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Old 02-16-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Default idle thoughts while out of the pool with a cold

For the past number of days I haven't been swimming and have been lying in bed with a cold. The worst part of this is what it does to my core muscles, which seem to completely turn off and go to sleep from spending so much time in bed. I am cringing when I think about what this will do to my swimming when I get back in the pool. Has anyone got suggestions for how to re-activate the core muscles after too much time in bed? My first thought is mindful walking with special attention to posture, weight shifting and the timing of shoulder and leg recovery to maintain alignment. What? You don't spend your time thinking about these things when you walk? You don't know what your missing...
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Old 02-16-2016
descending descending is offline
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If you have been utilizing spinal stabilizers doing 'life' then laying in bed isn't going to do a thing to them for a few days. If you are still learning how to apply them face down in water that is probably just more muscle memory than anything, but the overall capacity of the muscles to do work isn't going to evaporate from being down with a cold. My wife is a PT she spends a lot of time teaching people how to 'do life' with structural support re-learning. We were not meant to sit and be idle this is 1 of 1,000 reasons why desk jobs are silent killers. Literally.
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Old 02-16-2016
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Hi Danny, I couldn't swim for 1 month. When I got back to the pool I had lost mostly aerobic fitness and stroke rate, but fortunately they're coming back pretty quickly. Not in big trouble with core muscles.

Descending, what's 'doing life'?

Salvo
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Old 02-16-2016
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Danny

Early this year I had by first bad cold in years (one seems to become immune as one ages, but this bug sneaked through), and had to scratch from a two-day meet I was really looking forward to. I spent a lot of the time asleep but when I got back to the pool the damage didn't seem too bad.

I've now missed another big meet because I didn't get my entries in early enough. My first meet of the year looks like being in May and I've had to abandon the thought of swimming in the European Masters because the entries were all full after a day or so. There is much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the British Masters community as a result.

In the spirit of welcoming adversity I have returned to my quest to learn a legal butterfly and hope to enter the 100 and 200 IM in May. It's a short course meet so I have a chance. I managed it in 2012, I think.

You'll probably find that you get back into the swing quite rapidly.
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Old 02-17-2016
descending descending is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
Hi Danny, I couldn't swim for 1 month. When I got back to the pool I had lost mostly aerobic fitness and stroke rate, but fortunately they're coming back pretty quickly. Not in big trouble with core muscles.

Descending, what's 'doing life'?

Salvo
Sorry didn't see this first time through. Doing life is simply normal daily activities and doing them with your deep spinals as the focus for things like walking, lifting etc. Ideally when sitting you shut these down b/c it can cause something loosely referred to as 'gripping' in the PT world. Not a technical term, but used to describe how people activate the little low back muscles when sitting improperly. Push back into the lumbar support and let the chair support you. It's a 2 edge sword. Desk hermits spend too much time with their deep spinal stabilizers 'off' so they can't 'do life' when it demands it. Or at least do it right.
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Old 02-17-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Got back in the pool today for the first time since the cold. Canít say it was any worse than it was after a comparable layoff without being sick. Just before I got the cold, I had been trying to imprint a number of new sensations while swimming, which had to do with maintaining a straight line while rotating, keeping my balance forward as the recovery arm spears, coordinating the motion of the two shoulders during the whole process. Not sure if this has to do with my limited shoulder flexibility, but my sense is that, while it is important to keep a weightless forward arm during recovery, this does not mean that the forward shoulder is stationary. It also means that I am initiating my catch while the recovery is taking place on the other side. The only caveat is that no pressure should be exerted on the forward arm while it is moving into this catch position. Key in all of this is also coordinating both sides into one smooth motion, and this was largely gone today. I felt a little like someone who stopped reading a book a while ago, but didnít mark the page where he stopped. So I spent today paging through the book, trying to find where I was last time, and I may have found the chapter but not yet the page. Descending, I suspect that this process I am talking about happened in your swimming so long ago that it may sound entirely unfamiliar to you. This is the difference between juvenile and adult onset swimmers.
Thanks to everyone for your help and encouragement. David, now that I can activate my inner core stabilizers through diaphragmatic breathing, Iím not sure what the next step is. Should I be practicing activating them without the breathing? I sense that I use these muscles when walking, although I am unaware of using them while swimming. Or should I merely try to spend my life breathing diaphragmatically? Again, I am unaware of how I breathe when swimming, although I think I do tend to breathe diaphragmatically when walking.
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Old 02-17-2016
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
David, now that I can activate my inner core stabilizers through diaphragmatic breathing, Iím not sure what the next step is. Should I be practicing activating them without the breathing? I sense that I use these muscles when walking, although I am unaware of using them while swimming. Or should I merely try to spend my life breathing diaphragmatically? Again, I am unaware of how I breathe when swimming, although I think I do tend to breathe diaphragmatically when walking.
Good that you are at this point! Many do not make it here so feel good that you have gotten to this point.

The next steps are to get the same activation in different positions, adding in movement, practice not letting it go on the exhale, and to do it with a quicker breath in.

Some static positions to try:

1. sitting - sit with good posture - this is critical - good posture is required for good/maximal IAP generation. you can generate IAP if you are not aligned, but it will be as good, up the point at which it will be really hard to do it. with every breath, try to send pressure down all the way to the bottom of your butt (ie. pelvic floor). you can check also by sticking your fingers into the flesh inside of your ASIS joints. you can also check the sides, and low back too. if you have a chair with a back, you can often use the cushion behind you to feel for pressure increase upon a breath in.

2. standing - stand with good posture. repeat above.

Some movement to try:

1. sync the inhale breath with every step while walking. This usually entails walking fairly slowly, or breathing more quickly.

2. sync the inhale with only one side's step, exhale on the other step while walking for a while. then switch to the other side.

3. sync the inhale with one side's step, then exhale for 2 steps, the inhale on the 3rd step (which is effectively now alternating sides with inhale).

4. dead bug lower body - lie on your back. bring both knees up to 90 deg. practice a few breaths with fingers pressing inside of ASIS joints. Feel alsoo the low back flesh press against the ground. then:

a. try lifting both feet off the ground. did you low back lose contact with the floor? if not, master this not by squeezing the torso muscles tight, but by using breath to press strongly down into the pelvic bowl.

b. if you can do a, then try this. lift both feet up where you are 90 deg at hip, 90 deg at knee. then while maintaining IAP and low back thus touching the floor, try to extend one leg to straight. can you maintain your low back touching the floor? also stop if you hear/feel a click in your hip. this is a sign that your IAP is letting go. bring knee back to 90, then put both feet on the floor. repeat.

quicker breath:

1. whenever you practice, try to take a quick breath in via your nose and quickly generate pressure low into our pelvic floor. if you can do this, then practice with your mouth open which is more like what happens during swimming.

not letting IAP go:

1. one thing that can happen with meditative breath practice is that we get used to taking air in, and then letting it all out, thereby releasing also IAP. this is OK for this type of practice as much of it learning how to relax with breath. however, letting it go completely isn't necessarily optimal for physical performance.

for short periods of time, try taking an inhale and generating pressure, then on the exhale, try to not release the pressure you feel below. in the beginning, this may be simply, take a breath in, but don't let all the air out. you can try taking an inhale, and then a quick puff out and don't fully push all air out, but then go to inhale right after. Repeat.

some swim practice:

Use SG to start. then Skate, then one stroke. and so on.

1. take a good IAP breath in. Then squat down in prep for SG and stand back up. did you lose it when you squat down? practice to not lose it on the squat - any movement can cause you to lose IAP if you are not used to creating/maintaing it.

2. if you can do 1, then try maintaining IAP while pushing off into SG. did you do it?

3. if you can do 2., then try IAP pushing off into SG, and then Skate. did the rotation into Skate cause you to lose IAP?

give these a try and report back!
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by descending View Post
If you have been utilizing spinal stabilizers doing 'life' then laying in bed isn't going to do a thing to them for a few days. If you are still learning how to apply them face down in water that is probably just more muscle memory than anything, but the overall capacity of the muscles to do work isn't going to evaporate from being down with a cold. My wife is a PT she spends a lot of time teaching people how to 'do life' with structural support re-learning. We were not meant to sit and be idle this is 1 of 1,000 reasons why desk jobs are silent killers. Literally.
Hi descending. I fully agree with you. This past year I just finished a month of PT because of arthritis in my hips, and the main message I got from this (and a lot of reading) is that I need to use a different set of muscles when I stand and walk. So I probably don't lose the condition of these muscles in such a short time, but I do lose the muscle control patterns. Which is why I spend so much time doing "mindful walking". Perhaps not surprisingly, I find that mindful walking helps me with the same issues in maintaining alignment when swimming. I don't think that the muscle patterns are identical in order to keep an aligned core in swimming and walking, but the feeling that everything is smooth, effortless and in sync when you do it is very similar. If I can sensitize myself to this feeling when walking, then it helps me to find it when swimming as well. Lying in bed wipes out my muscle memory for both, and that is what I am wringing my hands about right now :0)
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Old 02-16-2016
descending descending is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Hi descending. I fully agree with you. This past year I just finished a month of PT because of arthritis in my hips, and the main message I got from this (and a lot of reading) is that I need to use a different set of muscles when I stand and walk. So I probably don't lose the condition of these muscles in such a short time, but I do lose the muscle control patterns. Which is why I spend so much time doing "mindful walking". Perhaps not surprisingly, I find that mindful walking helps me with the same issues in maintaining alignment when swimming. I don't think that the muscle patterns are identical in order to keep an aligned core in swimming and walking, but the feeling that everything is smooth, effortless and in sync when you do it is very similar. If I can sensitize myself to this feeling when walking, then it helps me to find it when swimming as well. Lying in bed wipes out my muscle memory for both, and that is what I am wringing my hands about right now :0)
I honestly wouldn't worry about it too much if you are in tune with using these muscle groups for locomotion during the day that's well enough it will come back. There will come a time you don't have to think on it just go and it's there. I suppose I tend to forget those days since I have been swimming for so long, but if you are in the pool several days a week it's not going to up and leave you like a dog chasing a leaf.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2016
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
For the past number of days I haven't been swimming and have been lying in bed with a cold. The worst part of this is what it does to my core muscles, which seem to completely turn off and go to sleep from spending so much time in bed. I am cringing when I think about what this will do to my swimming when I get back in the pool. Has anyone got suggestions for how to re-activate the core muscles after too much time in bed? My first thought is mindful walking with special attention to posture, weight shifting and the timing of shoulder and leg recovery to maintain alignment. What? You don't spend your time thinking about these things when you walk? You don't know what your missing...
If you want to obsess more about walking, you should read What the Foot? By Gary Ward.

As for the core, lying down is the perfect time to practice your torso stabilization.

First learn how to diaphragmatically breathe. If you can't do that yet, then place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Try to take in air without moving the hand on chest at all. A cue is to push your belly up, moving the belly hand up.

The moment you can do this without the chest hand moving but only the belly hand, then stick your fingers under your rib cage in the fleshy part at your sides. Try to breathe in while pushing those fingers out.

Then put your hand under your low back on each side and try to feel pressure there, pushing down into your hands and bed, as you take each breath in.

If you can do those, then move to your pelvis. There are two bony joints called your ASIS joints. Press a finger or two into your flesh on the insides of your ASIS joints. Then take a breath in and attempt to push your fingers out. If you can do this, you will feel a tightening all around your lower torso. This is your inner core stabilizer muscles activating. Training this will improve your swimming a ton.
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