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Old 04-24-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,442
Danny
Default The difference between anchoring and pulling with the sweep hand

This question seems to come up a lot on this forum: What is the difference between anchoring with your sweep hand as opposed to pulling through the water? Both actions involve exerting force with the same muscles. This morning as I was swimming a distinction occurred to me, which I would like to run by people here.

Pulling with the sweep hand exerts a force on the water, which is used to propel your body forward. The implicit assumption behind this statement is that the greater the force the more propulsion you get. I think the main distinctions between pulling and anchoring are timing and coordination. When you anchor, the force you exert with the anchored hand is measured out very carefully depending on what the other side of your body with the spearing hand is doing. For example, I tend to wait before exerting force with my anchored hand, perhaps longer than others, until my body has rotated enough so that my spearing shoulder is moving horizontally forward, as opposed to going down into the water. Even then, once this has happened, I am only exerting enough force on the anchored hand to move my spearing shoulder forward in a horizontal line. If the anchored hand moves too fast, the coordination between the two sides is lost, and my sense is that energy is wasted. In summary, pulling is an action done on one side of your body without sufficient consideration of its consequences on the other side, whereas anchoring is a whole body coordination, where force on one side is measured out to achieve the desired effect on the other side.

It is reasonable to ask what it is on the spearing side which needs to be coordinated with the anchoring hand. I am not sure of the answer to this, but here is my conjecture. Our bodies are built so that the shoulders on each side can move independently of each other, but efficient swimming occurs when the shoulders move as if they were attached to each other on a straight axis. By doing this, more power in our stroke comes from the core body, where the bigger muscles can do the work. Keeping this axis straight during the stroke requires coordination of the two sides, and I think that is what I am referring to above. I must concede that I am not entirely sure of this analysis and would like to hear other points of view.

Last edited by Danny : 04-24-2015 at 03:36 PM.
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