Hip Drive and the Speed of All that Follows
While we have some threads on hip-drive, I thought I'd add my own recent wondering. I'm finding is that it's hard to coordinate the speed at which the hips rotate with the speed of the switch, and the speed of the anchor. Some metaphors for example, which seem different than swimming, because everything happens at the same speed: fast.
In karate, the hip-drive rotates the trunk and shoulders, one arm-hand is forced forward, and another is pulled back in equal force. The two happen at basically the same speed and are balanced.
In tennis, the lead hand helps sight, the racket arm-hand is cocked behind. The force is generated by the hips, trunk, shoulders. The lead hand swings around and back at roughly the same speed as the racquet hand/arm move around and forward.
But in swimming, 1) the kick is a pretty quick flick 2) the hip drive is a little slower due to more mass but it's still pretty quick and 3) the switch of leading shoulders/hands follows at roughly the speed of the hips. The bummer in all of this (!) is anchoring hand. Ideally it seems like this needs/wants to be slower than all the other moving parts so that it doesn't slip.
Basically, I notice that if I focus on my hip drive, my anchoring hand pulls too fast (sorry for the dirty word) and slips. On the other hand, if I focus on tree-hugging a large mass of water, anchoring and moving past it, I seem to miss out on the power of the kick and hip-drive.
So that's my dilemma. I get the feeling there are gains to being able to have it all, but I seem to be trading one for the other. I also find that if I focus on the big slow anchor, my core muscle flex time is so long that it interferes with grabbing a quick bite of air. All timing issues. Curious if there's a right answer. Thanks!
Not sure if this will help, and I also posted a thread on this a while ago, but I would try the one-armed drills for help in this. In the thread I posted on this, there were 2 different versions that were discussed, one advocated by Charles and the other by Suzanne. I wound up focussing on Suzanne's because I think it is easier to learn and helps perhaps more with the kind of issues you are talking about. For more than a month now, I have been spending about half of my workouts doing one-armed drills, and I keep doing them, because I am still learning things from them and I think my technique is still benefitting from them. The question I keep asking myself is why they are so helpful, and this is a little hard to answer, which makes it all the more mysterious. Here are my thoughts on this, which are hopefully relevant to the question you are asking.
With two armed swimming, we can use the weight of our recovering arm to initiate body rotation, especially because it is out of the water and thus "weighs more". With one-armed swimming, you lose that help in body rotation on one side, and this means that you are going to have to work more with hip rotation to compensate for this loss. If you spend enough time doing this, it forces you to start concentrating more on initiating body rotation with your hips and how to coordinate it with your arms. An additional help is the fact that the one-armed drills seem to slow the whole process down. When I am doing these drills, I often feel as if I am watching my own swimming in slow motion. When you swim with two arms, you can slow the stroke rate down, but the weight shift (the critical point where coordination between the hips and the arms occurs) still seems to happen rather quickly. In contrast, I feel like this process happens more slowly with the one-armed drill, and this helps me with the coordination issues you raised. I slow the process down even further by doing the one-armed drill with my hand in a closed fist, which I recommend.
There is more discussion on how to do these drills in the thread I mentioned. Two key learnings for me were (1) How to coordinate body rotation with the bobbing motion caused by your recovering arm and (2) How to feel the kick and rotate as a sort of undulation, which powers the stroke.
I hope all of this is at least somewhat relevant! Good luck!
Tomoy, I have been on this TI trip for about 7 years. I have enjoyed easy swimming from early on but I've been aware that my speed was not good. I have worked on all the exercises and am happy with my execution of the separate parts.By that I mean things like relaxed recovery, quiet entry, patient hand, floating head, easy breathing, but speed eluded me. Recently I remembered Terry's story of discovering the power of diagonal kick and spear. I have only had 2 long swims in the estuary since I practised it and I admit that I have no metrics but the difference in feeling is miraculous. I have found if I wait till my recovering hand has quietly entered the water and then extend my body diagonally everything happens in perfect time. My downside leg has risen naturally, the diagonal stretch tightens my quad, my knee bends a little and my toes flick and my body rocks to skate. The feeling is of effortless power and almost no weight on my catch. One free extra is that the extended skate allows even more time for breathing. I am not saying don't do the exercises but in the end it is all about effortless swimming which is all about putting the separate parts together rythmically.
part 1 is that the hand anchors on one side as the other side forms its momentum from water level to its top height pre spear. This I find quite a symmetrical movement since both arms start quite straight and end up bent (one in catch and the other in bent arm recovery).
part 2 is the streamlined rotation, the anchored hand moves naturally through the water as a (opposite forces) reaction to the spear and rotation on the other side so you shouldn't be feeling it as a separate movement ahead or behind the rest of the body.
You could try focusing on 'dancing' to position, this encourages and all in one snap movement which will create power and thrust and then take a still photo shot in your mind of each extended spear position on each side and try to be aware of the rotation, spear depth and head position.
This for me is the best time to use extended glide, to check body position consistency before starting the next stroke
Great point Tomoy. Its a point that seems to go wrong a lot of times in my opinion.
How violent has your hip snap and spear need to be?
In my opinion the the body roll doesnt need a violent hipsnap, at least not at low strokerates.
Andynorway describes it pretty well. Is more a sequence of motions than a sudden everyting moves at one thing.
Take a look at Thorpes bodyroll from 0.24-0.40 sec when he comes swimming toward you.
Doesnt that roll look fluent and gradual?Swoooshhh-left, swooosssh-right-swoosh -left, shooosssh-right. The very start of the roll happens with a bit extra acceleration, but then the rest of the movement happens almost automatic.
Its more like the dampended unwinding of a rotated spring. The body is on stretch in the twisted extreme poition. The stretch is realeased during the roll, and then the body is on stretch again in the other extended position.
Stretchleft- let go, stretchright- let go, stretchleft- let go, whoooshh- right, swooshh-left, swooshh-right etc etc.
Important is to start the pull after the rotatation has ended and then accelerate and windup the spring again.
This clip here shows the effect of weight shift. It also demonstrate anchoring correctly, deeply enough, before performing the shift. Otherwise, like you suggest, the shift may result into water slippery. You certainly don't need to subscribe to the drill which is being demonstrated. This is not the statement here. I chose this clip simply because you see very clearly this relationship between the passive side's overall weight which, by falling down, creates a snappy weight shift. What I'm focusing on the most, is ensuring that the pulling hand/arm gets into a perfect position before the switch occurs. I'm also focusing on maintaining the pendulum effect (as always).
(cruising at a pace of 55sec/100y on single arm with a pull, takes contribution from body roll to do that).
Good demonstration of the weight shift charles. Note that in his clip before he "pulls" or strokes his arm is forming the catch. When the weight shift occurs he is already in an anchored position with his arm.
Some people won't be ale to form that good of an anchor with the forearm before rotation starts, and that's OK. What's important is not letting the "anchorage" part be rushed.
The speed of rotation doesn't need to be fast especially if your swimming pace or tempo is leisurely. The movements need to align with your forward speed.
Have you ever pushed one of these?
From a standstill or slow speed, the speed of movement of your pushing is very slow as well. You cannot rush it or you'll hurt yourself, your hands will slip off or you'll waste energy. As the rotational speed increases you can increase your movement speed as well and the timing of seeing the approaching bar, placing your hands on it and pushing it with just enough force to either keep it going or speed it up changes. At some point you may have a "steady state" speed at which you can keep your timing and movements the same and keep it going at the same speed. YOu probabaly could find several "steady state" speeds as well. But with each different speed your timing would change. you'd approach the target area faster, meet the approaching bar with some already developed forward movement in the directin it's already traveling and then push with just enough force or for just long enough to keep it going. then you could either try to maintain a faster tempo or take twice as long between pushes adn let it slow a bit and have a more liesurely tempo.
Swimming is a lot like that. There is not just one speed of hip drive.
Very neat analogy, thank you.
I'm the model on the clip referred to earlier.
Some night I showed up at the sports center with the intent of training (cardio, not related to swimming) and demonstrating that a strong kick wasn't a prerequisite for achieving smooth single arm drill. I had never tried it with a pull before, but felt it could only work. As always, I didn't have much time. Had to rely on a lifeguard to shoot, so I had 3min max.
Worked immediately but never would I have expected this strange juggling between the massive weight shift which needed to be connected with a very carefully taken catch. I mean there was a very strong connection between arm forming itself into a catch position, and opposite side waiting to fall down to favor easy pulling. It's all there. What the clip also shows, is the clear difference between "moving to set up into catch position" and "actually pulling". What comes prior the weight shift isn't that propulsive. It's aimed at getting into optimal position. As soon as the opposite side falls down, "then" the pulling is occurring.
Game was to get the momentum going as much as possible. When I first saw the playback, I thought this passive arm exiting the water *that* much was ugly. So I took another attempt, pretty much the same result.
Anyway, fun game.
Hey, there's ZenTurtle digging up a thread 4 pages deep. Nice! Just focusing on Thorpe's hips shows me how little he rotates, plus it is kind of surprising how smooth it is considering his pace.
Since posting this, I read a blog of Terry's talking about open water experience and hip drive, and he mentioned merely focusing on the speed of the hip drive - playing with it, trying it faster, trying it slower.
My general experience since, has been that faster gives me nice power for sprints, but I have to control its power to over-rotate me. Slow is what I usually do for distance. Slower still and I'm forgetting to kick - sort of like the feel of first swimming with a wetsuit. Just dragging the log along.
My takeaway seems to be it's really a variable thing depending on pace. I like the merry-go-round metaphor which of course, reminds me of Meatball (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvqzubPZjHE)!
Fascinating practice Charles - I really feel the pendulum just watching this. I think I'll try it.
Thanks for everyone's inputs - time to play with it all and try to really feel out what works, and yes, I'll measure tempo and SPL too!
For me its feels very much like the swing example, pushing with the hips like you are pushing a swing,waiting for the right moment. Body rotation movement conversion like the pendulum walking robot.
But there also seems to be some muscle tension release involved. Right at the end of the rotation when you are stretched out and just before the pull, it also feels like you are at the verge of releasing a spring. The muscle tissue which has stretched out contracts again, working together with the weight shift.
I tried the one arm pullbuoy swimming without using the non-stroking arm as an active weight, and its hard to keep the roll going without that weight.
You can use the pulling arn to give the body a roll push next to a forward push and let it fall back again.
Then you get a rushed recovery,right over the water to bring the arm to the front before body falls back again.
Problem in that case is that there is little momentum in the roll, so the body doesnt rolls back enough to push the shoulder and arm in the water. leaving you with a shallow pull. Not the proper way of course, but how bad is it really when arms are used in full stroke to influence bodyroll? Its causing some sideways pulling and distracts from the core drive, is that it?
What interests me is what happens when you want to stroke at a faster rate.
In this example, one has to wait for ages untill the body has rotated back and the pull can start again.
What happens with the weight shift rotation drive when doing this drill at double the rotation frequency?
The pendulum effect is too slow for higher frequencies. Do we have to force the rotation with a more violent kick and hipsnap to keep the roll going at these higher frequencies?
If only Charles could find some time to show it.... (or try it yourself offcourse)
I think you will start seeing the body changing shape at different frequencies. Charles body is rotating like a single lump of mass, hips and shoulders all connected. If the body is morphed between helic shape, straight shape and helix shape again,
during the roll, like Thorpe is doing, it has an effect on the pendulum dynamics.
Sort of breaks up the mechanism.
Dont really understand how, but the body roll inertia must be decreased to roll faster. The whole mass is divided in slices that rotate at different speeds around the spine when the body is moving in and out helix shape during the roll in full stroke.
Sort of this effect:
Certainly you get more pendulum effect with a rigid central body compared to exagerated twisted motion.
Well, thatis how it feels to me. Maybe I am wrong. Still cant move forward very fast with isolated rotation, so I am still missing something.
This guy also waits a bit before catching (at least in the underwaterpart). Love the swin away view (0.22-0.33m). A nice lazy swing, with energy in the driving forward, stretching arm/shoulder.
The stop and go kick is a bit strange, he puts everything on hold too wait for the catch movement (?), Than the whole movement train starts and stops again. It has a lot of TI 2 beat kick drive in it. Hackett also has a bit of this start-stop kick.
Warning, dont try the high elbow stuff from the end at home ...
Elites slow pace (for them) stroketiming looks very much the same to me. Lazy front quadrant timing with smooth everything.
My works are aimed at being done at higher frequencies though. Main focal point when doing so being the hips the hips and again the hips, that is, the epicenter of the body roll. As soon as the epicenter leaves the middle of the body (hips), then frontal axis is more easily broken and I'd assume that weight shifts are harder to control and exploit.
You've put great words on this phenomenon where you clearly feel that some "energy" is being accumulated during the body roll (a bit like a spring being gradually tensed) then released in a "flush". And I can testify 100% that this is how faster pace swimming can be achieved, although it is certainly not the only way. These principles are the one I teach, that is, if you want to swim faster, this can only be achieve by swimming with your body, and less with your arms. I'm having great results as a coach using this method.
I should have finished documenting all these works by summer 2015, as I recently signed up with a new swimmer (model) who will allow me to demonstrate all that stuff very clearly. The guy is blooody blooody fast (sub 15:30 for 1500m). He also has the most beautiful free style distance stroke I've seen live in person.
Great Charles, it will be an interesting read.
The whole body integrated propulsion is the most fascinating thing in swimming technique.
Perhaps you can give me some tips about your isolated rotation drill.
I am stuck in the landbased movement pattern of moving the arms and hips in opposite directions. What happens with the arms standing straight and twisting the hips. The arms move in contrarotation compared to the hip rotation, helping the hip rotation a bit.
With your swimmer, the hands move in the same direction as the hip movement, extracting energy from the hip/torso/shoulder movement instead of helping the hip movement.(just like in full stroke).
You have seen this before off course. Must be like someone who kicks with the opposite timing or something like that.
How to break this instinctive move?
In whole stroke I can feel hip drive working, but I am pretty shure hands are also helping rotation a bit in full stroke.
So I can get a rotation going, I can breath quite comfortable at both sides using this rotation, but there is hardly any forward movement. Damn!
Must say its a great breathing drill.
Its quite relaxing to lie in the pool bubbling and rotation for a few minutes.
Going to full stroke after that has instant effect on your breathing ease.
Is all a bit more relaxed and breathing happens with a lower head.
My plan is to add some 2 beat leg action to help rotation and totally forget the arms .Rotate like there are no arms, be comfortable with that and then gradually awake the arms while keeping the roll going. Good idea?
Yes there's a magical contrarotation component to making the whole execution perfectly round and smooth. But arrggrrr I can't teach that stuff remotely, I can barely teach it live. I'm just happy when people get it as I still have no way other than circling around the problem (working on scullings, SwimSmooth's #3, as shown on the Catch Masterclass DVD, as well as on some other stuff).
The thing with this drill and why I keep having interest toward it is that if you ask a competent swimmer to perform it, they usually get in within 5min max, and it gets perfectly done (or almost, call it more than acceptable). And a good reason why would be this contrarotation thing.
Problem and why it is soooo hard to teach is that people tend to exaggerate pretty much everything they do. So they switch too hard, sweep too hard with way too much amplitude (often ends up looking like mutant doggie paddle drill).
I mentioned the other about this analogy, your right foot vs your left foot pressing on the brake pedal. Swimmers have much better fine tuned gesture and feel for water it seems.
This drill will remain a mystery until I can competently teach it. It is the purest form of isolated rotation. It's easy and complex in the same time. But as for your point of interest, in this view here, you see the swimmer's left hand being on the opposite side. And you see its palm at some point, so trust this guy that he's caressing the water just enough to make the whole body roll nice and round.
How-e-ver... You also clearly see that the body has a significant momentum already when that happens. And that's because the hips very clearly move first. They create the twist, the swing. Body side falls and hands are acting lilke tropical fish's side fins, gracefully caressing the water just enough to make the whole thing nice and efficient.
Very hard to teach. We will still be discussing swimming in 100years from now, and still be scratching the surface. These guys have a job to do, which is moving forward the most economical way. They're equipped with an acute sense of touch, similar as having thousands of little sensors all around their body, giving them feed back on speed variation etc. They use their body in an optimal way, all available weight shifts, and transmit this having a solid hold on the water, thanks to magical hands. All that is hard to teach. But I like to think Isolated Rotation allows for isolated a few very basic of these components.
This is exactly why in discussing performance, the pendulum analogy is not one of my favorites. You need to disrupt the natural frequency by using yoru core, arm width, and kick timing to arrest over rotation. But the benefit is that this energy can be returned to the water by maintaining more momentum forward.
I have been waiting for you to get to this point, prior to now it was not appropriate, but i think you'll be eager to read this article now.
See what you can make of it. I will await your report and thoughts on it. :)
I am curious how helixfairweathers stroke will develop regarding the woman hip and buoyancy thing. Woman have some advantages and possibly some disadvantages(outside the power disadvantage)
HMMM. 31,50 USD? Sorry too expensive.
If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is no barking dog to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.
-Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.
^^Costly access inhibits the pursuit of knowledge
Thanks for the offer.
Let me guess. A lot of formulas, Fourier analyses of the movement of different bodyparts.
Main bodyparts move in first harmonic of roll, feet propulsion in 3th, shoulder xth harmonic? Must be something like that.
Conclusion? Moving all the bodyparts in the right sequence/rhythm is important?
Allways nice to know how we should move, and how much damage is done when timing is out :-)
One of the hardest things in regard to timing between both hands has to be that you should normally be going very gentle, like you mentioned, to anchor whilst going very hard with the opposite hand. I call this tapping your belly rubbing your head sort of business. People generally don't realize this. So what people generally do, is virtually nothing with the hand that's about to anchor until total disengagement of the hand that just finished her most important work. This creates an offset between the switch, and the anchoring.
I call this 2-dimentional approach. You either wait, or pull. 3-dimentional is wait, set up, then pull. Wait time is shorter, set up time allows for gradual grip, then you're ready to shift weight. Now this may, or may not apply to the TI Stroke that I'm not sure. And I would be pleased to be corrected here by a TI coach. You guys teach getting into catch position much faster, and so this changes the dynamics possibly in comparison to what I'm describing.
Yeah I have approached this with her before (gently). That's why I had suggested doing planks as an intro to core training.
Hi Talvi from the Southern Hemisphere.
I'm in no position to give advice and others do it much better. I desperately need a weekend of coaching. Most of my summer swimming is in a river estuary in salt water near high tide. In those conditions I float easily and the only limitations are my dodgy shoulders and getting cold. I have been working on Coach Dave's catch and think I have got much better grip on the water to the extent that I feel very pleased with myself. I am even playing with stroke rate. To bring me back to earth the last swim was out against a 20 knot breeze and into chop, great fun. The trip home was totally uncomfortable, the troughs bent me banana shaped and breathing was hazardous. I actually stopped a couple of times to gather my wits. I still can't replicate the same ease in freshwater, obviously my horizontal balance is not good so I concentrate on gentle and effortless but slow in pool or lake. Enjoy your swimming. It's a great adventure isn't it.
Hiya Ken, I see advice as the sharing of experience rather than instruction, so for me all of it has value.
Dodgy shoulders or not that swim sounds hairy! Hat off to you. I haven't yet been comfortable swimming in the lake when the wind gets much above 2m/s
I find Coach Dave's dryland catch drill injures/or aggravates a weakness in my shoulder. So I experimented with it lying on my back. I found that when my elbow bends my upper arm automatically comes level with my shoulders. Trying to reduce this action then opens up an exploration. You can find what is required in terms of flexibility etc for catching earlier and, there's no gravity to deal with on your back so you can easily explore all the muscle strengths/movements involved.
FWIW, and with all your caveats (of course), I find the form of the catch is related to timing and roll, and those to the tramlines and etc etc. When the overall form of my stroke is right I've found the form of my catch is created automatically. Shame that only happens once in every 50 strokes!! :D
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