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  #1  
Old 03-02-2018
qsjcraig
 
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Default Stumped

Good morning everyone,

Started swimming again last fall after years of being out of the pool. Been going 2-3 days a week, 30-60min at a time. Started with a coach a few weeks ago, loving it so far. Got talked into doing the Master's practices MWF and loving that as well. Problem is, in Master's practice, I can go all day with fins on, been doing 1-2k practices and all is good. The minute the fins come off, I need to do a sprint pace to keep my legs from sinking, or what feels like that, so I'm gassed after just 50m. I'm sure (hope?) this is a common problem. Running 5 miles, biking 20 miles regularly so I'm confused about what seems to be a lack of breath, feeling as though my chest is going to blow up after just a 50. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Craig
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2018
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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The general plan of our drill sequences is:

1) Get your core body doing the right things.

2) Add arm and leg movements.

The reason for this approach is that arm and leg movements can be used to mask a multitude of swimming errors. If you haven't learned to be balanced in a horizontal position, for example, you can cover it up by doing frantic kicking.

The central position for freestyle swimming is what we call the skate position. When you are in this position, your body is really like a teeter-totter floating on the fulcrum of your lungs, and your head and leading arm balance the weight of your legs on the other end of the fulcrum. The two factors that control whether you are in balance are:

1) head position - You want to relax your head into the water with your nose pointed down. If you lift your head to look forward, your hips will tend to sink.

2) leading arm position - You want your wrist to be lower than your shoulder, and you want to keep your wrist relaxed with your fingertips angled slightly down. If your leading arm is too high, this will also cause your hips to sink.

The ideal skate position can vary from swimmer to swimmer depending on a number of factors (like their natural buoyancy), and it may vary for the same swimmer over time. When I first began using the Total Immersion approach, for example, I needed a lower leading arm position to bring me into balance than I need now, and I'm pretty sure the reason is that in the early days, I was compensating for other things I was doing wrong, but now those other aspects of my stroke have improved and I don't need to compensate as much.

So I'd suggest experimenting with your skate position and finding the head and leading arm position that are ideal for you (which allow you to keep your hips up with a minimum of kicking), ingrain that ideal position (on both sides), and then practice spearing directly to it each time you take a stroke. If you can learn to keep your hips up through balance, then all of your arm and leg movements can be directed toward propulsion, which will allow you to move faster using less energy.

Be aware that the main thing your kick should be doing is to counterbalance the rotation of your core body. Your kick (particularly in distance swimming) is not a major source of propulsion. But you may benefit from spending some time improving your kick. The best drill for this, in my experience, is called vertical kicking: Go into water that is over your head, fold your arms across your chest, and keep your head above water by kicking. Focus on kicking from your hips and ankles - not from your knees. You can transition from this to horizontal kicking by starting vertical kicking and than letting yourself "fall back" onto your back while still kicking. If you spend a few minutes doing this every time you swim, your kick should gradually improve, and you should end up with a narrow, streamlined, hip-driven kick.

Let us know how you make out!


Bob
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2018
Tom65 Tom65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qsjcraig View Post
Good morning everyone,

Started swimming again last fall after years of being out of the pool. Been going 2-3 days a week, 30-60min at a time. Started with a coach a few weeks ago, loving it so far. Got talked into doing the Master's practices MWF and loving that as well. Problem is, in Master's practice, I can go all day with fins on, been doing 1-2k practices and all is good. The minute the fins come off, I need to do a sprint pace to keep my legs from sinking, or what feels like that, so I'm gassed after just 50m. I'm sure (hope?) this is a common problem. Running 5 miles, biking 20 miles regularly so I'm confused about what seems to be a lack of breath, feeling as though my chest is going to blow up after just a 50. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Craig
Fins are the single biggest swimming cheat ever.

Do the hard work.

Fins make everything way to easy.

Buoyancy shorts can give you a lift to help get more laps in whilst building fitness.

Snorkels are also good to let you get some swim adaption/fitness, although they do allow you to use too little rotation.



....

Last edited by Tom65 : 03-04-2018 at 07:24 AM.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2018
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Craig,

Adding to Coach Bob and Tom's responses: The best advice I got came from Terry (in blue and yellow book), he noted rather bluntly, "If you what to improve your swimming, leave all the pool toys at home" (fins, paddles, pool buoy) and learn to balance from the core/middle. The pool toys only imprint human primal impulses to stabilize the body from the hands and feet, not from the core.

I do use fins occasionally, but only for refining kick timing and feeling of flow from hip flexors/glutes through the toes - never for balance or propulsion.

Enjoy your journey!

Stu
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Old 03-04-2018
Mushroomfloat
 
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I dont have fins because A. im too tight to buy them B. sizing will probably be wrong and chafe my heels C. i spend time kicking on my sides in skate as a warm up everytime i go to the pool

Kicking without fins in skate can teach you about balancing from the core whilst rotated and show up if you are bending through the spine etc

I can now do all those cool looking drills that you see on YT videos which require great core stability to do correctly

But when i actually swim i dont bother kicking and i find a 2BK just appears as a flick down each leg which originates as a result of switching body rotation
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  #6  
Old 05-29-2018
qsjcraig
 
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Default an update...

So it's been almost three months. I'm still going to the pool about 2-3 times a week (missed a week with a bad cold) and frankly, I'm ready to throw in the towel (no pun intended)

I've gone through two coaches now, and while both are very nice and eager to help, 95% of what I've been taught goes completely against what I'm reading, watching and practicing with TI and/or what I follow through other areas like Tower 26, etc. (been coached to breathe every 5 or so strokes, keep a steady strong kick, etc)

I've given the Master's practices a rest for a while because without fins, I'm still unable to swim longer than 250 yards without stopping...these people are doing 3k workout and I'm embarrassing myself.

I feel like my current ability is more brute force than proper swimming. Is this a common roadblock for people? The 200-250 yard mark?


Thanks,
Craig
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  #7  
Old 05-29-2018
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qsjcraig View Post

I feel like my current ability is more brute force than proper swimming. Is this a common roadblock for people? The 200-250 yard mark?
If you are in a 25-yard length pool, then, you are experiencing a roadblock at 4 to 5 laps? How often are you breathing? Are you gasping at the end of 4 laps? Have you done all the TI drills? Are you feeling drag? Legs/hips sinking?
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  #8  
Old 05-29-2018
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qsjcraig View Post
So it's been almost three months. I'm still going to the pool about 2-3 times a week (missed a week with a bad cold) and frankly, I'm ready to throw in the towel (no pun intended)

I've gone through two coaches now, and while both are very nice and eager to help, 95% of what I've been taught goes completely against what I'm reading, watching and practicing with TI and/or what I follow through other areas like Tower 26, etc. (been coached to breathe every 5 or so strokes, keep a steady strong kick, etc)

I've given the Master's practices a rest for a while because without fins, I'm still unable to swim longer than 250 yards without stopping...these people are doing 3k workout and I'm embarrassing myself.

I feel like my current ability is more brute force than proper swimming. Is this a common roadblock for people? The 200-250 yard mark?

Thanks,
Craig
Hi Craig,

Sounds like you're in LA referencing Tower 26 and I'm assuming Gerry Rodrigues. Come out as a guest to my Masters swims at LA Valley College, Sherman Oaks (corner of Bubank and Coldwater) and let's have a look. M/W/F 7:30-9p. Or Culver City Plunge Thurs 8-9p with LA Tri Club - I'm LATC swim coach (on deck and in water) too.

Stu
mindbodyandswim.com
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2018
qsjcraig
 
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Stu,

Thanks so much, Id love to, but im out near Philadelphia. It was suggested that I start listening to the Tower 26 Podcast, which Ive beem doing for the last several months...Im a big fan.

Nova,
Roadblock is right around 10-12 laps, so 250-275 meters. My form feels ok to me, Im just constantly air hungry, starting as soon as 50 meters sometimes.

Im in good land shape, (running, biking, etc) have been a singer for 20 years, spending tons of time on breathing.
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  #10  
Old 05-30-2018
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Craig,

Philly! Love Philly. If you ever come through LA, pop in for a swim!

The coaches that worked with you will teach you as they were taught swimming which is really almost polar opposite of TI approach. I'm sure you discovered this with Gerry's podcast too. So if you try to head down both paths - you will be stumped from opposing views. Pick one path and stick with it, dedicate yourself to that process whichever path you choose for at least six months.

Re: If you're swimming easier with fins and/or pull buoy then it's all back to the original responses - you must learn positions that make you balanced (from the middle/core) and movements that *maintain* balance with each stroke. When you are out of balance, hips drop, shoulders/neck/chest tighten, triggers the "survival strokes". No matter how good of a breather and in good shape you are out of the water - you will always be out of breath in the water.

So pick a path, stick with it and see how it goes

Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Stu
mindbodyandswim.com
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