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  #21  
Old 01-22-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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I take back what I said before. Here's a picture of Terry breathing at 1:15 from sinker's link
Seems like Terry has to raise his head to get air too. So the only one who really seems able to hold the same line when he rotates to breath that he holds when not breathing is Shinji! That seems like perfection.

The question still remains for the rest of us mere mortals... How much should we rotate our head with respect to our shoulders when we breath?
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  #22  
Old 01-22-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
I guess we're getting back to the point of this thread. I think this is true, not only of Shinji, but also of Terry, when you see underwater shots of either of them breathing. Their head is low in the water and to get their mouth up to breath they seem to have to rotate the head quite a bit. This seems like the parlor trick in their breathing technique. All I was observing was that this degree of head rotation becomes easier if your head is aligned with your spine. On the other hand, I don't claim that any of this is easy or that I "can swim like Shinji". When you look at some of the elites breathing while loping, they seem to spare themselves this degree of rotation. Maybe that is one of the points of the loping.

Just looked on YouTube to get another point of view. Here is a link to Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB4fJxMWX3U
Bowman's description is interesting but I'm not sure it coincides with the picture of Phelps breathing

Seems like Phelps has a lope to breath, not like Shinji.
I agree with you that there seems to be a contradiction between what he prescribes and what the swimmers are doing. Is it just my interpretation, or is he saying, when he wants the head to "turn with the body" and not "independently" he is trying to say that the head never rotates away from the centre angle between the two shoulders? That is, all axial head rotation comes from rotation at the shoulder level, and no contribution from neck rotation.

If this is what he is claiming, then this is blatantly not true. All of the swimmers in the video have some head rotation in breathing that goes beyond the rotation of the shoulders. And it makes sense that they must, unless they are floating with their head so high at the water surface that the optimum shoulder rotation for efficient stroke mechanics is sufficient angulation to provide breathing clearance without further neck rotation. None of the swimmers seem to float that high, and some float low enough that their breathing mechanics require a blatant neck rotation obviously in violation of this "no independent head rotation" decree. Unless I am mistaken and what he actually means is not to turn the neck independently but rather to time the neck rotation to coincide with the trunk rotation at the shoulder level.

Last edited by sclim : 01-23-2015 at 04:22 PM.
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  #23  
Old 01-23-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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A further update: This morning after my usual drill laps of 50m fist/50m trying to hold head and neck in axial position by extending chest, I did 100m with a Finis swim snorkel. I was much more successful than my last try months ago, when the tip had a strong tendency to submerge, due to my low head position. Submersions only happened rarely. It also tended to happen on the push-off, when I am concentrating on a good compact transient streamline form, and where I tend to submerge more, but I don't think that should matter in this context.

I also notice that I am thinking of my posture much more frequently during the day in all kinds of old and new situations and making the required subtle changes, so it doesn't seem to be one of those one day wonders, but hopefully something more permanent.

One new situation is a new martial art that I am studying, Aikido. I started sporadically a year ago, but had difficulty due to scheduling. I have found a new group and am able to train regularly twice a week. New skills are kneeling on the mat (and I have just recently finessed this to include upright chest-neck-head), and Iaido, the art of drawing and re-sheathing a sharp long sword. When I was taught this over the weekend it was a disaster for reasons of newness and clumsiness (you're not supposed to look down but should keep your gaze on the horizon). I have practiced diligently at home, and have got it down fine now, but over the last couple of days, due to this thread, I have eliminated the neck craning that I didn't realise I had, and it feels and looks great!

BTW I am starting to notice a gentle ache in my mid back. This would correspond to the new postural change sof the last few days with localised new ligament and muscular stresses, so I'm not too concerned, and it ought to fade off with time.

Last edited by sclim : 01-23-2015 at 04:53 PM.
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  #24  
Old 01-25-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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(this is a copy and paste of a comment I made in the "focal points in unexpected places" thread, as I think it relates to both threads. I hope this is acceptable.

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Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
Hey Sclim, next time you take a drive in your car, take also note of your posture.
When this postural awareness time is increased and reacted upon, hopefully the normal posture starts to change over time, so you dont have to think about it anymore.
Seem to be better for preventing future little pains also.
Haha...yet one more unexpected insight. With my new chest up, head and neck easily back postural adaptation sitting in the driver's seat with my head on the head-rest, I am changing how I shoulder check. Rather than craning forward, then looking round, left or right (how I used to normally do it, and which would result in breaking the new head, neck and trunk alignment) I have tried to swivel at the neck while maintaining the head, neck, trunk axis alignment. This means that the back of the head has to rub against the head-rest to achieve the rotation. This rubbing is my recurring feedback that I've got it right. The sensation is entirely different, as is the viewpoint, because I'm looking out through a different part of the side windows, and in my case, behind the left door pillar rather than in front.

So when you think about it, this is exactly what we are trying to achieve in the new same postural adaptation in the swimming position. Having recognised that, I'm trying to repeat this as frequently as possible and as rapidly as possible while driving with a view to better imprint this difficult new axially aligned method of sitting and head turning for swimming purposes. This increased frequency and rapidity can only increase my awareness of what's happening around me on the road, too which is always a good thing -- a win win situation I hope.

And last of all, in the flurry of multiple instructions to self during pool drills and lap repeats, my Popeye mouth has suffered a lot. I can get the right quite easily, but the left requires a lot of concentration. Lately, I have suffered from so much instructional overload that I realise I have stopped bothering to do the Popeye mouth automatically, even on my easy right side. So I am rotating higher than I need to, or just as bad, sucking in water and choking, due to rotating to the right position, but being too lazy or too distracted to pull the open corner of the mouth 2 centimetres further off the waterline.

So my finesse has been to add the appropriate Popeye mouth to my rapid and frequent left and right axial neck rotations while driving. So far I am restricting this Popeye "refinement" to when driving on the freeway with no one within a good view of me. But I have on occasion sneakily practiced on regular roads when I think no one is around. But I know I'll eventually get caught one day in embarrassment :-)

(I am going to copy this comment to the "a way to make breathing more comfortable and efficient" thread, seeing as how this is where the method originated. I hope this falls within acceptable forum practice.)
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  #25  
Old 01-25-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
(this is a copy and paste of a comment I made in the "focal points in unexpected places" thread, as I think it relates to both threads. I hope this is acceptable.



Haha...yet one more unexpected insight. With my new chest up, head and neck easily back postural adaptation sitting in the driver's seat with my head on the head-rest, I am changing how I shoulder check. Rather than craning forward, then looking round, left or right (how I used to normally do it, and which would result in breaking the new head, neck and trunk alignment) I have tried to swivel at the neck while maintaining the head, neck, trunk axis alignment. This means that the back of the head has to rub against the head-rest to achieve the rotation. This rubbing is my recurring feedback that I've got it right. The sensation is entirely different, as is the viewpoint, because I'm looking out through a different part of the side windows, and in my case, behind the left door pillar rather than in front.

So when you think about it, this is exactly what we are trying to achieve in the new same postural adaptation in the swimming position. Having recognised that, I'm trying to repeat this as frequently as possible and as rapidly as possible while driving with a view to better imprint this difficult new axially aligned method of sitting and head turning for swimming purposes. This increased frequency and rapidity can only increase my awareness of what's happening around me on the road, too which is always a good thing -- a win win situation I hope.

And last of all, in the flurry of multiple instructions to self during pool drills and lap repeats, my Popeye mouth has suffered a lot. I can get the right quite easily, but the left requires a lot of concentration. Lately, I have suffered from so much instructional overload that I realise I have stopped bothering to do the Popeye mouth automatically, even on my easy right side. So I am rotating higher than I need to, or just as bad, sucking in water and choking, due to rotating to the right position, but being too lazy or too distracted to pull the open corner of the mouth 2 centimetres further off the waterline.

So my finesse has been to add the appropriate Popeye mouth to my rapid and frequent left and right axial neck rotations while driving. So far I am restricting this Popeye "refinement" to when driving on the freeway with no one within a good view of me. But I have on occasion sneakily practiced on regular roads when I think no one is around. But I know I'll eventually get caught one day in embarrassment :-)

(I am going to copy this comment to the "a way to make breathing more comfortable and efficient" thread, seeing as how this is where the method originated. I hope this falls within acceptable forum practice.)
sclim, this whole issue of head and back alignment has become something of an obsession to me also. I started practicing these things to try to help with an old hamstring injury when jogging. (I think we have already discussed this sometime in the past.) I'm sure there are a lot of ways to try to learn this stuff, but the one I have used comes from a book called "Original Strength" by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert. It's paperback and cheap on Amazon. They recommend different forms of crawling with your head up and your chest out, which I have been doing on a daily basis to the amusement of my wife and the look of horror on my cat's face. It has helped me a lot, but it's still work in progress.

I used to jog with my head down, looking at the road, and it took a while to teach myself how to run looking forward, not down. All of a sudden I started to notice that the sun was in my eyes when jogging, so I got myself a pair of prescription sunglasses for the first time.

Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to start thinking about these issues while swimming, but I should say that they originated elsewhere. The swimming is only a colateral benefit. It seems like some of the problems we have while swimming are really problems we have in standing, walking and running as well. If we paid half as much attention to what we are doing in the rest of our lives as we do while swimming, we could probably learn an equal amount of eye-opening stuff.
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  #26  
Old 01-26-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
sclim, this whole issue of head and back alignment has become something of an obsession to me also. I started practicing these things to try to help with an old hamstring injury when jogging. (I think we have already discussed this sometime in the past.) I'm sure there are a lot of ways to try to learn this stuff, but the one I have used comes from a book called "Original Strength" by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert. It's paperback and cheap on Amazon. They recommend different forms of crawling with your head up and your chest out, which I have been doing on a daily basis to the amusement of my wife and the look of horror on my cat's face. It has helped me a lot, but it's still work in progress.

I used to jog with my head down, looking at the road, and it took a while to teach myself how to run looking forward, not down. All of a sudden I started to notice that the sun was in my eyes when jogging, so I got myself a pair of prescription sunglasses for the first time.

Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to start thinking about these issues while swimming, but I should say that they originated elsewhere. The swimming is only a colateral benefit. It seems like some of the problems we have while swimming are really problems we have in standing, walking and running as well. If we paid half as much attention to what we are doing in the rest of our lives as we do while swimming, we could probably learn an equal amount of eye-opening stuff.
Haha, I guess you infected me with your obsession too. The interesting point is that, no matter exactly what percentage of brain intensity or saturation it required, you went out and got it done, as a permanent change which you are now nailing down for extra permanence, unlike the many new years resolutions which we say we will do but abandon within a few hours or minutes. If you really want to make any change permanently, you have to make it an obsession, or else it won't get done.

Others may gently mock your obsession and you may chuckle along yourself at the joke, but there's no good more reliable alternative for obsession for getting things done!

I might add that in the general context of what people are talking about in this forum, I've often wondered to myself -- wow, what an amazing amount of attention paid to the relationship of spl versus steadily declining tempo trainer interval, or some such thing. But if they were not obsessed as they were, whey would have lost track of that association and the benefit that they have obviously derived from paying attention to it. This forum is full of obsessive mind views to getting various jobs done, all revolving around our common obsession -- how to swim efficiently and (maybe) fast, given the body that has been donated (or more accurately loaned) to us.

So it's for us to observe each other, and to poach what obsessions that we can from others wherever we see a merit (for after all, there are only so many minutes in a day, and life is fleeting), in the end to try and achieve what we are striving for, and above all, to try and make every moment mindful and joyful.
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  #27  
Old 01-26-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Hiya Danny, this is perhaps tangential here but I have become aware recently that doing dryland stretching promotess an unexpected change in my sense of body position. To explain, try the following:

Stand in tadasana, arms at side, feet together, and generally pretty much swimming alignment of head. Relax everything you can, keeping legs strong, and focus on feeling being pulled up to the sky by a string attached to the top of your head. Slowly turn, keeping hips facing front, arms relaxed, until you encounter resistance and stop at that point. Again focus on relaxing into the pose. After a few moments you will find you can turn a degree or so more, after which return to facing the front.

Now, after doing that, do you feel like your are facing the front or do, for instance, your feet seem to have tuirned, even though they haven't (if you've been doing the above as described)? Perhaps it's subtle, and perhaps I'm aware of it because of my practice, but it's robustness surprised me.

It seems to me that this effect may be present in all swimming movements but that it must be especially present in rotation and breathing. Another argument for alternate breathing I guess, but perhas relevant to your interests.

By the way, in his videos, Shinji provides drills that are directed to looking slightly forward, with a neutral head, so he is not actually recommending a "perfectly" alignment position.

FWIW, that came from watching my own video, is that the angles of view and the unfamiliarity of seeing a swimmer's body moving in the water conspires to create striking optical illusions. Suzanne has corrected some of the observations I have made in the past on videos, pointing this feature out to me, but until I compared front views and side views of my own stroke I had no idea what she was talking about. Pictures, especially videos, appear to be incontrovertible, but they still need interpretation which I have belatedly realized be trickier that it seems. Having two points of view on the same movement to me now seems essential.

Again re Shinji, when I watch his 12 stroke video, what I see is his breath coinciding with his maximum speed and acceleration. This results in there being a substantial bow wave and trough available at exactly the right moment. Without that, I think it's a lot tougher. But having said that what I see is all the top swimmers reaching for the air and having a different stroke on their preferred breathing side (just watched Laure Manaudou again and she does it) so I'm not sure that "perfect" head-spine alignment isn't person specific.
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Last edited by Talvi : 01-26-2015 at 04:13 PM.
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  #28  
Old 01-26-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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@Talvi: don't you find, yet again, that looking at something so simple as standing straight in alignment and turning your head, then back front again turns out to be not so simple after all?
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  #29  
Old 01-26-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Hiya Danny, this is perhaps tangential here but I have become aware recently that doing dryland stretching promotess an unexpected change in my sense of body position. To explain, try the following:

Stand in tadasana, arms at side, feet together, and generally pretty much swimming alignment of head. Relax everything you can, keeping legs strong, and focus on feeling being pulled up to the sky by a string attached to the top of your head. Slowly turn, keeping hips facing front, arms relaxed, until you encounter resistance and stop at that point. Again focus on relaxing into the pose. After a few moments you will find you can turn a degree or so more, after which return to facing the front.

Now, after doing that, do you feel like your are facing the front or do, for instance, your feet seem to have tuirned, even though they haven't (if you've been doing the above as described)? Perhaps it's subtle, and perhaps I'm aware of it because of my practice, but it's robustness surprised me.

It seems to me that this effect may be present in all swimming movements but that it must be especially present in rotation and breathing. Another argument for alternate breathing I guess, but perhas relevant to your interests.
This seems like an argument for always using a camera as a reality check on what you think your body is doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
By the way, in his videos, Shinji provides drills that are directed to looking slightly forward, with a neutral head, so he is not actually recommending a "perfectly" alignment position.
I agree. Shinji looks forward in his video and Terry looks down, so there are two different approaches to this. I recently saw some Shinji videos, where he seems to be saying that looking forward activates muscles in your back which can change your center of buoyancy, something that you have discussed on this forum. I am playing around with both methods. Depending on the day it seems to me that either one can get you in trouble or help you. I think it pays to be versatile in both.

By the way, just because Shinji is looking forward doesn't mean that he doesn't have perfect alignment. I still think you can draw a horizontal line through his body, neck and the middle of his head.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Again re Shinji, when I watch his 12 stroke video, what I see is his breath coinciding with his maximum speed and acceleration. This results in there being a substantial bow wave and trough available at exactly the right moment. Without that, I think it's a lot tougher. But having said that what I see is all the top swimmers reaching for the air and having a different stroke on their preferred breathing side (just watched Laure Manaudou again and she does it) so I'm not sure that "perfect" head-spine alignment isn't person specific.
It seems to me that Shinji is the only video I have seen with perfect head spine alignment when breathing. When I look at Terry or Michael Phelps in underwater shots, it seems to me that they are raising their heads somewhat to breath. In part, it seems to me that Shinji doesn't do this because he rotates his head on his shoulders more.

All of this seems like a caution about taking the fantasy of swimming like Shinji too seriously. None of us has his flexibility, and we can also get hung up on trying to get details correct that don't really amount to "low hanging fruit" in our individual cases. It is important to be able to discern the major problems from the minor ones.
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  #30  
Old 01-26-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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I think we may be saying the same thing Danny, but you sound at times like you contradict yourself in the text. Perfect not-perfect is a subjective thing, because our bodies are different. Charles says the proof of the pudding is only in performance. I'd say the proof is only in the enjoyment, but when all's said and done maybe that also is saying the same thing. The head rotates around a pivot at the top of the spine so what is the straight line in this case? I continue to experiment but find over and over that the effect of one change ripples through to everything else. It's like herding cats. Over the next six months I will develop a lot because of that video I finally got. When the body is provided with good information it works things out. Over and over I find that micro-management, despite the fact that it tends to be all we've got available to us, is pretty hopeless.

Personally I don't worry. I experiment and if it works or feels good then I go in that direction. My kick for instance has gone wrong because was focused on its role in rotation. People talked about rotating without any leverage but that's scientifically impossible and Charles' videos do not show otherwise. No other videos have been posted to show that it is so until I have some evidence I'm going with the science. However, again as Charles' has said, as a begnnner I overdo things all the time. My kick becomes bad when I try to do what think is right. I figured this out before I really saw it in the videos. I tried to kick microscopically and ended by doing a sort of butterfly kick with both legs at the same time. It happend at the beginning of last summer when I swam in OW for the first time. I posted here about it. I never figured out whyit happened. Then the other day I realised it was to keep my legs up!! D'oh!

Sclim, yes I find that all the time. It's my daily practice, or rather my practice moment to moment. It's how I "cured" my sacral whatchamajoosit and my cruciate ligament failures, both apparently requiring surgery! Shame it takes a lifetime to figure this tuff out and then the knowledge dies with you but that's the way of it. In this journey I have gone around and around, focusing first on one part of my body and then on another in series of ahah moments that span about seven years. In the end I seem to have come back to the beginning, have reapplied all I've learned and think I've got it - walk on your hips!

:)
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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