Concerning how to get the forward arm down earlier, like Terry does, I have been doing some experiments in the water and in front of a mirror. The main problem is that we are not anatomically set up to keep our elbow up if our arm is extended too close to the plane of our shoulders (outside the scapular plane). However, if you look at Terry's arm motion when his hand is moving downward, before the up side hand enters the water, it seems to me that his arm is straight, not bent at all. In fact, there are no anatomical constraints to moving your hand down early as long as you keep that arm straight while doing so. This may be the secret to Terry's catch: he keeps his arm straight as his hand moves down. I don't think you want to put too much weight on the arm in this position, because that may impact the shoulder, but by the time he goes into a catch his hand is close to under his shoulder and this may enable him to anchor better in his catch. Not sure of this, still experimenting, but it is interesting to play with these things.
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Danny, I guess you know by now that the idea to get the forearm and hand in a more or less vertical position early after the body has reached extension is the ideal way to get a big propulsive survace ready to push the body forward from? The ideal downward hinge point is not the shoulder, but the elbow.
People like Sun Yang get very close to this ideal, for most people its simply anatomically impossible to imitate that action.
When you regard the hand and forearm as your paddle, pivoting that paddle down from the elbow, or pivotinh that paddle down with a second long lever, the upperarm, makes a differnce for the forces on the second hing point, that is , the shoulderjoint.
If you imagine the upper arm stick being 2 m long and attach the forearm/handpaddle on that long stick. it is very hard for the shoulderjoint to rotate that paddle on such a long lever.
So for developing shoulder problems we have 2 arm stroke mechanisms that can cause trouble when sinking the paddle slowly to get to a better catch position (even worse when that action is done with force) :
1) using the shoulder as the only hinge. This results in moving the arm as a solid unit. paddling with straight arms
Thats close to Terry style.
When using this style, the shoulder isnt internally rotated much, but the paddle is working at the end of a long lever, putting a lot of load on thatr shoulder potentially.
Whats the solution in this case?
Dont load the shoulder too much when the arm sinks to more vertical positions. Let the uncoming waterflow help take the arm along a bit, by inserting the arm a bit steeper, and start the sinking movement a bit earlier, so the transition from extended position to effective catch position ( 60 degrees form horizontal like Mush said), is spread in time. This also spreads the load on the shoulder over time, instead of trying to go from an extension angle to a catch angle in a fast jerky movement, overloading the shoulder.
2) Using the elbow as the hinge point for bringing the paddle to a more vertical position.
If there was a hinge in the elbow that could do that, that would be much easier. There is a hing in the elbow, but that hinge pivots not really in the ideal direction.
Totally relaxed it hinges in a plane thats 90 degrees rotated form the desired hinging plane.
The relaxed movement is moving the hand an forearm in the horizontal plane, at the surface of the water when having the arm at the surface of the water, and pulling over the centerline in the horizontal plane.
The whole arm can be internally rotated to bring this horizontal relaxed hinging motion towards the desired downward direction by about 45 -60 degrees before the shoulder joint starts to complain.
You can check this yourself by extending the arm, let the forearm and handpaddle hinge at the elbow and see in what plane this action occurs.
If that action can de done like Sun Yang does it, you are lucky from a swimmers perpective.
If you are only able to hinge the paddle in the horizontal plane, you are better off with Terrys style .
So, straight arm action gives a higher load on the shoulders in a sound shoulder internal rotated angle when the timing and force is mismanaged because of the long lever effect.
Too much high elbow can give shoulder problems too, because load is put on the shoulder in a weak unnatural internally rotated position.
Hopefully you are not yet totally frustratated, tangled up and completely confused yet Danny, although better to use pictures to describe these movement planes and hinge points offcourse.
Whats an intersting drill, is to try to swim with simple straight arms and have almost no pressure on the arms in the circle part movement before the shoulders.(before the arm is 90 degrees down) Just let the arm idle along at the front part. If you are used to pressing water down at the front this will feel like sinking at the front. Now start adding pressure at the back and slowly move that start of applying pressure more to the front.
Going from this only backend pressure to more front end feels very fundamental to your stroke I think.
A good way to get used and aware of how applying pressure at differnt points in the stroke can influence your balance and perception of the stroke.
Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-02-2018 at 04:19 PM.