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Old 08-15-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Danny
Default hunching your shoulders while swimming

This morning while swimming I noticed something that seemed to help my stroke, although Iím not sure I understand why. So I want to put my speculations down here to see if they resonate with anyone, or if this was all just in my imagination. What seemed to help me was hunching my shoulders up close to my body on both sides while stroking. The mental image here is of trying to squeeze your body through a very narrow hole in the water, so you squeeze your shoulders in front against your head and in back against your torso.

Here is my subjective impression of why this might have helped, although I am not at all sure of this. First, by constraining the shoulder movement in this way, you place more emphasis on forward/backward shoulder motion which, when properly timed, helps make your arm stroke more efficient. In back, on the recovery side, hunching my shoulder seemed to prohibit my tendency to rotate this shoulder too far toward my longitudinal center line; this made an elbow up recovery much easier and may have taken some hesitation out of my stroke, especially on the side where I have a bad shoulder from an old injury. In front, I have the subjective impression that I am able to spear shallower, which reduces water resistance on the front arm (all problems for someone with limited shoulder mobility). It also seems to help my body rotation, perhaps because, by squeezing my shoulders toward my bodyís centerline, there is less rotational inertia to overcome (?) There may, however, be a completely different explanation for this.

Not sure about this, but it seemed to shorten my stroke length somewhat, but because my recovery felt easier I was able to speed up my stroke rate to more than compensate for this loss. Today I was swimming in open water, so it was hard to measure these things, but yesterday I was in a 25 m pool. At that time it seemed like I was adding 1-2 SPL, but my times on 100 m intervals dropped from 2:04 min to somewhere between 1:57 and 1:58, and the whole process felt much more relaxed. This is a pretty big difference in times, and Iím interested to see if I will be able to repeat this.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
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Old 08-15-2015
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Danny,

interesting points. Hope You'll have success with it in longer tests! Just some (conflicting?) thoughts from a not knowing..

Quote:
...The mental image here is of trying to squeeze your body through a very narrow hole in the water, so you squeeze your shoulders in front against your head and in back against your torso. ...
Doesn't this result in much additional tension and handicap your breathing?

Quote:
...I have the subjective impression that I am able to spear shallower, which reduces water resistance on the front arm (all problems for someone with limited shoulder mobility)....
When spearing shallower (be careful not upward...), doesn't it become additional stress to your shoulder when going to catch, perhaps with EVF?

Think in limited mobilities (as always in FS-stroke) it might be better to focus in "what can I relax even more?" and let stretching and squeezing more for gentle dryland exercises.

Last but not least: If you have success without pain care further!

Best regards,
Werner
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Old 08-15-2015
descending descending is offline
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descending
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I cannot speak to what Total Immersion wants out of the stroke, but I can definitely tell you hunching the shoulders puts the humerus into the worst possible orientation for a high elbow catch in freestyle or butterfly(very similar catch positions). The ideal position at full extension is to have the scapulas retracted and close to the spine/midline. Slouching shortens your pectorals which is huge problem for a great catch and pull.

This is ingrained in young swimmers with sculling drills and teaches swimmers how to keep the elbow high and treat the forearm/hand like a windshield wiper more or less. Oy vey. Sculling. This takes me back a long way to swimming with my junior club. Every time I'd get tired at the end of practice and start dropping my elbow I'd here 'get over to the empty lane and finish up will sculling.

Again, I'm just learning the ins and outs of TI via a friend and am very interested in learning more. If there is one thing I appreciate about this amazing sport it's that learning never stops. That is IF you are paying attention. I have seen a lot of swimmers get sore shoulders from taking their land based slouching of life to the pool. Further I believe that leads to recovery as the culprit of injury, but it also sets a swimmer up to have a near impossible task of catching early and catching well.

Last edited by descending : 08-15-2015 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 08-15-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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First, I am not claiming that this approach in any way reflects TI doctrine. On the contrary, I am finding that, because of shoulder limitations on my right side, I am having trouble recovering the way that TI suggests. So I am looking for compromises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by descending View Post
I cannot speak to what Total Immersion wants out of the stroke, but I can definitely tell you hunching the shoulders puts the humerus into the worst possible orientation for a high elbow catch in freestyle or butterfly(very similar catch positions). The ideal position at full extension is to have the scapulas retracted and close to the spine/midline. Slouching shortens your pectorals which is huge problem for a great catch and pull.
Not sure I understand the description you are giving above, but let me try to clarify my description. In the moment when my forward arm is extended before the catch, my shoulder will be touching my ear, but it will be rotated so that my elbow is up. At some point during the catch and pull phase, this shoulder moves back and winds up below my head (as the other shoulder comes forward). By keeping my shoulders narrow (as if going through a small hole) I think I am delaying somewhat the movement of my shoulder in the direction of my feet. In other words, my catch must occur more because of body rotation while the catch shoulder is still in a forward position. Maybe this is why I find this approach helpful, it forces me to use body rotation at an earlier stage to initiate my catch, not sure. The position I am talking about here will stretch your pectorals, not shorten them and it will not drop my elbow.

It is possible that the reason why I am having difficulty describing what I am doing is simply because I don't really understand what I have been doing. If so, then please let me know that what I am saying doesn't make sense. Maybe this will help me to understand my own motions!
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2015
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by descending View Post
I cannot speak to what Total Immersion wants out of the stroke, but I can definitely tell you hunching the shoulders puts the humerus into the worst possible orientation for a high elbow catch in freestyle or butterfly(very similar catch positions). The ideal position at full extension is to have the scapulas retracted and close to the spine/midline. Slouching shortens your pectorals which is huge problem for a great catch and pull.

This is ingrained in young swimmers with sculling drills and teaches swimmers how to keep the elbow high and treat the forearm/hand like a windshield wiper more or less. Oy vey. Sculling. This takes me back a long way to swimming with my junior club. Every time I'd get tired at the end of practice and start dropping my elbow I'd here 'get over to the empty lane and finish up will sculling.

Again, I'm just learning the ins and outs of TI via a friend and am very interested in learning more. If there is one thing I appreciate about this amazing sport it's that learning never stops. That is IF you are paying attention. I have seen a lot of swimmers get sore shoulders from taking their land based slouching of life to the pool. Further I believe that leads to recovery as the culprit of injury, but it also sets a swimmer up to have a near impossible task of catching early and catching well.
descending makes some really important and good points. What he says is true about increasing the chance of shoulder impingement if the head of the humerus is biased upwards and you try to move it in that position. You're basically rubbing /irritating/inflaming the tendons in that location.

one of the biggest problems i see in clients is the result of a 21st century lifestyle. they are shrug/trapezoid dominant in any arm movement. it most adversely affects the ability to recover properly. they always want to move the shoulder joint towards the head first before moving the elbow. there are many reasons for this, ranging from poor breathing (not diaphragmatic), to weak/overlengthened rear shoulder muscles, to poor scapular action, to dominating anterior muscles (front delt, pecs).

i always need to retrain their movement pattern to balance out muscle activation, keeping the shoulder more in the socket as they recover the arm forward. otherwise, they will try to bring their hand forward to compensate (their body knows they cannot complete the movement by moving the elbow fwd, instead we move the hand), move the elbow behind their back (looking for somewhere they can move to), or experience pain/resistance as they get to shoulder position of the elbow.

you may not experience pain/discomfort now, but i am sure that it is inevitable if you continue to shrug the shoulder while recovering....
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  #6  
Old 08-15-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Hello Danny,

interesting points. Hope You'll have success with it in longer tests! Just some (conflicting?) thoughts from a not knowing..



Doesn't this result in much additional tension and handicap your breathing?



When spearing shallower (be careful not upward...), doesn't it become additional stress to your shoulder when going to catch, perhaps with EVF?

Think in limited mobilities (as always in FS-stroke) it might be better to focus in "what can I relax even more?" and let stretching and squeezing more for gentle dryland exercises.

Last but not least: If you have success without pain care further!

Best regards,
Werner
Hi Werner,

No, this doesn't handicap my breathing. In fact, I found that I am breathing easier and less out of breath. As I noted to descending above, I may be describing what I am doing in a poor fashion because I don't really understand it yet. If so, then all of these questions will perhaps help me to better understand it.

Spearing upward is a definite no-no. I always try to keep my elbow up when I extend forward so as not to drop my elbow.

My sense is that my efforts to recover TI-style on my right side where I separated my shoulder years ago lead me to lock up this shoulder or introduce either pain or hesitation in my recovery. This is why I am working so hard at finding alternatives or compromises.
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  #7  
Old 08-15-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
one of the biggest problems i see in clients is the result of a 21st century lifestyle. they are shrug/trapezoid dominant in any arm movement. it most adversely affects the ability to recover properly. they always want to move the shoulder joint towards the head first before moving the elbow. there are many reasons for this, ranging from poor breathing (not diaphragmatic), to weak/overlengthened rear shoulder muscles, to poor scapular action, to dominating anterior muscles (front delt, pecs).
David, as I noted above, I may be misunderstood in what I said. I think what I am describing allows me to keep my recovered shoulder back and initiate the recovery with the elbow, as you have recommended above. However, although the shoulder is back, it is rotated in the same position that it is in forward when my elbow is up. This is what allows me to initiate a recovery with the elbow instead of the shoulder.

Where I may differ from other people on my right side is that this elbow recovery cannot proceed up to my head in this position. (It can on the left side where my shoulder is good, but not on the right side.) So I have to find some ways to get that hand forward before the shoulder locks up. I think this starts to occur on the right side when my elbow is approximately a linear extension of the line between my shoulders and perpendicular to my spine. It is here where standard recovery doctrine breaks down for me, and I am looking for alternatives. I am not sure that I have yet found the optimal one, so I am always interested in suggestions from others.

One of the criteria I use for a good elbow-up recovery is the ability to lightly drag my fingertips through the water, slightly behind my elbow as the recovery occurs. This is pretty easy to accomplish on the left side, but more of a challenge on the right.

Last edited by Danny : 08-15-2015 at 11:53 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08-16-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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straight shoulders, and open chest and armpit works best for me.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...erwater-8a.jpg

Danny
Dont understand what you are doing exactly, but you will find out yourself I guess.

Question for Descending
Quote:
Again, I'm just learning the ins and outs of TI via a friend and am very interested in learning more. If there is one thing I appreciate about this amazing sport it's that learning never stops. .
It would be interesting to hear what you are searching in TI.
I have symphaty for TI, and the inside out swimming approach, but looking in the pool , the best swimmers have a normal competetive swimming background.
I cant find much wrong in what is teached today in competetive swimming.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 08-16-2015 at 07:51 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-16-2015
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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WFEGb
Default Sorry, a little bit off topic

Hello Zenturtle,

Quote:
...I cant find much wrong in what is teached today in competetive swimming.
You had a look at?

Mat's TI teaching

And not everybody will be able to excavate the best fine points out of every view to fit for himself as you can do. (Charles is another one able to do. Missing him in our forum!)

Think it's more like finding the best fit for every individual (stroke) needs not a question of right or wrong.

(Surely, Danny does need a very special stroke, how do other (more competetive oriented) schools deal with such needs?)

Best regards,
Werner

PS: I love your penguin! That's what I'd like to stroke like. Extended belly for this streamline is already there...
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  #10  
Old 08-16-2015
descending descending is offline
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descending
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
straight shoulders, and open chest and armpit works best for me.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...erwater-8a.jpg

Danny
Dont understand what you are doing exactly, but you will find out yourself I guess.

Question for Descending


It would be interesting to hear what you are searching in TI.
I have symphaty for TI, and the inside out swimming approach, but looking in the pool , the best swimmers have a normal competetive swimming background.
I cant find much wrong in what is teached today in competetive swimming.
I'm not looking for anything in particular, but rather a global view of it all so I better understand a friend when he asks me questions. I have a friend who took up TI and when he asked me questions about SPL and SR I simply became interested in the approach. I think TI from what I see thus far it's a fantastic approach for new swimmers. None of my coaches have ever asked me to focus on these metrics with quite the same focus. Certainly reduced stroke count sets have been a part of that, but it's not a constant focus it's simply a snap shot to keep us focused on not getting short as we tire. The big divergence I think I see is work load and stroke rate. There is no amount of stroke length I could add to reduce my stroke rate at race pace and not go significantly slower. I might be wrong, but it seems like 60 spm is a number that is focused on to not go much over? Maybe I'm seeing that wrong, but seems like that is a limiter or would be to me. Again, not having time to digest it all I could be misreading that and that is not the case at all.

Last edited by descending : 08-16-2015 at 11:56 AM.
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