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  #21  
Old 08-17-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Descending, thanks for your willingness to consider my problems. Since originally posting this thread I have come to the conclusion that the real subject I am dealing with is my old shoulder injury and the limitations it places on my recovery. I think the idea of filming is a good one. In fact, it seems to me that a dry-land film showing how I try to recover on my good left side and what goes wrong when I try to do this on my bad right side is a good start. I could then try to film some of the compromise solutions I have been considering (all out of water so the motion can be seen more clearly) and solicit comments and suggestions. I am a little camera shy and this seems like a big project, but I suspect I would learn a lot just by making such a film and watchng it. If I actually get to the point where I can post something, I will post a link here and solicit advice. Thanks again for your interest.
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  #22  
Old 08-17-2015
descending descending is offline
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I know video is a huge pain in the butt. I have not had any video of my stroke since high school! I'm too busy swimming and so are my friends so I get that plus logging on to a web forum like this was a big step for me;) Not a tech genius and still use a phone w/o a camera or web access.
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  #23  
Old 08-17-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Descending, thanks for your willingness to consider my problems. Since originally posting this thread I have come to the conclusion that the real subject I am dealing with is my old shoulder injury and the limitations it places on my recovery.
Hi Danny,

You can/should find what your shoulder range is so you can set expectations as well as possibly see a PT to increase your range of motion if that is necessary. I've had swimmers come in that could not swing elbow above shoulder, very tight from injury or years of hunched over a desk. A few months of PT, that range increased to swinging to top of their head. Here's a video of a dryland rehearsal demoing the impinging affects of lifting the elbow vs swing elbow wide. You should easily find what your range of motion is with the "palm down swing": Swing vs Lifting Elbow

IF you have the range of motion, practice this dryland Swing-Skate drill to help imprint relaxing shoulder executing the correct unimpeded recovery motion: Swing-Skate Dryland Rehearsal

Getting an above surface video would be great as descending noted, but you can ask a fellow swimmer to give you feedback as well. Ask a swimmer to observe your recovery at exit near hip, 1. check if there is bend in the elbow bend or extended at hip, 2. does elbow lift toward the sky first or does it swing wide away from body, 3. does the hand swing out and and lead ahead of elbow or does the elbow lead the hand through the recovery cycle.

First though, find out what your range of motion is and work from there.

Good luck

Stuart
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  #24  
Old 08-17-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hi Danny,

You can/should find what your shoulder range is so you can set expectations as well as possibly see a PT to increase your range of motion if that is necessary. I've had swimmers come in that could not swing elbow above shoulder, very tight from injury or years of hunched over a desk. A few months of PT, that range increased to swinging to top of their head. Here's a video of a dryland rehearsal demoing the impinging affects of lifting the elbow vs swing elbow wide. You should easily find what your range of motion is with the "palm down swing": Swing vs Lifting Elbow

IF you have the range of motion, practice this dryland Swing-Skate drill to help imprint relaxing shoulder executing the correct unimpeded recovery motion: Swing-Skate Dryland Rehearsal

Getting an above surface video would be great as descending noted, but you can ask a fellow swimmer to give you feedback as well. Ask a swimmer to observe your recovery at exit near hip, 1. check if there is bend in the elbow bend or extended at hip, 2. does elbow lift toward the sky first or does it swing wide away from body, 3. does the hand swing out and and lead ahead of elbow or does the elbow lead the hand through the recovery cycle.

First though, find out what your range of motion is and work from there.

Good luck

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM
Hi Stuart,

Thank you so much! I have the feeling I finally hit gold! If you look at 13 s into the video you just sent, when I do this, my left side can go above my head, whereas my right side gets stuck underneath my nose.

So where do we go from here?

Danny

P.S. I'm seeing a PT right now for my hips (the whole body is falling apart) but what the docs have told me so far is that I am going to have to live with these limitations in my shoulder because the joint is so messed up from a (degree 2, I think) AC shoulder separation years ago that this is as good as it gets.

Last edited by Danny : 08-17-2015 at 05:55 PM.
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  #25  
Old 08-18-2015
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Hi Danny,

You're welcome. Finding range of motion limits is an important first step so you can plan/adjust stroke around those limitations. Getting your elbow to the shoulder just below the nose is something you'll need to manage, but you can still swim very well with this limitation. More focus on your right side will be needed since the body will try to guard against nearing those range limits. The dryland rehearsals (daily) will help greatly. Again, I've come across several with similar range limitations as yours - their range improved with shoulder specific PT, but it took time and a lot of patience.

I'm not a doc or PT, but if I were you in your shoes, I would go back to my Ortho doc (I have one too) and inquire about any non surgical options to increase your range of motion on your right side, as well as get a second opinion.

In the meantime keep doing the rehearsals this will help imprint using the max range you have on the right, as well as on the left side. But if you experience any pain in swing rehearsals, especially sharp pain, then stop of course. Also, review the swing rehearsals with both your PT and Ortho doc for their opinions - they may adjust it a bit given your limitation on the right side.

Stuart
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  #26  
Old 08-18-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Stuart,

I have been playing around with this for some time now, and it sounds like I will have to continue looking for compromises. There is a temptation to search for perfection, but my experience has been that this can lead to pain and discomfort. The problem with going near the max range is that it doesn't seem to be very reproducible and, in fact, my sense is that it depends on the history of how I approach this limit. So sometimes I can get in a really nice recovery and then the next time I try it my shoulder hurts. In particular, doing these exercises in a standing position against the force of gravity seems more painful than doing them horizontally in the water.

Here are some compromises I play around with. Any thoughts you might have would be welcome:

(1) On the bad side let the hand pass the elbow at an earlier stage in the recovery so I am no longer leading with the elbow. This seems to be a very comfortable approach.
(2) By rotating the body and shoulders before my hand starts to go into the water, it is easier spear wider and avoid pain. Not sure what this does to my timing.
(3) I find that if I exit my hand at the back a little earlier with a focus on keeping my elbow away from my body, then my shoulder is less likely to lock up in the subsequent recovery. This shortens my distance per stroke somewhat, but feels comfortable and makes it easy to increase my stroke rate to compensate for the lost distance. In fact, I used this strategy just last week to knock 4 or 5 seconds of my 100 m intervals without any pain or fatigue. I am a little mystified at why this works, but it seems to.

Thanks again for your help,

Danny
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  #27  
Old 08-18-2015
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Danny,

admirable how you're dealing with your issue! Stuart will have some better hints. But we're in a TI-Forum, so a little Kaizen (as I understand) POV might not be wrong. FWIW...

Quote:
There is a temptation to search for perfection, but my experience has been that this can lead to pain and discomfort. The problem with going near the max range is that it doesn't seem to be very reproducible and, in fact, my sense is that it depends on the history of how I approach this limit. So sometimes I can get in a really nice recovery and then the next time I try it my shoulder hurts.
Terry once pointed to take some minutes calming down before warm up. What about to take a minute after warm up and realize what your arm told you and if your intended FPs have to be varied by these actualized information?

Quote:
(1) On the bad side let the hand pass the elbow at an earlier stage in the recovery so I am no longer leading with the elbow. This seems to be a very comfortable approach.
Sounds as if the suspension of lower-arm-pendulum is just some cm back. Did you ever try a symmetrical stroke by reducing your left revory in same way? How does this feel?

Quote:
(2) By rotating the body and shoulders before my hand starts to go into the water, it is easier spear wider and avoid pain. Not sure what this does to my timing.
Avoiding pain should ever be first and total times are secondary, third... May be there are stroke's (spear's) internal timings which might reduce possibly caused drag. Mat would call it micro FPs...

And the youngster's conviction: If it doesn't hurt, no improvement will happen! might even not the best for themself.

Quote:
(3) I find that if I exit my hand at the back a little earlier with a focus on keeping my elbow away from my body, then my shoulder is less likely to lock up in the subsequent recovery. This shortens my distance per stroke somewhat, but feels comfortable and makes it easy to increase my stroke rate to compensate for the lost distance. In fact, I used this strategy just last week to knock 4 or 5 seconds of my 100 m intervals without any pain or fatigue. I am a little mystified at why this works, but it seems to.
Reading this as you find your right way! What makes you doubt? Being mystified is simply great. Aren't we all mystified what swimming does with our bodies and minds? Let's hold it as long as possble!

Go on with best regards,
Werner
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  #28  
Old 08-18-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Werner,

Your words of wisdom are greatly appreciated, especially because the problem I am discussing at such length is probably of little interest to anyone with healthy shoulders…

Right now the high school swimming pool where I swim is closed and only being used by the girls swim team in preparation for the upcoming season. But the first hour of their practice is dry-land exercises, and the coach has taken pity on me. So she lets me swim in the pool at this time. There is no more suitable environment for relaxed contemplation of your swimming technique than having the whole pool to yourself. Today I tried to reproduce the feeling of hunching my shoulders and succeeded in having a relaxed elbow-up recovery, even on my bad side. When I got out of the pool, I spent some time on dry land trying to figure out exactly what I had been doing in the pool that seems to work so well. Here are the results of my analysis.

Recall first that the ideal recovery should take place in the scapular plane. If you look at Coach Mandy in
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQoQYvQkuk8
at about 12 or 13 s, her arms are in the scapular plane. This means that there is about a 45 degree angle between your upper arm and the plane that is parallel to your shoulders. On my bad side, I think that my “scapular plane” has shifted somewhat. When I try to reproduce the motion that Mandy is demonstrating, my shoulder locks up. However, if I let my upper arm make about a 90 degree angle to the above plane by overlapping the entire forearms, instead of only the hands as Mandy is doing, then I can raise my arms over my head. So I think that this is the plane that I should be trying to recover in.

I keep saying that the question of where my shoulder locks up depends on the history of how I move into that position. So what I believe I am observing in the pool is that the recovery goes a lot more smoothly if I try to keep my shoulder in this new “scapular plane” for as much of the pull phase of the stroke as possible. By doing this, the shoulder joint is already in the correct position to start the recovery as soon as I finish the pull phase. I think that most people (including me) tend to finish the pull phase with their hand at their thigh. In my case, it helps greatly to finish my pull phase with my hand in front of my crotch instead of my thigh and my arm rotated so that my palm is perpendicular to the plane of my body. This rotates my shoulder more into the position I was describing in the above paragraph. When I do this, it feels as if I am hunching my shoulder, as if I were trying to swim through a small hole in the water. So the hunching I have been referring to does not occur up front with the catch, but rather in the back before and during the recovery. This new “scapular plane”, where my arm is more perpendicular to my body, instead of being at 45 degrees, makes me feel as if I am hunching my shoulder.

As I said before, my distance per stroke seems to suffer somewhat from this, but if I really understand now what the critical aspects of this recovery are, then maybe I will be able to recover some of this. In any event, the ease of the recovery allows me to speed up my stroke rate, and my times at 100 and 300 yd intervals this morning where quite good for me.

Time will tell how much of this story holds together. Comments and suggestions are always welcome! Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to slog through this complicated explanation.
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  #29  
Old 08-18-2015
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Hi Danny,

Wow, great analysis and info - and thanks for sharing. Clearly you have a good handle on this. The lifting elbow vs the swing rehearsal we do at the beginning of workshops to 1. give students an "aha" moment to find the most range of motion by swinging not lifting elbow which is counterintuitive to us humans and 2. to find any range of motion issues the swimmer may have and help them adjust/adapt to any limits accordingly.

It sounds like you've found the position(s) on your right side were you have the best range and are most fluid. I wouldn't worry much about about shortening stroke length in the process. Maximum stroke length is not the goal it's finding the right stroke length (and tempo) given your height, skill level *and* in your case, range of motion on right side.

One thing you might try, is start the forward recovery motion gently sliding the shoulder forward toward ear before swinging elbow wide, much like Mandy slides both shoulders toward ears before swinging elbows up in rehearsal. Be careful not to drop shoulder on recovery (common error) since this causes impingement and loss of motion.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress. You may be very surprised that many reading your post have the same or similar issues as you and possibly given up thinking this is the best it's going to be, no more room for improvement. This post will give those with shoulder and range of motion issues a TON of inspiration - so THANKS again for sharing!

Stuart
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  #30  
Old 08-18-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hi Danny,

Wow, great analysis and info - and thanks for sharing. Clearly you have a good handle on this. The lifting elbow vs the swing rehearsal we do at the beginning of workshops to 1. give students an "aha" moment to find the most range of motion by swinging not lifting elbow which is counterintuitive to us humans and 2. to find any range of motion issues the swimmer may have and help them adjust/adapt to any limits accordingly.

It sounds like you've found the position(s) on your right side were you have the best range and are most fluid. I wouldn't worry much about about shortening stroke length in the process. Maximum stroke length is not the goal it's finding the right stroke length (and tempo) given your height, skill level *and* in your case, range of motion on right side.

One thing you might try, is start the forward recovery motion gently sliding the shoulder forward toward ear before swinging elbow wide, much like Mandy slides both shoulders toward ears before swinging elbows up in rehearsal. Be careful not to drop shoulder on recovery (common error) since this causes impingement and loss of motion.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress. You may be very surprised that many reading your post have the same or similar issues as you and possibly given up thinking this is the best it's going to be, no more room for improvement. This post will give those with shoulder and range of motion issues a TON of inspiration - so THANKS again for sharing!

Stuart
Hi Stuart,

Thanks for your encouragement! This action of sliding the shoulder toward the ears before swinging the elbows up in recovery is what made me think of hunching my shoulders. Strangely, I didn't realize that this was critical primarily at the back and not at the front of my stroke. It is very strange how our perceptions based on what we feel are sometimes garbled and only tell a small piece of the story. My talk about hunching shoulders rightly struck people as crazy if applied to the catch part of the stroke. I am relieved, now that I think I can explain to other people (and even myself!) why I came out with this.
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