool, visualising the muscle memory that I had practiced. When it became too difficult, I tended to tense up, so I had to regroup and consciously relax. Relaxation is very important, and has to be emphasised in practice.

What is happening now is that I am using my new in line posture in many other life situations, including driving my car, shoulder checking, running, biking, including aero position, martial arts and just standing around. I can't say whether this is cause or effect, but maybe it doesn't matter -- it's just easier this way, devoting my whole life to adjusting to a straighter chest-neck-line rather than having to switch on and off in thinking. Anyway, it's finally getting easier now.

BTW, the back pain doesn't go away instantly. In fact at first there may be all sorts of new aches due to unaccustomed postural muscles kicking in and some postural joint ligaments being stretched in further direction than before. But there should not be any severe pain, unless you are holding a lot of tension in the new adaptation, which you should consciously try to monitor for and not do. These new aches soon go away.

Last edited by sclim : 01-29-2015 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 01-29-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,499

I thought about it a little more. If you have been unable to do what I did, despite giving it your best shot, maybe you could enlist a trusted buddy. You lie face down in the water in a Superman pose, and he sights from the side with goggles under water and gently moulds you with his hands. Your job is to be like plasticine, or even dough, not tense, but gently allowing yourself to be moulded into a straight line, all the time knowing that the water will support every inch of your body in whatever configuration straight or ugly that you choose.

It might even be instructive to plan for deliberate moulding of outlying positions, overarched skydiver, hunchback, first, so you get a sense of where you're at.

Plan for enough time so you're not rushed or hurried.

Your buddy might have you lying on the side of the pool first as a dry run for both of you to practice what straight feels/looks like, before doing the same in water.

I don't have the experience to predict whether using a snorkel would help to prolong the time he can have to adjust your alignment, or whether the need for standing up to breath will actually help to keep the sets short enough to maintain your full attention. Because you really have to concentrate; on not tensing up if nothing else.

P S I now remember right at the beginning, I had a TI coach walk alongside me in the water while I attempted Superman Glide, then later Skate. I had no idea where my head was, and as I remember, I tended to have forehead up brimming the water. Coach gently guided my head down to the axial position. I then overshot, so he guided me up again. That was very helpful.

Last edited by sclim : 01-29-2015 at 11:35 PM.
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