Inhalation & Ease
I need some advice on breathing. My form & alignment seem to be reasonably OK, culled by constructive feedback from my TI Buddy Ananthaditya (Senior Member of this forum & a passionate TI'er). He has been kind enough to extensively cover my swims on video & correct me at various points in time. Scope of improvement is obviously there (Kaizen), but at the same time there isn’t fundamentally wrong or deviant from the TI approach. Thus at this stage I have made it my goal to get breathing out of the way, so that I can concentrate further on a zillion other aspects on my way to graceful & effortless swimming.
My Problem: Optimal Inhalation
I breath every stroke to my right. I mindfully exhale under water continuously. The first 2-3 breaths are fine, thereafter I observe that my head is either progressively deeper in water thus it becomes gradually difficult to inhale or even if I am able to inhale, I start to feel I am progressively short of breath.
Questions for which I am looking for answers:
Any advice or perspective around these problems is heartily welcome and appreciated!!!
There are several things that could make you gradually start to feel short of breath:
1) You may not be taking in enough air. I once worked with a swimmer who was lifting his head a bit every time he rolled to breathe, except that he couldn't hold it there because he was unbalanced in that position, and the result was that his head would then drop below the surface before he had time to completely fill his lungs. So his lungs would gradually get emptier and emptier on each stroke.
2) You could be wasting energy, causing you to get out of breath. The most common cause of this is doing too vigorous a kick, thereby wasting energy.
3) Your stroke may have slowed down as you became more efficient, which will cause you to breathe less often. But this should go away if you focus on staying relaxed.
If you're comfortable doing interrupted breathing, I'd suggest alternating between a regular breath and an interrupted breath, and as you do this, try to mentally compare what your body is doing on a regular breath and what it is doing on an interrupted breath, and try to figure out why the first doesn't let you get enough air, while the second does.
You can then try taking more than one regular breath between interrupted breaths, and see how many regular breaths you can add before you start to feel short of breath.
Thanks Coach, I really appreciate you taking the time to revert on this. I would be trying out the combination as adviced by you (alternating between rhythmic and interrupted breaths).
I had a follow-up question. I have been viewing the "Perpetual Motion Freestyle" DVD in the past 2 days to find a solution to my problem. In one of the lessons, Terry mentions something which he terms as "Semi Interrupted Breathing". I didn't quite understand what this is & how is it different from "Interrupted breathing". Would you have any clarifications around this?
Purely from an understanding of the English language I can feel that it might probably be an intermediary step (and a logical step) between Interrupted breathing and Rhythmic Continuous Breathing.
However, what does "Semi Interrupted Breathing" mean in practical terms? What does it mean in terms of motion of legs/hands/head turn for breath etc.? Probably what I mean to ask is, what does it mean in terms of focal points. Any advise that you provide around this would be of immense help!!!
In Semi-Interrupted Breathing, you don't really roll any farther than you would when doing regular breathing, but you momentarily pause when you are taking a breath in order to think about what you are about to do. On the DVD, Terry does this at one point when he is switching from underwater spearing to an over-the-water arm recovery, and the momentary pause allows him to mentally take stock of what he is about to do. Semi-Interrupted Breathing differs from regular breathing because when you are doing regular breathing, you don't want any pause, but want to maintain the same stroke rhythm you were using on non-breathing switches.
When i started up with TI i noticed a couple of things
1) I only ever breathed on one side (never noticed this before) and thus was trying to take 4 strokes for each breath
2) I was trying to concentrate on too many things at once and was doing all of them poorly.
SO i read every thread on here and tried all the different drills and nothing really seemed to help until i took some video of myself going up and down the pool.
I found out i was kicking way too much (and this obviously uses up a lot of air), so i have consciously stopped kicking altogether for the time being.
I also realised i was stroking waaay faster than i thought and had to force myself to slow a long way down.
Once i did both of these and concentrated (to the exclusion of all other technique) on breathing out ALL THE TIME underwater it all seemed to click into place and i could just swim along virtually forever (still with shocking TI style though !!)
I have also found that it helps to breathe out of your mouth with pursed lips - if you ever plan on doing open water swimming - you will get a mouthful of water at some point - being in the habit of breathing out underwater with pursed lips will make sure you get rid of this water in your mouth as the first step, so if you have to roll right to the other side to catch up on your breath you can and will be ready to take in the next bite of air.
I also found that i was trying to breathe out TOO much underwater and hence then taking in a big gulp of air, once i solved that i was much better able to take just a small bite of air.
I still find that adding a kick back in (and trying to time it correctly to assist with hip thrust and rotation) is a "bridge too far" for me at the moment and hence am consciously staying away from kicking until i can get a lot of the other basics working correctly.
Thanks Craig, I really appreciate your insights. I also started TI about 4 months back, hence we are probably around the same milestone. After the breathing issues that I highlighted at the start of the thread, I have managed to solve some of the problems that I had mentioned at the beginning.
I really like your observation - I also found that i was trying to breathe out TOO much underwater and hence then taking in a big gulp of air, once i solved that i was much better able to take just a small bite of air. .
Infact this was the main problem with me. Since I was breathing out TOO much underwater, that lead to decreased buoyancy hence impacted my ease of reaching to air. I read on this forum that the correct rate/quantum of exhale was when you are humming underwater. This solved it for me really!!!
Now I am focused on controlling body roll while I go for "bites" of air. I faced a peculiar problem because of over-rotation - low intensity pain on my left shoulder/ triceps ( I breathe to my right). Not sure if you have faced the same issue. If I control my rotation with 1 goggle in water and the other out, then the pain isn't there.
A very positive & philosophical outcome of TI's self coached model (through DVDs), is that it brings in a new paradigm to learning. While we are learning skills by teaching ourselves, critiquing ourselves, diagnosing problems and solving them (with help from TI coaches/Enthusiasts on this website).....this just teaches us that if there is passion to acquire new skills/knowledge one of the best ways to do it is to teach your self (feel-do-measure-control-correct-improve).
I live in Bangalore (India), & we don't have TI coaches here thus have found a TI buddy and we exchange notes to improve together.
Thanks for your insights
no Problems Saroj.
One of the things i found most valuable was to video myself - both underwater and by the side of the pool.
I just leave my cameras setup on a tripod (one in the water and the other on the side of the pool up higher) and leave them running whilst i am practising certain things.
I find that i prefer to swim using as much TI as i have mastered and then when i identify an area that does not look right - go back to the TI videos etc and find the drill to fix that part (rather than the other way of practising drills over and over again before even doing any swimming.)
I have found that this works best for me and the way i learn (plus i am also getting exercise by doing lots of laps and focusing on just one element each time)
I have not found problems with over rotation - but have found that my body moves a lot more in the water than i thought - so i have been doing a lot of core exercises lately to try and isolate and strengthen those muscles
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