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  #1  
Old 06-03-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Default pulsing power during body rotation

For a lot of sports involving cyclic activity, like skating, roller blading or cross country skiing, I think we are internally programmed to pulse our effort in a sudden short time and then relax. There are some advantages to this. When you pulse power, you get a ballistic phase afterwards, where you can coast off of your momentum and this phase allows you to rest and recover. In water I have the same tendency to do this when I spear forward and rotate my body at the same time. There is a desire to feel this “Ooomph!” and then a coast phase when I recover my arm. Problem is, I think that water doesn’t respond as quickly to power pulses as air does and the momentum in the coasting phase dies off much faster. So I am starting to question the wisdom of this strategy. Instead of a sudden rotation, is it better to back off into a rotation that lasts longer where you don’t press so hard but press longer? To me this is counter-intuitive and takes some practice. It also raises some questions I don’t have answers to, like how do I tell when I am pushing too hard and only creating turbulence with my effort? The mechanics of using your hips and core to power the rotation also need to change. These are things I am playing around with and I would be interested in input from other people.
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Old 06-03-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Why did they invent clapskates?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clap_skate
To pulse and relax?
No, to lenghten the effective propulsive phase.
Thats the opposite of pulsing. Its smearing out the available force in time.
I am also have been doing inline skating and rollerskating for some time, and long powerful strokes are required to go fast.
In swimming its just the same.

All throwing motions try to lenghten the effective propulsive path. (and use the whole body)
Discusthrowers take this principle to the extreme
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRBE-ANigvs

So , I completely say yes to your new approach.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 06-03-2015 at 07:49 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2015
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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Hi Danny,
I think you know the answer to your question. You know if you power is too quick when the added effort increases or does not change your stroke count at a given tempo. That means you begin to slip the hand. I found, as you suggested, that lengthening the time force is applied is far easier than short pulse/high power motions. This also goes with the focal point of holding water rather than pushing water. If you hold water, the force will occur for the entire length of the pull.

The only counter to this that I have felt is our pattern for butterfly where a short pulse seems to help. I think that has more to do with the fact that, in fly, the pull must happen at the expense of streamline. So the short pulse allows the arms to recover and return to streamline better.

But, in short, my general rule is always "play with it". Try both and see what feels better for you.
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  #4  
Old 06-04-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Eric, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, it is true that stroke count and tempo provide the best answers to these questions, but these answers are after the fact. They don't tell me how hard and how fast to pull when I am actually pulling, so I will need a lot of time and practice to get a feel for this type of solution. I am always surprised that my inclination is to always pull faster than I probably should. In fact, I think that this tendency becomes greater with fatigue, which is why my stroke count usually increases when I get tired.

On the other hand, it is when I start to notice that I am getting tired that I usually decide to cut back on my effort and try to anchor instead of pushing. My butterfly leaves a lot to be desired, but even there I find it is often better to try not to pull too hard. Instead I try to start my arm sweep earlier and move more slowly, so I will have reached the same arm position when it is time for my kick. I always have a desire to pause up front, when my arms go into the water, and I think this is also bad. Instead, it is better to use a slower continuous motion rather than a jerky motion with pauses.

ZT, I concede your point on an intellectual level, but my body still likes to jerk and then rest. It is perhaps the resting that is so seductive. Not sure.
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Old 06-04-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Hi Danny,

I know what you mean, and probably there is some thruth in your experience, tne more so at a low effort level.
When I amigine paddling in a canoe on a silent lake, I dont want to paddle all the time.
I make a stroke, let the canoe glide and glide , these things are so streamlined, and after it has moved a few meters I make another stroke.
So relaxing, and the canoe seems to move all by itself between my strokes.
Far more relaxing than moving the paddle all the time to keep it contact with the water in an attempt to keep a constant forward force.
If I want to paddle fast, than the latest option is more ecomomic.
So its not black and white.

But pulsing movements in water are usually a bad idea, even in the canoe example, when I make an occasional stroke I dont slam the paddle on the water, That will look silly, on that silent lake.

Maybe if the leg is held relatively straight the movement can be a bit short and powerful without too much loss.
Short powerful movements using small surfaces in the water are a big no no.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 06-04-2015 at 05:52 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2015
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Good topic. I too have wondered this. While I totally agree about the longer gentler propulsive phase, it raises questions which so far, I have only found trial and error to give answer, and sometimes that varies.

A) Harnessing the power of the core, and that of the kick seems to happen at a quicker, pulsing type of speed. Should those too be longer and slower? I find it's very effective to slow my hands and arms down, but slowing hip drive and toe flick down feel ineffective.

B) Coach David Cameron once made a point at how sleek we are when cutting the water on edge, and how slow we are when flat. So we should minimize the time we have those two shoulders in the water.

Both seem to argue for a quick switch, so I've been working on achieving a quick switch, driven by the kick/hips/core, but keep my slow hands. At some point, that pulse of power does hit and I'm trying to time it so it's when I have a solid anchoring hand and forearm perpendicular to the water. I tell myself to relax the shoulders at that point, relax the arm muscles and try to use that arm-wrestling leverage point to hold the water instead of pushing through with the quick pulse. Seems to work maybe 1% of the time ;-)

I also find that this core hip drive type of stroke still tires me out and it applies better to pushing harder and sprinting than it does to long distance... that's the part I'm still trying to figure out. How to do a good snappy hip drive and kick while still relaxing everything else as much as possible when possible so I'm not burning out my engine.

Pretty sure this doesn't answer anything, but know that the very thought means that you're following good lines of reasoning.
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  #7  
Old 06-04-2015
IngeA IngeA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Hi Eric, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, it is true that stroke count and tempo provide the best answers to these questions, but these answers are after the fact. They don't tell me how hard and how fast to pull when I am actually pulling, so I will need a lot of time and practice to get a feel for this type of solution.
I think, you will have to practice a lot and find out for yourself.

These are things, which you can't "feel" in theory. What is best for me need not be the best for you, because everyone is different.
Some are nimble, others rather slow. Some are strong, others weak. Some are flexible, others rather stiff.

And the same in character. You can be hot headed and aggressive (I don't mean brutal), or you can be totally relaxed in mind.

And there are all degrees between.
You can train to be strong, but if your figure is rather weak you never will become a bodybuilder...

You can train to be patient, but if you are hot headed this always will break through in "weak times" however relaxed you have learned to be in general.

So there is nothing than try out.

Inge
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  #8  
Old 06-04-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
Good topic. I too have wondered this. While I totally agree about the longer gentler propulsive phase, it raises questions which so far, I have only found trial and error to give answer, and sometimes that varies.

A) Harnessing the power of the core, and that of the kick seems to happen at a quicker, pulsing type of speed. Should those too be longer and slower? I find it's very effective to slow my hands and arms down, but slowing hip drive and toe flick down feel ineffective.

B) Coach David Cameron once made a point at how sleek we are when cutting the water on edge, and how slow we are when flat. So we should minimize the time we have those two shoulders in the water.

Both seem to argue for a quick switch, so I've been working on achieving a quick switch, driven by the kick/hips/core, but keep my slow hands. At some point, that pulse of power does hit and I'm trying to time it so it's when I have a solid anchoring hand and forearm perpendicular to the water. I tell myself to relax the shoulders at that point, relax the arm muscles and try to use that arm-wrestling leverage point to hold the water instead of pushing through with the quick pulse. Seems to work maybe 1% of the time ;-)

I also find that this core hip drive type of stroke still tires me out and it applies better to pushing harder and sprinting than it does to long distance... that's the part I'm still trying to figure out. How to do a good snappy hip drive and kick while still relaxing everything else as much as possible when possible so I'm not burning out my engine.

Pretty sure this doesn't answer anything, but know that the very thought means that you're following good lines of reasoning.
Point A above seems to be a tricky part of this, I agree. I too wonder about this part.

Also, the more I think about this, the more it seems to me that these issues become more important when fatigue starts to set in. This is when the desire to pulse and coast becomes stronger. I have taken to concentrating on backing off on the push phase of my stroke as much as I need to when I am tired, with the focus on maintaining a long stroke no matter how slow and light the pushing must become in order to do this. I think that the first thing that goes when fatigue sets in is timing and coordination. For this reason alone our motions tend to become more jerky, but by focussing on reducing effort as much as needed we can sometimes maintain long strokes, even if it is at a slower rate, and this may be a better strategy.
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  #9  
Old 06-04-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
A) Harnessing the power of the core, and that of the kick seems to happen at a quicker, pulsing type of speed. Should those too be longer and slower? I find it's very effective to slow my hands and arms down, but slowing hip drive and toe flick down feel ineffective.
I'm not sure I agree with this--I'm definitely (lately) swimming with some core power, but there's nothing quick or snappy about my stroke when it's working well.

It's more of a rocking/skating motion--my core lets me feel a diagonal connection between arm and kick, and I feel like I'm skating from one wide track to the other, and the weight shift keeps my speed fairly constant. Arm pull, too, is steady and smooth (ideally) rather than surging and powerful in bursts.

I am training for distance events, and I think this kind of stroke is very good for that. Don't most sprinters use a more shoulder-driven stroke with higher stroke rates? Hip drive seems to me to be more advantageous for distance.

Mentioned in the 2BK timing thread is the idea that a later kick spreads out the propulsive forces through the stroke to maintain a more even velocity as well--something I want to experiment with.
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2015
tomoy tomoy is offline
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It sounds like you've found that spot, the right balance between slow-long-smooth and purposeful drive.

I sometimes feel like when I'm doing the slow-long-smooth stroke my feet are kind of dangling behind with no purpose. Conversely, when I get the lower body and core involved (still trying to maintain the slow-long-smooth stroke) my energy consumption goes up beyond a level I can sustain for say longer than 20 min.

So attaining the subtle balance between the two, and finding your rocking/skating motion which makes use of core energy is a goal for me to maintain for longer distances.
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