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  #1  
Old 09-21-2016
bx bx is offline
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bx
Default Core engagement / arm overlap timing

My core feels MOST switched on when doing either:-

A. Head Lead Balance drill (aka Fish drill)
B. One-arm freestyle - weak version - breathing to same side as stroking arm.

The common factor here is that the lead arm is, well, not leading. It's moulded to my body and thigh.

If I put too much stretch in my lead arm during normal freestyle, or if I hold it out for too long (too patient), my core goes a bit soft.

So I'm consciously now learning to be less patient with the lead arm, and not to put too much stretch into it. I think locking the elbow is worse than stretching the lat.

I want to get arm timing that's closer to the edge of front quadrant timing (more like Terry's?), and when I get it, my core feels more ON, like drills A and B, above.

Anyone else had this sort of feeling?

Ant
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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I'm not sure what you mean when you say that your core goes soft, so it's hard for me to know if I experience the same issues that you do. So what I describe below may or may not have anything to do with the issues you refer to.

Over many years slumped at a computer, I think my shoulders don't keep their proper position in my posture. I recently took a course of physical therapy for an injured shoulder and learned about some exercises referred to as I's, Y's, T's and W's. You can google them if you haven't heard of them. By doing these on a regular basis, I find that it helps me to keep my shoulders back, which facilitates, not only swimming, but walking and standing as well.

In terms of swimming, the core tension I aim for is (1) keep my chest out while maintaining a straight line with my head and spine and (2) use the muscles I referred to above in my shoulder blades to keep the shoulder of my lead arm rotated into the catch position. I was rather surprised to discover how much of this I could do by focusing on the position of my shoulder blade instead of my elbow. This is what I think of as core tension for me. The other aspect of core tension is, of course, in the lower pelvis and the glutes in order to rotate while maintaining good posture, but I don't think this has anything to do with a forward arm extension.

I like to do one-armed drills on the weak side too, with my hands in a fist. When I do these drills, the core tension I need is always on the side that's stroking, and again paying attention to the position of my shoulder blade on that side helps.

Don't know if there's any common ground here. Let me know either way.
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2016
bx bx is offline
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bx
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Danny,

Having thought about it more, I think what I'm describing probably amounts to the "weightless lead arm" aspect of TI.

I used to think that as long as my lead arm wasn't collapsing downwards to provide artificial support, then it was weightless.

But now I think that true weightlessness of the lead arm is a different feeling, when ALL the job of balance is being put onto the core muscles.

That early TI drill where you start in head lead balance, in rotated position, arms moulded to body, and then gently extend the low side arm forwards, this gives the true feeling of lead arm weightlessness to aim for.

But it's seems to me that it's easy to over-do the lead arm stretch, sort of lock it out too rigidly, and then you're subtly leaning on the arm for balance, instead of the core. The core loosens slightly.

Goodness knows if any of this ramble makes sense!
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Some of what you say does make sense, although I seem to perceive it differently from you. I feel as if I am doing the most work with my core when I try to swim with the lowest possible SPL. Not sure, but I think this is because I am straining the whole time to maintain my balance and that requires tensing muscles as if I were on a balance beam.

I started TI around the year 2000, when skating was advocated, with one arm extended and the other at your hip. I still start every swim with a length of skating on each side. I must admit to never thinking much about a weightless arm these days. Instead I try to sense when my feet and legs are below my head or at the same level. When I lose focus I can feel my head rising with respect to my lower parts and then I know I need to shift my weight forward. I think my core work is devoted largely to maintaining that forward weight position.

The other thing I have recently noticed while skating is that when I am out of balance I have to strain more to maintain my position. This often manifests itself as difficulty in breathing or holding my breath. When my balance is good, my breathing becomes much more relaxed, although my core is still working to maintain the right position.

I used to spend a lot of time thinking about my arm position, but lately, as I said, I am focusing on keeping the arm in rotated position with the elbow up, and I can't do that if it is weightless. Maybe I am missing something, but I don't perceive this as being an obstacle to good balance.

Last edited by Danny : 09-22-2016 at 02:20 AM.
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  #5  
Old 09-22-2016
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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WFEGb
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Hello Bx, Danny,

very first, think every ramble does make sense, because you are shown there is something, showing you worthy to ramble...

Quote:
The common factor here is that the lead arm is, well, not leading. It's moulded to my body and thigh.
Bx, in his last book "Mastery" (if I remember right) there is a picture from Terry in just this position inscribeded a long slightly bend yellow line, nearly as a single spring blade from toes to finger tips. If you focus on the elbow showing to the pool's wall this will be OK. (At least for me. When overstretching my arm Forward my elbow will rotate downward...) And will get it with minimal tension, although not without any.

Marker for what we call a weightless arm might be: You should not feel any resistance on your arm neither below nor upside, just the arm striped by silk all around.

You can reach this weightlessness in at least two ways.

- If you want to stretch out your gliding like a pencil/needle to your minimal SPL as straight as possible and with least possible drag, this has to be done with some more balanced tension than in your normal stroke. Even Shinji's position in his long glidings is not hte same when he's swimming "normal". Whole strokes with this posture held reduces my SPL dramatically, but it is not effortless in any way...

- More difficult but also more effortless is to reach the same weightlesness in a more dynamical way while stroking. Here is minimal drag (with silk around) the FP too, but you have to get it from sliding your hand-elbow-arm into the mailslot further to most extended spear further to the floating lower arm/hand to your catch position. Terry detailed it to my question as fluent motion without any stop (whe I understood him right). While the entry point has to vary dependend on your pace. A girlfriend and former competition swimmer calls it: Get your arm full of water without any effort.

In both ways (hull forms) you'll have to find the right feeling and even the tiniest movement or position hold against tiny disturbance is not possible without tiny tension anywhere in your body. And balance is just the ability to hold these tensions tiny... and unvisible from outside...

(The famous conductor Karajan once said: Even the the world's best orchestras will run into faults, but they give the conductor the chance to correct it before anybody realizes them... So let's try to be our own swimming-conducter.)

Hope it will make some sense for you.

Best regards,
Werner
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  #6  
Old 09-29-2016
ti97
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post

Over many years slumped at a computer, I think my shoulders don't keep their proper position in my posture.
for all you younger folks reading this...sitting is a killer -- very literally. plenty has been written about this.

look into a standing desk, you will feel much more alert and your posture will not deteriorate.

if you must sit, then be sure to stand up every 30 minutes for at least 30 seconds.
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  #7  
Old 10-08-2016
Hakken
 
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Default sitting/leg crossing

Yes, sitting is a very big negative. When I dove into TI 15 years ago my back was still regularly going out and weight or size was not an issue. Now, I understand that every effort I made in drills was going up against my body that was twisted from the pelvis. When I joined a gym five years ago one of my shoulders was obviously much lower than the other. My trainer had me do single leg pelvic thrust for 2 years! until, finally, my shoulders were square. I've been back into TI for a few months now and every thing seems easier. As with any sport, a base level of conditioning is critical. It's not sexy, core strength and inner muscle balance is where it all begins and ends.
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