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  #1  
Old 09-26-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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novaswimmer
Default The so called Hour-Glass underwater pull

Someone posted this Phelps video in another thread, and I noticed, what looks to me at least, like he is incorporating a prominant hour-glass shaped pull. I commented in that thread but thought I should start a new thread about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax77_hHq9Dc

Beginning at about 0:09 in the video, he really seems to be demonstrating an hour-glass shape to 'mid-pull' part of the stroke (rather than the parallel 'wide-tracks' that are so often advocated in TI). At one point his hand is nearly perfectly centered below his body. Does this movement aid in rotation? I noticed Terry doing it in some videos as well, but maybe that's just my imagination? I don't recall any mention of it in an old TI book that I have at home. I have tried it in my stroke and it seems to aid in rotation a bit for me. Otherwise, I can't see it serving a purpose, as it is a horizontal movement and could not contribute directly to propulsion -- or can it? The only other thing I can think of is it might be easier on the shoulders and allow for a more powerful stroke position.

One website comments:

Quote:
When you are pulling your body through the water with your arms, you want to maximize the amount of water pulled. Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, the last thing you want to do when swimming is pull your arm through the water in a straight line. Instead, practice an S shape, so that if you were to pull both arms together simultaneously, the resulting path would resemble an hourglass silhouette.
This (the quote) doesn't help me at all and doesn't explain WHY to do it exactly.

Note at about 0:51 in Terry's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC8ZZZhabp4

It seems to be more accentuated in his right arm than the left. But that may be due to the angle of the shot.

This topic has probably been brought up before, so bear with me.

Last edited by novaswimmer : 09-26-2016 at 04:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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yeah, thats an age old debate.
But I am with you that a real straight line is not optimal. A little S shape is just a more natural movement and links the exit and entry in a more circular way.
But I am talking about 4 inches deviation from a straight line, leaving only a shallow S shape.
Coaches will say that it should feel straight back, and the S is a consequence of the path observed from outside. The S formed by the addition of bodyroll on a straight path for the swimmer.
Not really true, when looking at the path from the swimmers perspective, 90% of the elites use a shallow S shape.
Phelps S is more S than most. Possibly because he is a butterflyer, where the S is still alive.
Never understood why the straight path is optimal for freestyle, but not for butterfly.
Or should we pull straight back in butterfly too?
Shinji has a little S pull too.

Not to say straight is bad. It just wont make a world of difference, in a good or bad sense.
One of the most straight path pullers is Cody Grimsey here. Probably his brother does the same and he is the fastest channel swimmer, so I cant say its bad either. He does make an early big paddle.Thats more important than the precise path probably.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6PtNd9Z4Hg

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-26-2016 at 06:16 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
Coaches will say that it should feel straight back, and the S is a consequence of the path observed from outside. The S formed by the addition of bodyroll on a straight path for the swimmer.
I think if you were to somehow 'map' or trace the hand along the floor of the pool (Phelps or Terry), you would see a zig zag line. I'm not buying the 'consequence of path observed from outside' thing. LOL!
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Old 09-26-2016
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Zenturtle,

Quote:
But I am with you that a real straight line is not optimal. A little S shape is just a more natural movement and links the exit and entry in a more circular way.
But I am talking about 4 inches deviation from a straight line, leaving only a shallow S shape.
Coaches will say that it should feel straight back, and the S is a consequence of the path observed from outside. The S formed by the addition of bodyroll on a straight path for the swimmer.
A lady friend, who trained some years ago togehter with some German's top swimmers told me: It's difficult to declare the meaning of the S-shape. The S is not useful as a prescribed path, it is the result of the feel for the water to find more traction in still and calm water...

In this context it does make sense to me, in real fast tempos every swimmer who is able to swim such a tempo and has the right feeling for calm water is searching it a little right/left from the straight path unconsciously. But for slower swimmers (like I) an anchored arm/hand and the feeling just let the water become a little like syrup will send me farther forward when my arm/hand moves as straight as possible or better remains still and my body glides over it...

In fly our whole body has to undulate up and down a neutral horizontal line, and the levers to press the upper body parts higher are a little bit better when your hands are more centered than in shoulder width.

Best regards,
Werner
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  #5  
Old 09-27-2016
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
I think if you were to somehow 'map' or trace the hand along the floor of the pool (Phelps or Terry), you would see a zig zag line. I'm not buying the 'consequence of path observed from outside' thing. LOL!
In freestyle, the path the low side arm follows is a consequence of the body rotating from one edge to the other edge. As the shoulders widen at mid rotation, the path will curve away from the body and as rotation completes and shoulders are narrow, the curve will move toward the body and then flare out by the hip as (low side) arm exits the water. This gentle or flat "s" like shape curve *is* observed, especially viewed in slow motion or frame x frame.

This path is a natural path, not one that's manipulated by the shoulder. Those that have manipulated that path, adding more lateral curve have ended up with overuse injuries and ruined many shoulders.

Terry and Shinji, perception wise, are focusing on the low side arm moving straight back, not changing its natural course from forward extension through exit at hip as the body rotates from one edge to the other edge.

Stuart
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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When I have shoulder trouble, its usually from the recovery.
Pain is present at the moment the arm is lifted out the water.
When doing an arm movement on dryland when the pain is there, making a 8 shape arm movement is less painfull than a movement path with small radius bends.
A big curve at the end of the stroke (from under body swung out ) to recovery prevents a jerky acceleration when lifting the arm, but moves the arm through the curve right into recovery. going wide and forward again, like a swimg that goes up again from the lowest point without any force.
So for me moving the arm in a 8 shape (looking from the front), with a small cirve at the front (top on dryland)and a larger curve at the back (bottom on dryland)is the only non-pain movement when the shoulder is irritated.
The swing at the bottom is synced with bodyrotation, body rotation helps to accelerate the arm up again (dryland description)
At the front, bodyrotation and arm movement combined naturally want to drop the arm toward the centerline, so the path that is happening naturally isnt always the right path, as a lot of optimal swimming movement are quite unnatural.
There we have to countersteer the natural movement a bit to let the arm drop in wider and keep it relatively wide from there for a while at the front of the underwaterpart.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-27-2016 at 06:17 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-27-2016
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thanx for sharing your experience with us this will help me lot.
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  #8  
Old 09-27-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Hello Zenturtle,

In fly our whole body has to undulate up and down a neutral horizontal line, and the levers to press the upper body parts higher are a little bit better when your hands are more centered than in shoulder width.

Best regards,
Werner
Werner, forgive me for getting a little off subject, but I am puzzled by your comments above. I sense that my shoulders are in a better, more stable, elbow-up position, in both fly and freestyle, when I have a wide position at the start of the catch. In fly I do go in up front on more or less parallel tracks, but the first thing I do before starting the catch is to widen the path of the hands with an S-shape before trying to kick over them. Notice that I say I try to kick over them, I don't try to use my catch to push my body over them, at least not consciously. So could you elaborate on what you mean by this?
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2016
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Danny,

seems more, you have to forgive me! I'm not a fly-swimmer nor have much insights in fly-theory (for now...). So it has been a more or less mad idea.

I thought when sitting at desk, hands on tabletop shoulder width aside and push up my body I do need more force in my arms than as the hands are centered. Thought in second case some of the needed force could be delivered to body's core. And then I thought this will help the body in fly to get higher than the hands which are below the body... Will try it next pool session, but might be best everyone should forget it...

Nevertheless best regards,
Werner
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Werner, I'm no expert in fly, but I think a lot of the same principles hold in fly that hold in freestyle. (1) you don't want to push water down, you want to push it back, (2) You don't want to be driving your motion with your arms, rather you want your body to drive the motion and only use the arms as anchors.

I think, when you are new to fly, you feel the need to push your head out in order to breath (in somewhat the same way that new freestylers want to lift their head to breath) but this is a bad idea. You want to keep your head and spine aligned. If your kick and core motion is well timed, your head will come out just enough but not too much, because too much will introduce unnecessary drag.

But again, we're off subject.

I think the S-shape pull is even more pronounced in fly than it is in freestyle, even though there is no body rotation. I suspect that this has something to do with the anatomy of the shoulder joint, both in fly and in freestyle, but that is just speculation on my part.
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