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-   -   The difference between anchoring and pulling with the sweep hand (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7965)

Danny 04-24-2015 02:23 PM

The difference between anchoring and pulling with the sweep hand
 
This question seems to come up a lot on this forum: What is the difference between anchoring with your sweep hand as opposed to pulling through the water? Both actions involve exerting force with the same muscles. This morning as I was swimming a distinction occurred to me, which I would like to run by people here.

Pulling with the sweep hand exerts a force on the water, which is used to propel your body forward. The implicit assumption behind this statement is that the greater the force the more propulsion you get. I think the main distinctions between pulling and anchoring are timing and coordination. When you anchor, the force you exert with the anchored hand is measured out very carefully depending on what the other side of your body with the spearing hand is doing. For example, I tend to wait before exerting force with my anchored hand, perhaps longer than others, until my body has rotated enough so that my spearing shoulder is moving horizontally forward, as opposed to going down into the water. Even then, once this has happened, I am only exerting enough force on the anchored hand to move my spearing shoulder forward in a horizontal line. If the anchored hand moves too fast, the coordination between the two sides is lost, and my sense is that energy is wasted. In summary, pulling is an action done on one side of your body without sufficient consideration of its consequences on the other side, whereas anchoring is a whole body coordination, where force on one side is measured out to achieve the desired effect on the other side.

It is reasonable to ask what it is on the spearing side which needs to be coordinated with the anchoring hand. I am not sure of the answer to this, but here is my conjecture. Our bodies are built so that the shoulders on each side can move independently of each other, but efficient swimming occurs when the shoulders move as if they were attached to each other on a straight axis. By doing this, more power in our stroke comes from the core body, where the bigger muscles can do the work. Keeping this axis straight during the stroke requires coordination of the two sides, and I think that is what I am referring to above. I must concede that I am not entirely sure of this analysis and would like to hear other points of view.

Zenturtle 04-24-2015 03:03 PM

Like a lot of descriptions in TI , I regard them as descriptions of feelings rather than facts.
In that sense, and if they are working for a lot of people, they are usefull.

I go along with the timing sensation you describe.

Danny 04-24-2015 03:28 PM

If my second conjecture is correct, then this gives an objective meaning to the feeling of anchoring. The force on the anchor must be controlled so as to keep the two shoulders moving as if they were connected by a rigid straight line. This is the difference between anchoring and pulling.

sclim 04-24-2015 11:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danny (Post 52717)
If my second conjecture is correct, then this gives an objective meaning to the feeling of anchoring. The force on the anchor must be controlled so as to keep the two shoulders moving as if they were connected by a rigid straight line. This is the difference between anchoring and pulling.

This sounds reasonable and makes sense. So what is the configuration of this rigid straight line?

Earlier you said "but efficient swimming occurs when the shoulders move as if they were attached to each other on a straight axis." This confuses me a little, because in this context I tend to associate the word "axis" to mean one of the two directions mutually at right angles to each other to form the reference coordinates of a 2 dimensional plane. (Or one of the three directions in a 3 dimensional solid space).

Ignoring the earlier reference to "axis", the rigid straight line between the shoulders would be obliquely oriented with respect to the longitudinal axis. In other words, the rigid line is occupied in real life by the muscles and bones and joints of the shoulder girdle, which at this moment is tilted, with the shoulder of the recovering and entering hand transitioning to a forward position relative to the shoulder of the anchoring hand (and arm). The lead shoulder is still above the anchoring shoulder, but it is descending, and as the spearing action becomes played out, and transitions eventually to catch and anchor, the lead shoulder drops below the rearward prior anchoring shoulder which then becomes the recovering shoulder and rises above the waterline...etc.

Meanwhile, in an idealised situation, the spine may rotate left and right, but still occupies the position of the longitudinal axis.

So that connecting line you refer to corresponds to the structures of the (now obliquely aligned) shoulder girdle, and in fact constitutes the rigid structure that transfers and transmits the force of the anchoring arm against the water to the structures attached to the other end of the shoulder girdle 1) attached via the "shoulder joint" (i.e. the gleno-humeral joint): the entering and spearing arm and hand and 2) attached to the connections between the shoulder-blade and the left edge of the trunk: the rest of the trunk, which also gets driven forward by the anchoring plus rotating shoulder-girdle force. Of course, the kicking leg driving the hip also imparts a simultaneous forward force to the trunk.

If by "keeping this axis straight..." you mean "maintaining the rigidity of the connection between the point of generation of force and the point of transferral of force", I fully agree with you that it requires the coordination of the two sides, and in fact I would go further and say that it is a very complex coordination of the trunk and limbs requiring very precise adjustments of linear and angular forces and movements in 3 dimensional and rotational space to maintain that efficient transfer of anchoring force and muscular energy into forward motion of swimmer, and not into useless movement of water.

Makes sense to me.

Danny 04-24-2015 11:49 PM

sclim, you have fleshed out my explanation with a lot of detail, and I'm not sure that my knowledge of anatomy is up to deciding whether or not you have it right, but it sounds to me like you do. I don't mean that this axis should be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. I see it more like the kayak paddle that has come up in earlier conversations on this subject. A rigid paddle will work better than one which flops around as it paddles. Not sure if this analogy helps or not. Anyway, keeping the paddle rigid means that the two shoulders must work in concert with another, and this may be what distinguishes "anchoring" from "arm pulling".

sclim 04-25-2015 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danny (Post 52729)
sclim, you have fleshed out my explanation with a lot of detail, and I'm not sure that my knowledge of anatomy is up to deciding whether or not you have it right, but it sounds to me like you do. I don't mean that this axis should be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. I see it more like the kayak paddle that has come up in earlier conversations on this subject. A rigid paddle will work better than one which flops around as it paddles. Not sure if this analogy helps or not. Anyway, keeping the paddle rigid means that the two shoulders must work in concert with another, and this may be what distinguishes "anchoring" from "arm pulling".

It's a great analogy and very useful. As long as we remember that this paddle is "live" as well as rigid, and doesn't have to be passively rigid. In other words, even being rigid enough to transmit force as you describe, it is smart enough to allow for a patient lead hand, and each paddle doesn't have to be always 180 degrees from the other.

I had to use the detail, because the discussion between participants was getting bogged down when "rotation" used by one participant was understood in a different sense by another participant. For instance one person would mean rotation of the head out of the water, and anther person would think that meant rotation of the head on the trunk axis. So the only resort to give a chance for agreement or non-agreement was to specify each term unambiguously, which meant cumbersome detail. Sorry.

(I know some anatomy, but I'm relatively ignorant, or at least agnostic about swimming. I'm trying to finesse the former knowledge into some clarity about the latter, but it's obviously not a sure thing). BTW have you done the 1 lb hand weight thing yet? I'm trying to imagine the consequences, but I'm getting a confusing mental picture, lol.

Zenturtle 04-25-2015 08:08 AM

I found this article gives some insight in shoulder connection
http://www.lakeshoreswimclub.com/art...20-%20Free.pdf

jenson1a 04-25-2015 10:18 AM

wow What an interesting article. Gives a lot of info on range of motion, rhythm and timing, balance, body roll and streamlining, and many informative pictures to illustrate the narrative.

tks for posting

Sherry

Danny 04-25-2015 01:47 PM

Yes, interesting article, but overwhelming. I saved it on my laptop to use as a reference.

novaswimmer 04-25-2015 01:49 PM

I think, and I might be wrong, that the term 'anchoring' just refers to a sensation that the 'pulling' arm should not just be slicing thru the water during the pulling phase, but should remain more or less 'motionless' in relation to the floor of the pool, while the body glides effortlessly over it. In other words, the 'anchoring' arm takes 'hold' of the water such that the body is the only thing moving in relation to the bottom of the pool.

If you were to do a time lapse during the pulling phase and marked the pulling arms location in relation to the bottom of the pool, it should be more or less at the same location.

Of course this will NEVER happen because every body -- even that of Shinji -- has at least SOME drag, which requires that the pulling arm has some 'slippage' thru the water ... yes, even the slightest bit. There can never be a perfectly anchored arm as long as there is a thing called 'drag' and as long as water is less dense than the ground, in my opinion.

I don't think -- and again I could be wrong -- that anchoring only refers to an early portion of the catch / pull phase.

The term 'anchor' can help some people. It certainly isn't a sensation that I have experienced in my own journey yet due to my higher level of drag -- which I'm working on!

Perhaps it will be something I'll feel in the future....as one evolves from the actual sensation of pulling to one of anchoring.

So in all that, I think it's semantics.

sclim 04-25-2015 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by novaswimmer (Post 52743)
I think, and I might be wrong, that the term 'anchoring' just refers to a sensation that the 'pulling' arm should not just be slicing thru the water during the pulling phase, but should remain more or less 'motionless' in relation to the floor of the pool, while the body glides effortlessly over it. In other words, the 'anchoring' arm takes 'hold' of the water such that the body is the only thing moving in relation to the bottom of the pool.

If you were to do a time lapse during the pulling phase and marked the pulling arms location in relation to the bottom of the pool, it should be more or less at the same location.

Of course this will NEVER happen because every body -- even that of Shinji -- has at least SOME drag, which requires that the pulling arm has some 'slippage' thru the water ... yes, even the slightest bit. There can never be a perfectly anchored arm as long as there is a thing called 'drag' and as long as water is less dense than the ground, in my opinion.

I don't think -- and again I could be wrong -- that anchoring only refers to an early portion of the catch / pull phase.

The term 'anchor' can help some people. It certainly isn't a sensation that I have experienced in my own journey yet due to my higher level of drag -- which I'm working on!

Perhaps it will be something I'll feel in the future....as one evolves from the actual sensation of pulling to one of anchoring.

So in all that, I think it's semantics.

Actually, elite swimmers have so little slippage that their hand exits ahead of their entry point (using the pool as a reference grid). OK, maybe it's due to other factors other than less slippage than us mere mortals, but it's amazing to me that it can actually be done. BTW Colwyn makes a reference to this point in the article that ZT linked to.

sclim 04-25-2015 02:27 PM

And, Danny, now that I have got into thinking of my shoulder girdle as a kayak paddle, I realise that this concept, in itself, does not help to distinguish the "pulling" concept from the "anchoring" concept. It all depends on your mental frame of reference.

For instance, you could be sitting in your kayak and be visualising sweeping the water backwards with your paddle. Or you could visualise the water as being the thick mud at the bottom, and you could plant your paddle in this thick medium and just pole your kayak forward. What different arm and trunk muscles would be used by this mental shift? None that I can see.

Of course, the efficient kayaker would stabilise the shoulder girdle on his trunk, then use trunk and core rotation to perform this action, which would thus become much more efficient. But he could do this whether paddling forwards, or with his kayak bolted down to a bracket on the bottom in a lab and actually paddling a plume of water backwards, so it's not as if the muscles change depending on which component is fixed and which moves.

Zenturtle 04-25-2015 02:37 PM

IN my last swim I concentrated on relaxed arm entry and moving my body past my imaginary supersize paddle and although a lot is only in the mind, it does work!
I think it mostly gives a more patient pulling arm.
When you imagine you are pulling your body past your anchored arm, you just wait a little longer until your arm finally is hooked in a strong position and then start to accelerate while the body accelerates its bodyroll. That extra bit of time is just enough to set the paddle in its optimal position and mentally focus on using it as pivot point, preparing the core muscles for the upcoming desired actions.
In that way it might stimulate using different muscles, although the differnce is subtle.
Switching between being relaxed one moment and tone the body to corkscrew it past that hand has to be done with just the right timing to get that wow factor.
I often find I take the tension from the arm in the pull along into the recovery and then suddenly realise I have to relax the arm there.
Repeating this relaxation -tension cycle over and over at a slow pace is often the best way to make it a habit.

Danny 04-25-2015 02:48 PM

In response to Novaswimmer's question, yes, anchoring is supposed to mean no slippage with the hand. The question is how to do this and what must be done to hinder this slippage.

As for the claim (which I have heard many times) that a good swimmer's hand exits at a point relative to the pool that is in front of where it went in, I am at a loss to explain the physics or hydrodynamics of this. Can anyone help? The article ZT posted claims that this is an indication that the swimmer is not losing momentum, which is hard to deny, but it also seems to indicate that his hand stroke may be slowing him down as opposed to propelling him forward.

The only explanation I can find for this is that the swimmer is sculling with his hand, in which case he gets propulsion without moving his hand backward. Are there any other factors to be taken into consideration?

Janos 04-25-2015 03:08 PM

Danny, think about the hand entering the water at a particular spot, and then dropping into the pull position and then following that through 180 degrees until the hand re-emerges from the water.
If your progress from the pull is not very effective, your hand will indeed come out close to where you put it in.
However, if your hand enters the water and you kick effectively, and then follow with a hip drive against the catch, you will gain more impetus, and glide. Which means your body will be further down the pool relative to each stroke compared to less efficient technique. Hence the reason why we strive for a lower stroke count.

Zenturtle 04-25-2015 03:16 PM

Looking at the entry and exit point of a hand is a very ineffective way of judging the slippage of the ^anchored^ hand.
After entry the hand moves forward a lot before any anchoring has taken place. A good kick and a long glide gives the hand a lot of forward movement before its taken out the water again.
Look at the bubble trail on his entering hands and how much the hand is dragged forward before the actual pulling begins.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv_sDYHYzFw

Watching the handposition against the water or the tilebackground in a pool during it backwards pulling movement is the true accesment of slippage during the pull.
A good kick can improve the imaginary hold on the water if the arms just idle with the speed of the body, produced by the kick.
We have to put on fins to have an idea how that feels, but elite kickers have that kicking rear propulsion at their disposal.

Most swimmers pull with a dropped elbow, and this makes it more difficult to tell the mind that the arm is not slipping,
The slippage is so severe, that the mind cannot be fooled anymore.
Good swimmers also can have a partly dropped elbow, but often the rest of their stroke has good timing and kick so the downside isnt so obvious.
A straight arm is good enough to get the feeling of anchoring the arm I think, but the rest of the stroke must be pretty good also to make the mind believe the arm is anchored.
The arm shape does make a difference on the basic slippage, although it maybe shouldnt be the most important priority for learning swimmers.
just compare right and left arm slippage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMDaPqesTws

if you have more issues with your stroke, the changes of having an anchored feeling are getting pretty small.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6s3BQFhLVU
Advicing to focus on a high elbow catch and pull here? Not the first thing on the list probably.(but would make live a lot easier. also for this swimmer. Now he pushes down with a big paddle and backwards with a small one. Not the best combination)

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have good balance, streamline and a straight bodyline, a pretty good anchoring of the arm is possible, even without extreme armpositions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV83Tkq_WB4

sclim 04-25-2015 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danny (Post 52749)
In response to Novaswimmer's question, yes, anchoring is supposed to mean no slippage with the hand. The question is how to do this and what must be done to hinder this slippage.

As for the claim (which I have heard many times) that a good swimmer's hand exits at a point relative to the pool that is in front of where it went in, I am at a loss to explain the physics or hydrodynamics of this. Can anyone help? The article ZT posted claims that this is an indication that the swimmer is not losing momentum, which is hard to deny, but it also seems to indicate that his hand stroke may be slowing him down as opposed to propelling him forward.

The only explanation I can find for this is that the swimmer is sculling with his hand, in which case he gets propulsion without moving his hand backward. Are there any other factors to be taken into consideration?

How about some distance contribution from the kick?

sojomojo 04-25-2015 05:06 PM

This thread on “anchoring and pulling” made me recall a YouTube video by Coach Suzanne Atkinson that was very helpful to me. I still take time to do the “swing push drill” since I always regress back to pulling too hard and too fast with my arm. One of these days, I’m going to break that habit and learn to always gently PUSH the water.

https://youtu.be/JeHQyqI7zq0

4:00 Catch & Pull (PUSH the water, not PULL)

5:40 Creating an Anchor

Danny 04-25-2015 06:48 PM

Good point, ZT, there's a lot of forward arm motion after the hand enters the water.

Streak 04-25-2015 07:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sojomojo (Post 52754)
This thread on “anchoring and pulling” made me recall a YouTube video by Coach Suzanne Atkinson that was very helpful to me. I still take time to do the “swing push drill” since I always regress back to pulling too hard and too fast with my arm. One of these days, I’m going to break that habit and learn to always gently PUSH the water.

https://youtu.be/JeHQyqI7zq0

4:00 Catch & Pull (PUSH the water, not PULL)

5:40 Creating an Anchor

Brilliant video. This will be my focus for my next swim. Very guilty of pulling with too much power.

CoachStuartMcDougal 04-25-2015 07:47 PM

We had a student in workshop last weekend who was an avid/expert "canoer". Much like anchoring arm in freestyle, she described the paddle is anchored in front of body, the paddler then moves canoe past the paddle using the whole body from the core. Paddle remains in place, "hooked in" as canoe moves forward, no lateral movement or twist of paddle. Paddle slices in quiet on entry and slides out gently at exit - no paddle flip or flick.

Stuart

sclim 04-25-2015 09:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal (Post 52760)
We had a student in workshop last weekend who was an avid/expert "canoer". Much like anchoring arm in freestyle, she described the paddle is anchored in front of body, the paddler then moves canoe past the paddle using the whole body from the core. Paddle remains in place, "hooked in" as canoe moves forward, no lateral movement or twist of paddle. Paddle slices in quiet on entry and slides out gently at exit - no paddle flip or flick.

Stuart

I'm not a canoeist, but the essential anchoring action sounds like a specific intent not to pivot on a point above water (causing not only an outward arc of the tip of the paddle, but also angulation of the face of the paddle upward and forward at the front of the stroke and angulation the other way at the back of the stroke), but rather to keep path of the stroke in a straight line parallel to the canoe, and to keep the paddle vertical from front to rear of stroke. Rather like the TI "parallel tracks" and "vertical forearm" mental guidelines. And tying those movements to core muscle power rather than arm muscle power.


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