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  #1  
Old 03-12-2009
jang53 jang53 is offline
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jang53
Default Heavily muscular

Hi folks,

I'm new to TI and very excited about the program but I'm worried about frustration. I'm 6'3", 195 lbs and maintain about 8% body fat. I am struggling with finding balance and letting the water support me during my basic back balance drills. Sweet spot is virtually impossible right now. It is a constant struggle to keep my lower body elevated despite what I believe to be a good head position. Any advice from others with similar problems would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-12-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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Have you tried extending an arm out in sweet spot? This is the drill after the initial back float drill. The advantage of the arm is weight. If you have long legs and a shorter chest, then you'll need more weight than some in order to get your balance.

If you are having trouble relaxing, that messes with balance too.
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Old 03-12-2009
freshegg freshegg is offline
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Are you male or female? Just kidding.

There has been a lot of discussion about this issue in these forums, but nobody seems to have the answer. If you read through the long thread on "body type" begun by FredMcG, you'll at least see that you're not alone in your frustration.

I'm not "heavily" muscular like you, but I am muscular, with 13% body fat, although I'm much smaller than you (5'8", 140lbs). I also struggle to keep my lower body from sinking. Keeping the arm extended and down will help a little, although I have found that it doesn't make a huge difference. Relaxing will definitely help. But for myself, at any rate, I have found what helps the most is to really focus on keeping my legs straight, with my toes as pointed as possible to keep myself as lengthened and streamlined as possible. The difference in your buoyancy between having pointed toes vs having even moderately flexed or relaxed toes is surprisingly noticeable. Those tiny little appendages can create a lot of drag! I try to imagine my toes pointing back up towards the ceiling, which keeps me lengthened and, by default, my legs stretched back up to the surface of the water. It is important to keep your core muscles engaged, though, so you don't end up sway-backed by doing this. If you're as strong as you sound, that shouldn't be much of a problem, though.

I have also found that it is much easier to keep my lower body raised if I swim whole stroke, or at least do the drills faster. The slower you move through the water, the more opportunity it gives your lower body to sink. So when you are doing your drills, maybe speed them up a bit?

And don't let the frustration get the better of you !! So much of swimming is remaining mentally positive.
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Old 03-13-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
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Also remember to LEAN IN to the water. You have to try to feel relaxed and a proper head position also means no tension in your neck. Coach Gary small pointed this out in one of the coaches blogs about tension in your neck can help cause the body to sink. Release your heads weight to the water and relax the neck.It may not be easy to relax your body or different parts at first but with this in mind it will help as you progress.Don't over roll but roll enough to clear the shoulder.

Dave
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Old 03-13-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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There is always the possibility of leveraging your muscle and sinking legs by doing breaststroke instead, at least at first.
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Old 03-13-2009
jang53 jang53 is offline
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By toes pointed do you mean at the end of the pool or pointed up at the ceiling? Thanks for the tips
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
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pointed toward the end of the pool.

Dave
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2009
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi jang53

Your frustration is understandable but you may derive some encouragement from the fact that James "Doc" Counsilman, in his famous book The Science of Swimming, mentions that two of his world class swimmers had very different body compositions.

Here is the quotation:

"A few years ago our team had two world record holders who were examples of the extremes in buoyancy. Tom Stock, world record holder in the backstroke, was so buoyant that he could float on his back in a horizontal position, while Chet Jastremski, world record holder in the breaststroke, could not float in any position."
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Old 03-13-2009
naj naj is offline
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If its any consolation Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak all have problems with floating as well :) I had a similar problem like you when I started TI. So, I decided to use fins in the drills and that helped a lot. They helped me concentrate on lying into the water, keeping my neck relaxed and doing everything very tall or extended and relaxed. Hope this helps.
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2009
jang53 jang53 is offline
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Thanks. I was initially concerned about using fins and floatation aids because I feared becoming reliant on them. I think I'll just start using them to ingrain the feeling of being horizontal and then slowly progress away from them.
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