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  #1  
Old 02-08-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Default Maximum (stable) stroke rate training

I haven't read a lot of tips on learning how to increase maximum stroke rate systematically (or in other words with a TT) so thought I'd start a thread on the subject so that the knowledge can be shared.

I was practicing this today with some single 25's, starting on TT 0.96 and going down in 0.03 increments everytime I swam 4 stable lengths at one setting.

At 0.87 I started to get stuck until I remembered a tip from my 'learn to juggle 3 balls in an hour' book which said 'always stop before you drop'

Translating this tip to swimming I decided to push off in rhythm with the tt and less forcefully and then focus on swimming 8 strokes with a normal breath in the middle, followed by a double length recovery stroke on number 8 to reset.

By breaking down the task this way I was able to hold two lengths at 0.72 which is a huge improvement on my max (stable) stroke rate and my SPL was 24 for the 30yd pool which I consider very acceptable.

A good talent code session, that I think I will repeat once a week or so.

Please share any other tips for improving max stroke rate.
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  #2  
Old 02-08-2013
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Interesting - I'm curious what 'points' you're finding which help quicken the pace. Rotating less? Shortening the pull? Whipping through recovery? (Just imagining these)
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  #3  
Old 02-08-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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This is a delicate question, so let me be careful here.

First off, TI isn't about developing swingers for now, so I'll assume in my answer that it pertains to smooth type swimmers, since this is what TI heavily promotes.

The official answer so to speak on how to improve smooth type's ability to increase the rate would be to ensure that the catch mechanics, ie ensuring that the swimmer gets faster into catch position. So it's the spear that has to be looked at here.

In order to better express my thoughts on this aspect, I'd like to propose an analogy.

It's often been said that we should not think about the pulling as moving the hand backward, but rather anchoring and propelling our body forward. I agree to this to a certain extent. It is a beneficial way of feeling the arm pulling, but it does not accurately describe what is actually happening. In order to correctly express my thoughts on your question, I need to propose a bit of a compromise as an analogy:

Anchoring, but anchoring to what exactly? I'd say anchoring to a ball would be about right.

Feel for water, ie pressure under the palm of the hand can be compared to growing an air ball or air balloon under the hand. The anchoring then is in relation to this. It sure moves backward a bit, just like your hand definitely does move backward whilst swimming. It's possible to anchor on it, and move our body over it (over our catch so to speak).

Just to make sure I'm correctly understood. The greater the feel for water, the bigger the ball. Wear huge hand paddles, and you just purchase yourself a huge hand ball which makes anchoring even easier. If you have no feel (no dps), you swim with ping pong size balls under the hand. If you sustain a pace of 1:15/100m @ 14 strokes, you have soccer size balloon under the hands to pull your body over.

All right, now that we're on the same page analogy wise...

When you swim at 1.3, the magnitude of the glide after the spear is resulting into no pressure anymore to be felt under the palm of the hand. The hand enters, there's a small ball there, but it deflates during the glide, and re-inflates once you start pulling (or anchoring to move the body over).

This is this particular deflate-inflate action which slows down the rate. And this is where a Smooth swimmer can improve the ability to carry higher rates. Ideally, you want to enter the hand/spear then move the ball immediately under you (or your body over it). There needs to be no time for deflating-inflating back the balloon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CAyiBXmoMI

In the above clip, we see Yang's underwater technique. We can presume that there's some level of deflating before re-inflating in his case. The point of interest in this clip is that by minute 1:05 roughly, you can clearly see underwater technique of 2 very different swimmers: Yang vs Ryan.

We can assume based on Ryan's technique that he keeps the ball inflated. Hand seems to continue going down on spear then rolls the catch underneath much faster than Yang.

If Yang wanted to increase the rate as much as Ryan, he would probably have to modify is catch technique to get rid of this deflating-inflating action. And doing this would be - in my opinion - mandatory if he wanted to stand the mere chance against Ryan in rough condition open water swim.
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  #4  
Old 02-08-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I skimmed Charles reply, not because it wasn't interesting or valuable but because I didn't want my reply to be too influenced by his.

My PR for 100 is 1:21 I have swum this twice, both in the past month or so. The first time I was all out flailing, inhaling water instead of breathing, arms flyig all over hte place, SPL on my final length I think was 25 or 27. Out. Of. Control!!! I estimated this tempo to be about .73

Over the intervening few weeks I practiced swimming 100s at .85, .90, .95, trying to hold pace each one. This was actually facilitated by Charles as we brainstormed ways to maintain "TI INtegrity" while practicing sprint specific technique

ie. Swim 100 at .85. Match that pace at .90, and match that pace again at .95. This means that strokes need to get increasingly longer and not by a small margin. Losing water on the catch costs a lot of length in the stroke. Note that I have yet to maintain the same speed for each of these, but I've been practicing. This is a far, far better specific way to train power than paddles IMO.

About 3-4 weeks later I did a descending set of :
4 x 200 800 pace
3 x 200 500 pace
2 x 200 300 pace
100 Fast

In this set each round was at a faster pace. I allowed SPL to climb by 1 or 2 within each round. The pace I'd set for myself for the 2x 200 was equal to my 300 max...so these were doable but not easy especially after the first 7 x 200. on the 9th 200 I matched my 200PR, even though I wasn't trying to. I actually thought that I had beat it, so instead of swimming 200 fast for a new PR, I chose to swim 100 fast thinking I might be on track to beat THAT PR .

I matched my previous 1:21 pace...but at about 5 fewer strokes per length than the month prior. Let me tell you what the feeling was like (this is when I stopped reading Charles's post...)

Body rotation was "just enough" to get the hips to roll but not delay recovery. Recover was bent elbow (short lever) and very relaxed from shoulder to fingertips to get that spearing arm int he water as soon as possible. The recovery was a "lateral raise" motion and not a reaching motion.

The catch...AHHH the catch...it was magical...

I experienced a sensation of pressure from the inner fleshy part of my biceps clear down inside my elbow and forearm and this pressure rolled under my body as my arms crawled through a pit of giant inflated balls or balloons as quickly and strong as I could manage...without disrupting the balls. That is, not gently as in slowly and not forcefully as in thrashing the water around. But careful placement, quick catch, strong hold of the shape and powering forward over it. (It never felt like a pull...always an "over" if that make sense).

Imagine you are body surfing on a pit of those balls at McDonalds in the childrens zone...but instead of them being 4" around they are 3 feet around. Imagine that someone is pushing you from behind, you're surfing over the balls and every spear forward reaches over the front of the ball you're approaching, rolls over the top of it without pushing ot down and then pushes the ball back int he direction you just came from.

I never felt as fast or as powerful int he water as the first 25 of that length...then I just tried my best to hold onto it.

I realize that 1:21 is not horribly fast, but I write this to contrast the 2 times I swam the same speed separated by a few weeks of practicing iso tempo fast swimming...in very small amounts. Literally just 400 or 500 yards of it once per week.

It took a great deal MORE body strength and swim specific water feel to do the 2nd 1:21...however my tempo was significantly slower than the first. Maintaing THAT sort of feel and repeating the whole process over again will surely get me down into the 1:teens in a few weeks...


For reference, I'm 5'3" & 44 years old. And I did about 40 pushups last night. :)
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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You didn't read mine? I didn't read yours. Gna-gna!! LOL

I really love this ball analogy, as one can see the ball slipping away from the hands, requires handling skills to handle them at higher rate. But they're balls, they offer great support. Given good feel for water, these balls are big enough to anchor to em. There will be slipperage (no one on earth can anchor to the water without slipperage. Best swimmers generally see their hand exiting further then they entered in the water, but that's because of the spear).

For your info, and to get you to understand the sort of dilemma I face for ultra-smooth swimmers. Luc was put on this set (the 4x100). Here's one of his results, most of them are consistent:

1er 100m @ 81rpm = 1min01
2nd 100m @ 76rpm = 1min00
3rd 100m @ 71rpm = 58sec
4rd 100m @ 66rpm = 1min02

So there's a clear sweet spot closer to 70rpm in his case. Would he feel happy having to stroke at CSS pace @ 80rpm? I doubt so.
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
The catch...AHHH the catch...it was magical...

I experienced a sensation of pressure from the inner fleshy part of my biceps clear down inside my elbow and forearm and this pressure rolled under my body as my arms crawled through a pit of giant inflated balls or balloons as quickly and strong as I could manage...without disrupting the balls. That is, not gently as in slowly and not forcefully as in thrashing the water around. But careful placement, quick catch, strong hold of the shape and powering forward over it. (It never felt like a pull...always an "over" if that make sense).

Imagine you are body surfing on a pit of those balls at McDonalds in the childrens zone...but instead of them being 4" around they are 3 feet around. Imagine that someone is pushing you from behind, you're surfing over the balls and every spear forward reaches over the front of the ball you're approaching, rolls over the top of it without pushing ot down and then pushes the ball back int he direction you just came from.

I never felt as fast or as powerful int he water as the first 25 of that length...then I just tried my best to hold onto it.
You were juggling with those balloons. This is awesome, and this is exactly the ability that a smooth type swimmer has to develop in order to be happy increasing the rate!

There's a strong psychological component to these smooth types. One of them being that they're perfectionist. Don't alter their pride: DPS. They want to stroke faster, as they feel they sometimes need to, but not at all costs! They want swimming to remain a nice spiritual/mental challenge and are generally unsatisfied when they feel that their stroke falls apart.

The swinger will go "Stroke? Apart? What do you mean, me I just swing and my sole focal point is to build my next grocery list". They suck because they can still be bloody fast, and even beat a smooth type in open water that'd normally be much faster in the pool. They care less about their stroke form, and as long as they move they don't question the way they do it.

Now, I am still answer-less as to if 80spm is a rate a smooth type can be happy with. I still haven't recovered from realizing that these damn ITU triathletes seemed to need to stroke that fast in Auckland 2011.

Research research research....

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
At 0.87 I started to get stuck until I remembered a tip from my 'learn to juggle 3 balls in an hour' book which said 'always stop before you drop'

Translating this tip to swimming I decided to push off in rhythm with the tt and less forcefully and then focus on swimming 8 strokes with a normal breath in the middle, followed by a double length recovery stroke on number 8 to reset.
Again that jiggling with balls analogy here, a perfect fit to describe this phenomenon, as we're literally speaking about handling/feeling skills here (as opposed to fitness skills).

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 02-08-2013 at 10:21 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-08-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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I bought a set of juggling balls once and a book to teach me how to juggle and I was able to juggle in a very elementary way after a few hours practice. I remember that somewhere in the book it raised the question of how many balls you should be able to juggle before you could consider yourself a decent juggler. The slightly jokey answer was "one more ball than you can juggle at present", which probably translates quite well into swimming terms.

Incidentally I watched a video of Anthony Ervin swimming a short course 50 yard and 100 yard race at a recent YMCA meet and was suitably impressed with his speed and rather low stroke count. I think he was doing about eleven strokes per length in the 100 yards and less on the first length after the dive and I think twelve for the final length.

Here's the link to the 50 yard ace on the swimswam site. You have to scroll down to see the 100 yard race, which someone posted in a comment.

http://swimswam.com/anthony-ervin-50...r-ymca-a-meet/

Last edited by Richardsk : 02-08-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Yeah, this swimmer is yet another good example to illustrate my earlier thoughts.

He has a good grip. Imagine that he has a ball in each hand.

He spears it vigorously, diagonally. This is what's required to stroke at that rate assuming the feel for water.

In fact, several swingers (triathletes, due to wetsuit and lack of time to perfect the technique) report swimming this way. They lock the arm and spears putting body weight on it, thus bringing the ball rapidly under their center of gravity, or if you prefer, their center of gravity rapidly over the ball.

Your swimmer though displays more than decent spl because of an exceptional push off the wall (extremely streamline and perfect flip turn, bringing him at the perfect distance from the wall to perform an extremely explosive squat). As such, he's a smooth and efficient swimmer, but his loping still suggests that they're dps loss on left arm pull (similar to what Phelps had used us to). I like this sort of asymmetrical loping technique though, I'm not criticizing it.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 02-09-2013 at 12:04 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Charles - Keri Ann Payne Smooth or Swinger, or smooth swinger?

back to the post topic - for me the current SR limiter is my ability to control and limit hip rotation evenly on each side, particularly when turning to breathe, I don't see the catch as part of my own bottleneck presently.
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  #10  
Old 02-09-2013
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
Interesting - I'm curious what 'points' you're finding which help quicken the pace. Rotating less? Shortening the pull? Whipping through recovery? (Just imagining these)
I seldom swim faster than 1.0 tt in the pool, but did significant volumes between .90 and .95 in open water last summer and found I could acquire a sense of both leisure and the Silky Magic Catch Suzanne described in another thread or in her blog. It really is magic to convert pressure into locomotion at a brisk tempo. You Just. Go. Fast. Without really trying.

My main focus when swimming at a brisker tempo is to find places in my stroke to save milliseconds. Anywhere other than the catch. The three main places I do so include
1) Just enough rotation. Any more wastes time.
2) Tight amplitude on 2BK. More spread wastes time.
3) Minimize time out of water on recovery. In fact I mentally draw a laser line between the place where my hand exits and where I'll make the catch -- then follow it.

This summer I'll try to adapt to tempos down to .85 and feel all the same sensations described above.
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Last edited by terry : 02-09-2013 at 02:33 AM.
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