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  #1  
Old 09-24-2010
sikidhart sikidhart is offline
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Default How much air do you "keep" in your lungs?

Hello!

I have a couple of quick questions:

1. When you exhale during swimming or during drills, do you exhale all the air out or do you just do a "half-exhale" to keep some of the air in?
I get a sinking feeling (well not just a feeling since I do really sink) every time I try to exhale completely so I usually keep some air in my lungs. The problem is, I think it's the main reason why I start panting after 25m of drills.

2. I saw the Shinji's superman float video and I was just amazed at how long he could keep his legs afloat.
I'm trying to keep my head down, and I almost try to dive down but my legs still sink. Does anyone else have this problem??

Thanks!!
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Hello Sikidhart,

1. Advisable to exhale 100%. In the forum you often read about "CO2 build-up". If CO2 stays in your lungs, you will be out of breadth and feel the need to stop.
Some people slowly exhale and then, right before inhaling, push the last remaining air out

2. Keeping the head down is critical for balance. However I am more and more convinced that to help legs stay up you also need to develop good core muscles (abs...). Espicially when you have long legs like me.

Having said that when you swim, rotate, keep high elbows on recovery, have a good 2BK... legs do stay up.

It is impressive though to keep legs up in Superman Glide !

ALEX
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2010
andreasl33 andreasl33 is offline
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In Superman-glide, I found it helpful to first inhale as much air as possible and keep that air in during the glide. This makes your body buoyant overall. Second, when the body surfaces and the legs are at danger to sink once you slow down, bring your extended arms and shoulders to the surface (head and lungs stay fully submerged!) and, if necessary, lift your hands above the surface, to counterbalance the sinking legs. You also have to maintain good tension of the core muscles, to make the body rigid enough to act as a teeter-totter suspended at the lungs.
To extend the time that you can hold the air without breathing, make sure you fully exhale (and thus clear all the CO2 from your lungs) before taking the deep breath.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2010
terry terry is offline
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As Alex commented, it's best to exhale fully on each breath. Holding some air in can create a bit of tension. It also leads to a buildup of CO2.

I'll add that not only should you exhale fully but your air exchange should be continuous. Never a pause in the passage of air into or out of your lungs.

I bubble out gently and quietly - often from my nose - in SG and other balance drills.

Shinji's superior balance is not a product of having air in his lungs. As is true of most Asians, his spine is "long" and his legs "short" in comparison to westerners.
The fact that more of our overall height is below the hips makes it much harder - perhaps impossible - to float as you've seen Shinji do. My balance is great, but I can't match him there.

However our height, while making balance a greater challenge, is useful in reducing wave drag.
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2010
sikidhart sikidhart is offline
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Thanks for your quick and informative responses.

>Some people slowly exhale and then, right before inhaling, push the last remaining air out

That makes sense. That way I can get new air in before sinking because of an empty tank. I'll give that a shot!

I'm not sure if this happens to you too but even when I'm floating on my back, if I let all the air out, I sink. If I don't inhale, I'm pretty sure I'd go all the way to the bottom of the pool.

I'm East Asian too and now that you mentioned it, my legs are short haha.
I'm 5'10 and quite a bit more muscular than most of the people in the pool.
I wouldn't be called "stocky", but "slender" doesn't fit me as well.

Correct me if I'm mistaken but from the answers above, it sounds like I'd have to do tense my body during superman glide. I originally thought that I should be completely relaxed.
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Maybe some of us Western Europeans have some Asian genes from way back because I'm one of those with short legs and long body. In my youth I used to try to do the high jump, for which I was totally unsuited, having what they used to call "duck's disease" (arse too close to the ground).

In theory, therefore, I should be able to rival Shinji in superman glide, but I suspect I would be several meters short. I do go past the backstroke flags though. I seem to remember that Shinji does about twelve meters. Perhaps tomorrow I'll try to improve my distance. Carrying a small object (a coin for instance) and placing it on the side of the pool to mark your distance is something I have heard of.

I begin breathing out as soon as I push off.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2010
andreasl33 andreasl33 is offline
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If your goal is just to glide as far as possible, make your body as buoyant as possible and do everything you can to add weight above the lungs to balance. That entails stretching the arms and shoulders forward as far as possible and to add weight, lift the arms to the surface so that a strip of flesh is in the air, while keeping the head and lungs submerged. If necessary, lift the hands slightly above the surface, so that their weight in connection with the long lever your arms provide can act as a strong counterweight to your legs.

If you watch Shinji closely, this is what he seems to be doing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwV7aik6doM

He surfaces pretty early because of the amount of air in his lungs, then has his arms and shoulders at the surface with a strip of flesh in the air. At position :27 you can see him lifting the hands slightly out of the water.

If I do this, I can easily glide as far as I can hold my breath, usually about half the pool length. The limit is only how long I can hold my breath, the legs don't sink, even if my speed is zero. I am about 200 pounds, 6 ft 1 inch. It gets maybe more difficult is you are very lean, but I don't think it's impossible. If you are very lean, you may have to store an extra bit of air in your lungs.

If your goal is not to glide as far as possible, but to relax as well, then the above method is not good.

Last edited by andreasl33 : 09-24-2010 at 09:17 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreasl33 View Post
If your goal is just to glide as far as possible, make your body as buoyant as possible and do everything you can to add weight above the lungs to balance. That entails stretching the arms and shoulders forward as far as possible and to add weight, lift the arms to the surface so that a strip of flesh is in the air, while keeping the head and lungs submerged. If necessary, lift the hands slightly above the surface, so that their weight in connection with the long lever your arms provide can act as a strong counterweight to your legs.

If you watch Shinji closely, this is what he seems to be doing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwV7aik6doM

He surfaces pretty early because of the amount of air in his lungs, then has his arms and shoulders at the surface with a strip of flesh in the air. At position :27 you can see him lifting the hands slightly out of the water.
A word of caution if attempting this in order to stay balanced...

Shinji is able to raise his arms while keeping his chest pressed into the water and his head and neck relaxed and aligned. He can move his arms independantly of any muscle tension being created in the neck, head, traps or chest. The shoulders glide & rotate in their sockets while muscle tone is still relaxed. His shoulders are flexible enough to allow this to happen. Many people do have the flexibiliyt and can demonstrate it on land, but in the water, tension immediately builds.

The vast majority of people if told to lift their arms while swimmikgn, will do so while engaging a lot of other upper body muscles by "leaning back" to get the arms up, rather than "leaning forward" while raising the arms independantly. For this reason I never advise students to do this in an effort to get them to float more horizontally. I'm usually much much more interested in teaching the student to relax than teaching them to be on top of the water.

The majority will do better to reach down towards the black line ("five o'clock for dinner") And by allowing the arms to sink, the torso can then float higher. So rather than trying the seesaw float which can backfire, consider trying the true "deadman's float" in which the torso from shoulders to hips achieves a horizontal position with the arms and shoulders relaxed and pointing downwards a bit.

But as with anything, experiment...a LOT ...and see what works best for you.
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Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 09-30-2010 at 07:33 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2010
Physics202 Physics202 is offline
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For me, the only way to not get completely winded is to exhale completely. As mentioned earlier, I never stop inhaling or exhaling. As soon as I get a full breath, I start exhaling slowly, and when it's time to get my next breathe, I push the rest of my reserve out completely.

When I first started drilling, I found I definitely sank some when breathing out. Try to stay elongated at this point, and lean on your lungs as much as possible. It will get much better when you start doing full stroke. Just make sure to let all your air out, and when rotating to breathe, make sure your head moves with your body rotation, instead of turning your head in excess.
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2010
sikidhart sikidhart is offline
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I'm not trying to be good at the superman glide, but rather I wanted to use it as a measuring stick for balance and relaxation.
Last Saturday, I was able to reach the end of the 25m pool in 4 glides without kicking the wall on the first.

Completely exhaling does take some effort to get used to. That sinking feeling really makes me raise my head.

Do I really need to look down? Can I look sideways? :)
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