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Old 09-29-2010
howard224 howard224 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
Default about balance

according to the laws of physics, i suspect that it's impossible for some people to avoid lower-body sinking.

let's compare the following videos:
1. Terry's freestyle
2. Shinji's freestyle
it seems that Terry's hips and lower body sink a little bit, while shinji's hips always touch the surface.

imagine a straight stick with low-density material from one end, high-density material from the other. the total intensity of the stick is slightly lower than water. every time you put it in the water, it floats rather than sinks. however, the high-density part will always sink. therefore, it is impossible for people whose lower bodies play the high-density part to balance naturally as Shinji in the following video:

it's their destiny. they always have to fight the additional drag.
any solutions?

Last edited by howard224 : 09-29-2010 at 03:46 AM. Reason: revision
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Old 09-29-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 804

Yes, keep the head low and kick at the right time.
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Old 09-29-2010
quad09 quad09 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 34
Default about balance

Terry doesn't appear to arch his back as much as Shinji and this would help to elevate his hips and feet. Proper technique is critical! Besides Terry could have been having a bad "hip" day!!:):) Sorry.
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Old 09-29-2010
seungew seungew is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 23

I've been reading alot that for balance and a proper aeorodynamic shape of your body to occur ... one needs to keep one arm out in front to break the water molecules and create a hole for the body to travel through.

So.. for the head position, one should arc the back abit so you are looking down but forward slightly?
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Old 09-29-2010
millertime millertime is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 40

howard224: you are right - there is a limit to how balanced one can get through practice. Those who have long torsos relative to their heights, or short legs relative to their heights, will be better balanced. There are many articles discussing Michael Phelps' proportions in this regard.
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Old 09-29-2010
Alistair Alistair is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 57

There's more to being balanced in swimming than the kind of static balance you see on a set of weighing scales. The fact the swimmer is moving in a liquid produces a whole range of forces, and these forces can be balanced over the stroke... and if they're not balanced well, we're in trouble :) The obvious example is kicking, where a quick toe flick produces upward pressure drag around the lower leg, that balances the weight a lean leg feels due to gravity...
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Old 09-29-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 787

Balance can be drilled.

Take a look here
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Old 09-29-2010
aerogramma aerogramma is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 155

thanks for the link haschu... interesting site
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Old 09-29-2010
andreasl33 andreasl33 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 193

The feet produce lift through the kick. The lungs are naturally buoyant. So the very top and the very bottom of the body is buoyant. If the hips are not at the surface, it is because of insufficient activation of the abs - the body hangs through. Try to reduce the arch in the back and your hips will rise to the surface.
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Old 09-30-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,453

The truth is that everyone can they not? The key is to learn to sink horizontally. Swimming is dynamic and dynamic muscle forces are in play, or rather isometric muscle forces. By experimenting with the angle of the arms, head/neck, the amount of lean into the armpits/chest area and avoiding tension especially in the shoulder girdle as sinking starts, the horizontal position can be more readily obtained.

Many "sinkers" will struggle so much to keep their head, arms or hands close to the surface, that once sinking starts, tension builds, alignment gets unbalanced and there is no hope of recovery...they sink like a rock to the bottom of the pool.

My maintaining a relaxed forward arm, with a downward angle, leaning into the chest/armipts and finding the balance between muscle TENSION and muscle TONE

Tone strives towards relaxation, releasing tension, while still maintaining shape, allowing for streamlining in a forward direction and much slower rate of sinking towards the bottom of the pool. Sinking is OK as long as it is in horizontal alignment.

Tension creates stiff, immobile, non-dynamic, energy wasting forces in a positive feedback loop that arrests forward movement, encourages hips and legs to sink and accelerates the rate of plummeting towards the bottom of the pool. The positive feedback loop occurs when the stiffness allows rear end sinking, which is coutner balacned by reaching more towards the surface with a stiffer shoulder which further unbalances the body and results in reaching for the surface even HARDER (frequently by 'pointing' the fingers and hand towards the sky. Before you know it you are sinking like a lead arrow to the bottom.

Sometimes when teaching a new swimmer with a "sinking" problem, a great deal of hands on assistance is needed to help interrupt the positive feedback loop that comes from tension. similar to emmet hines article on using progressively smaller "floatboards", as an instructor I'll provide a bit of hip or thigh lift to allow the swimmer the time needed to EXPERIENCE relaxation in the water, especially in the shoulders and arms.

As they learn balance, I decrease my assistance and simply provide some forward momentum.

learing to balance, like everything else in swimmign takes many iterations and practicing the correct movements over and over and over again.

For a 'natural sinker', these body positions and the amount of muscle tone needed feel completely foreign (if they didn't the swimmer would already be doing them). I've worked with plenty of triathletes who say taht their other coaches gave up on them, but after an hour of lessons and a week of at home practice, these people inevitably come back with the ability to stay horizontal in the water.

If I can get my rear in gear I can post some progress photos of this phenomenon.
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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