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  #1  
Old 10-27-2011
swimust swimust is offline
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Default The LATS! - the most kept secret in freestyle swimming?

why oh why?.. this is a true story.
On August 2010 (14 months ago) I had one day of "glory". This was the only day that I remember clearly as swimming TI (Shinji style) easy, smooth, in total control, and pain/stress free. It was a strange day which stayed very vague in my memory. I remember thinking totally outside the box and finding something new on that day.
4 days later I went back to the pool and it was gone. The clean controlled swim disappeared with no trace!.... 14 months went by in which I tried every possible way to create the recovery with my shoulder, elbow, all sorts of underwater pull to get reaction from the snap.
The mental state was not good at all.. I already found the "magic touch" (for only one day) and lost it... everyday the frustration gets bigger. I am turning mountains to find the gold dust.. no success. Many fake breakthrough events on the way failing under long distance swim or fast swim.
UNTIL YESTERDAY... when I posted here the thread asking about "vertical scapula": http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...ead.php?t=2787
and then I struck gold! I found CoachToddE! I owe him my swim. simple as that. He referred me to an article, this one: http://www.swimsmartsa.com/How_to_To...rm_paddles.pdf

Quote from this article:
“When the lats give out, get out!”

So today I went to the pool in hope. The article seemed to be very promising in theory. What I found in the water is this:
1) Zero shoulder stress or pain at start and during the recovery. The shoulder is not working anymore!! - this is the newbie wet dream. A dream come true.
2) Total control on the hand and the shoulder during recovery.
3) Great option for doing the shoulder blade extention at the entry because of this full control on the hand.
4) Zero lost of O2. I finished my laps feeling better and more energetic than when I started them. Its not just the overall feeling at the end of a session. Its the feeling after one fast lap. I felt like I havent lost any air after a fast lap at high tempo.
5) I did some light test of my SPL in slow pace(about 2sec/ per stroke). I did a normal average pull out of the wall. I got 12 strokes SPL on 25 meters(not yards) without doing any blade extention and with NO 2BK! (just a light fluffing of the feet). I wasnt too focused just curious, and got 12 SPL on 25m.

NOW, my question is how come such an important aspect of freestyle swimming is hardly mentioned anywhere in the world of swimming? Why do newbies have to suffer so much to get this info?

Ladies and Gents, the lats are the gear handle of freesyle swimming. They shift from pull stage to recovery stage. Thats my humble newbie opinion and I am sticking by that.
I would have no chance of swimming freestyle without them. I cant swim without them. I tried so many other things. Nothing else worked.
I would love to hear comments about the "gold dust" lats and learn more.

Thanks :)

P.S. Lats = "latissimus dorsi". The latissimus dorsi (plural: latissimi dorsi), meaning 'broadest muscle of the back' .
wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latissimus_dorsi_muscle
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Last edited by swimust : 10-27-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2011
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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There was some reference to this article in Links and References. It was posted by member BX. on the second screen of this thread. I believe that it references a different website, but the article is the same. It also shows some exercises you can do for the external rotators, and scapula. Also gives some elementary stretching exercises.

My question is how does one engage the lats? do you have to do a forearm paddle board. Does working on the lat pull down machine help you to have some muscle memory? What can you do while swimming to feel it in the lats?
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Old 10-27-2011
swimust swimust is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenson1a View Post
There was some reference to this article in Links and References. It was posted by member BX. on the second screen of this thread. I believe that it references a different website, but the article is the same. It also shows some exercises you can do for the external rotators, and scapula. Also gives some elementary stretching exercises.

My question is how does one engage the lats? do you have to do a forearm paddle board. Does working on the lat pull down machine help you to have some muscle memory? What can you do while swimming to feel it in the lats?
scroll down the article. I guess that you saw only the first top page. The article explains how "to find" and use the lats. Its easy. Just read it. You dont need water to find them, and then when you go to the water you know what to look for. No problem. I guess you have not read the 2 to 4 pages.
I was "flying" today in the water, but I also worked hard in the past on the other things. Because I couldnt find a solution to my recovery until today, I worked hard on many things while trying to find the answer, so finding the lats triggered everything to work well and in place.
I will start working now on long stable glide (using the blades) and my 2bk.
Its early days for me but I am on the other side of the mountain now :)
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Last edited by swimust : 10-27-2011 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 10-27-2011
swimust swimust is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenson1a View Post
There was some reference to this article in Links and References. It was posted by member BX. on the second screen of this thread. I believe that it references a different website, but the article is the same. It also shows some exercises you can do for the external rotators, and scapula. Also gives some elementary stretching exercises.

My question is how does one engage the lats? do you have to do a forearm paddle board. Does working on the lat pull down machine help you to have some muscle memory? What can you do while swimming to feel it in the lats?
ok, I havent really answered your question in my last reply. The article explains the 4Fs: Find-Focus-Flex-Feel. Read it there.
I just focused on that in the water. I gave my brain an order to search and find my lats. Its not as hard as it may sound. I focused on the lats on each stroke. I focused only on that after each hand pull. I guess that my memory muscle of the other things was good enough to make it work.
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Old 10-27-2011
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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No I did read the whole article. On page 2 it ids 4 elements to engage the lats--find the muscle (that's easy--it has a diagram), focus on the muscle, flex the muscle, and feel the muscle. This method uses mental visualation to activate various muscles. When I do a lat pulldown or a seated row, it is easy to feel the engagement of the lats. I have a problem engaging them in the pool. Need to do more visualation I guess. the article does make a lot of sense.

I am glad that you had such a tremendous breakthrough with this article. You certainly worked long enough and hard enough to recapture that ease in swimming that you felt so many months ago.

You are right--why don't we see more info on the use of the lats to aid in rotation.
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Old 10-27-2011
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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We must be on the same wave length--you just got your post in ahead of mine!! Tks for the info tho--will try it tomorrow.
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Old 10-27-2011
swimust swimust is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenson1a View Post
We must be on the same wave length--you just got your post in ahead of mine!! Tks for the info tho--will try it tomorrow.
I started slowly not rushing it and it got easier with practice. Do not rush it. Its a new thing for the brain to cope with. It will become automated later.
Its a big muscle and easy to engage. The brain has to work a bit hard here (to change old habits), not the muscle itself. The muscle has no problem, its a big strong muscle.
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Old 10-27-2011
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Default Untold Lats Story

Yes the lats are the largest muscle of the back and crucial for an efficient and powerful swim stroke. These are great learning points which I never thought of or dealt with prior to TI.

The untold story of the lats is this muscle can and does cause all sorts of problems for swimmers. They are a very restrictive and confining muscle for many pieces of a good stroke. Just lat development and activation is not enough.

It is crucial that this muscle be supple and stretched so as to allow for all those pieces of a stroke to work efficiently. Nagging shoulder pain sent me to my PT in July and he promptly told me that I needed to get my lats loose which would in turn ease the impingement of the muscles in the shoulder. Having worked with Joe (my PT) for years I had the fullest of confidence in his advise. I started to incorporate a intensive stretching program, specifically for back and shoulders, into my routine. This is not a b--- busting program but very much one which follows my bodies senses. I use thera bands, physio balls and most of all body thera balls.

The results have been very positive. Core strength has improved, shoulder flexibility greatly improved and most of all pain is slowly disappearing. (Except today as yesterday shoveled 10k of sand into a well) da.

One of the benefits I have found is now my spearing or lead arm can be at a shallower and more streamline depth. This is very much a work in progress but there is improvement and noticeable.

Much discussion has centered around the depth of spear and where the lead arm should be in relation to the water. Many on this forum use the Singi video as a baseline. It is great and gee it would be nice but reality is my body, age and many other pieces will never allow it.

Yes work the lats and learn activation, just let us take care of them as well.



Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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If you reach fully forward during spearing and then focus on the recovering arm rather than pulling with the extended arm, it's hard not to engage the lats.
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Old 10-28-2011
swimust swimust is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
If you reach fully forward during spearing and then focus on the recovering arm rather than pulling with the extended arm, it's hard not to engage the lats.
not in my case because I was intentionally looking for the shoulder (focusing on the shoulder) straight after the pull (the snap). I was skipping the lats because I didnt knew they exist!.. in my head, the only way to start the recovery was the shoulder and/or arm move. I had no lats awareness at all.
14 months ago I engaged the lats by accident for one day and then went back to the bad old routine in the next day. my story makes sense now.

@westyswoods - I wll try and keep my lats work as natural as possible in the water. I will not force it. Its against the TI philosophy to force issues. I am not forcing any issue, only doing what comes easy on the muscles.
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Last edited by swimust : 10-28-2011 at 09:49 AM.
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