Total Immersion Forums  

Go Back   Total Immersion Forums > Freestyle
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-01-2014
larryc larryc is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 22
larryc
Default Fixing an extreme balance problem

It was time for a no strokes/no kicking swimming practice, which I just did. Used this video to work on my balance today:

http://totalimmersion.net/blog/total-immersion-balance/

Wow, what an eye-opener … My body absolutely refused to stay in a straight line and I veered over the middle line over & over again, sometimes almost to the side wall! Also felt tightness in neck and shoulders.

What this told me is my body is out of balance and agitated before I take even a single stroke -- which would explain why swimming hasn't been getting as relaxed as I'd like. (I am working through sciatica in my right leg, which has to be hindering my swimming.)

As I did this Superman Glide again and again, it got a little better (especially when I cheated and used a pool buoy to keep my legs up). What else can I be doing to work on balance / swimming straighter / less tension?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-01-2014
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
coach
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,353
CoachStuartMcDougal
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryc View Post
It was time for a no strokes/no kicking swimming practice, which I just did. Used this video to work on my balance today:

http://totalimmersion.net/blog/total-immersion-balance/

Wow, what an eye-opener … My body absolutely refused to stay in a straight line and I veered over the middle line over & over again, sometimes almost to the side wall! Also felt tightness in neck and shoulders.

What this told me is my body is out of balance and agitated before I take even a single stroke -- which would explain why swimming hasn't been getting as relaxed as I'd like. (I am working through sciatica in my right leg, which has to be hindering my swimming.)

As I did this Superman Glide again and again, it got a little better (especially when I cheated and used a pool buoy to keep my legs up). What else can I be doing to work on balance / swimming straighter / less tension?
Hi Larry. This is all very common when learning linear balance (head to toes) for the first time. The body's reaction to being out of balance is tension in neck, shoulders, hands and arms. Relaxation is key to balance. Terry's blog (and video) are excellent. I use Terry's words "relax into weightlessness" with my students. The more relaxed you are the more weightlessness you will feel. It's ok to use the buoy for a length to feel where your hips should be, but then remove and try to attain that same feeling without the buoy.

Here's a SwimVICE video on "sinking legs" (that most of us guys usually have), much of the problem starts with head position:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLIqwD8pmLA

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-01-2014
kurb kurb is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 31
kurb
Default

Hi

I am starting from scratch (again) - after a long layoff. I hope it's ok to ask a different question related to the Superman Glide. I asked a fellow swimmer to check my form. He said that my hands and heels were at the water level but that my hips were below the water level creating a distinct arc or bow in my form. It takes me at least 5 times to cross the length of the pool.

I seem to be reasonably relaxed though I have to stretch a little to hold what i think is a straight line - and which turns out to be an arc. If I totally relax my legs sink to the floor. I am quite thin. When I try to lower my extended arms my legs sink. I don't understand why this happens - because in the skate lowering the arms brings your hips up.

The all-important head seems aligned (though I have tendency to hang them a little lower than I should). Also I have to hold a certain amount of air in my lungs for my feet to stay at the water level. If I slowly start exhaling my feet goes down first after a while.

If i use a Finis snorkel (like Terry does) during Superman my balance goes out of whack - that is, my chest tends to go up (presumably buoyed by the extra air in the snorkel) and my legs sink.

Not sure what I may be doing wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-02-2014
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
coach
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,353
CoachStuartMcDougal
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kurb View Post
Hi

I am starting from scratch (again) - after a long layoff. I hope it's ok to ask a different question related to the Superman Glide. I asked a fellow swimmer to check my form. He said that my hands and heels were at the water level but that my hips were below the water level creating a distinct arc or bow in my form. It takes me at least 5 times to cross the length of the pool.

I seem to be reasonably relaxed though I have to stretch a little to hold what i think is a straight line - and which turns out to be an arc. If I totally relax my legs sink to the floor. I am quite thin. When I try to lower my extended arms my legs sink. I don't understand why this happens - because in the skate lowering the arms brings your hips up.

The all-important head seems aligned (though I have tendency to hang them a little lower than I should). Also I have to hold a certain amount of air in my lungs for my feet to stay at the water level. If I slowly start exhaling my feet goes down first after a while.

If i use a Finis snorkel (like Terry does) during Superman my balance goes out of whack - that is, my chest tends to go up (presumably buoyed by the extra air in the snorkel) and my legs sink.

Not sure what I may be doing wrong.
HI Kurb, You doing everything right, most important you are now aware something is wrong. Balance is an acquired skill individual to each swimmer, even slight errors (eyes looking forward 5 degs) can make difference between balancing or falling off the beam. Most guys, me included, have heavy trunks, more weight behind the lungs.

It' great you notice the difference in buoyancy in amount of air - you will need more air and not empty immediately. Keep reps short like Terry does in his video. Once you feel hips start to sink, standup and start again from pool floor, add a *gentle* flutter kick. Tuck belly button *gently* toward spine, and open shoulders; using focal slide hands down VW bug hood and touch bumper (fingers tips down) - think tall. Arms should be low enough that a marble could roll downward from shoulder to hand.

This will help move more weight forward and below lungs and tip you forward to bring hips to surface. When position is right, your rump will crown surface and feel air on butt, back, shoulders. Be careful not to add tension in neck when opening/extending shoulders (to touch bumper)

This takes some time and patience, every body's different. But you will discover balance.

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-06-2014
kurb kurb is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 31
kurb
Default

Hi Stuart

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

I've introduced a gentle flutter to the Superman as you suggested. I can now stay afloat with my extended arms curved downwards and fingertips pointing down. My hips are now about 1.5" below the surface (I am told). While I can feel the surface with my hands, heels and back of head I still have no idea where my hips are. I also notice a relationship with hand and arm angle ie when I move my head down, my arm comes up and vice versa. Also, if I don't do an effective stretch (feel it in the armpits) my legs go down

If I now move from this relaxed superman flutter to a skate do I have to maintain that same easy flutter (but sideways), and only change the extended arm angle downwards to compensate for the rear arm with hands on thigh? I am thinking that my lower leg may be a good thermometer for sensing balance and that tension there my indicate proportional imbalance.

I still cannot do the glide with with extended arms down and no flutter ie to glide my extended arm goes to the surface and my back arches like a banana. When I take my arms downwards I can feel upward pressure on them and my legs go down. The reason I think that my arm wants to stay at the surface is maybe because my hips are below the surface, perhaps by 6". I've tried experimenting with core relaxation and head angle but no luck thus far.

But as you say this can take time and requires patience.

Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-07-2014
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
coach
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,353
CoachStuartMcDougal
Default

Hi Kurb,

You are welcome, hope it helps. If your hands are feeling the surface, they're too high. Hands below wrist, wrist below elbow, elbow below shoulder - using marble visual it should easily roll down arm shoulder to fingertips. Another visual is clock position, shoulder being center of clock, hands should be between 3:30 and 4:00 o'clock positions - surface of water being 3 o'clock

When you do superman with or without gentle flutter, keep reps short - once you feel the hips begin to drop, repeat starting from pool floor. When in superman, extend shoulders forward without adding tension in neck and shoulders, like you are shrugging both shoulders toward ears. This will move more weight further in front of lungs and tip you forward. When you have discovered good balance and your balance pendulum, you will feel air on your back and rump, rump should crown the surface. Lowering arms a bit and extending shoulders forward will raise those hips.

Good luck and keep up the good work!

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 03-07-2014 at 05:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-08-2014
kurb kurb is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 31
kurb
Default

OK thanks for the tip about hunching the shoulder towards the ears, and about the 3.30 to 4 pm cue

I believe I confused you when I mentioned that I can feel the surface of the water with my hands - I was just trying to suggest that while my hands are sensitive to feel the surface my mid- section is not yet - as I cannot tell where my hips are relative to the surface. But I will now pay attention to my back, as you suggest, to see if I can feel anything there.

Actually I can now do the superman flutter with my extended arms as you suggest - I think that the hand is about 6 " below the surface and my flutter kick is shallow. Thanks to your suggestions.

However I lose it when I stop the flutter - I cannot seem to find a balance between stretch and relax that works - or that does not getting me looking like a banana. Also I am told that I have a little curve in my alignment when I try the skate. I can feel that somewhat in my lower back when I skate on my right side with my weaker (nerve-impinged) left leg on top. But I cannot tell whether this is a kicking problem or a core problem.

Bottom line: still experimenting, and having fun. Thanks
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.