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  #1  
Old 08-31-2013
Janos Janos is offline
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Default Undulatory locomotion

Hi all, thought I would jot down my musings on this subject, and see if anybody else has similar thoughts, and so help me crystallise mine into a definite viewpoint.
Watching Touretski being interviewed about his training methods with Popov it was interesting to see in the video his emphasis on dolphin kick training, and swimming freestyle with no kick but allowing his hips to sway free. He does not explain what he is trying to achieve but cryptically alludes to fishlike swimming. Which at first seems slightly at odds with the kayak principle needing a tight torso.
Is efficient swimming a combination of both? Should we relax our torso slightly during recovery when swimming freestyle and tighten it again after the hip drive?
Is there a transfer of power backwards, that creates the thrust that allows all strokes to become smooth and fluent? So many people post and say how much better they swim with no kick, or with one that is just a flick. Is this because when they flutter kick, or have a badly timed two beat kick, that it hinders the pulse or transfer of power that makes smooth swimming possible?
As much as 80% of propulsion during breaststroke comes from the kick. Recovery facilitates breathing and then we tuck into streamline position, harnessing the kinetic energy of our dropping torso and sending that through our hips and out through the kick. A basic undulatory movement, that can only work if timing is correct, and we are streamlined at the time we kick, otherwise we are just creating drag. This fundamental movement is also used in butterfly, and just about everything that swims at any speed. Can this theory be applied to freestyle? To become 'fishlike', the first thing to dispense with is the flutter kick. The second is the muscular pull. The power transfer has to come from the rotating shoulders and rotating hips creating a linear thrust through to the kick? Previous posters have quoted Shinji as saying this is incorrect, but I feel it has merit, and have changed my training accordingly. Has anybody else tried to combine fly and breaststroke theory with freestyle? Or have a theory as to the merit of kicking forwards as opposed to sending power backwards?
Charles recently posted a video where he is filming one of his students in an open water race, it is interesting to note how the kayak he is filming from is tossed about by the chop, and yet the swimmer seems to ride the swell. Is he displaying some undulatory movement that allows him smoother progress, whereby the stiffness of the kayak in this instance is perhaps a hinderance?

Janos
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Yeah you're pretty much on track on several counts in this post, namely your allusion to the serape effect.. Anyway, that's straight in the middle of my own freestyle teaching. Yes torso has to release then tighten for better exploiting weight shift combined with the lever that automatically gets shorter as a result of BR.

What I'm suggesting here is that the hand that's skating all of a sudden will be brought back as a result of weight shifting on the other side.

Relaxing right hand/arm on entry allows for that shoulder to be positioned slightly in front of the other. When torso tighten and br occurs at the same time, that shoulder is automatically brought back, thus bringing the now pulling hand back as well.

Some might argue that the hand stays there and that the body rather propels over the hand. This important mantra allows for limiting pushing water back. That'd be true. But for sake of simplicity I preferred to use the other way around.

Now you're raising a very fun point about Luc. That I have no clue yet what to make, though I tend to think that it'd be better to strengthen the core a bit, or at least make it tough enough to sustain a 2hr+race. Because as the race unfolds, you see more and more fishtailing. Being hit laterally didn't help there.

And yes (too), if you're simply suggesting that there's a bit of fly in Shinji swim, that'd be about right. He uses a undulatory motion to cheat, thus lifting the hips every once in a while. Something noticeable with Sun Yang as well, and among several good smooth swimmers I guess. That's good cheating. And a good use of fly.

2bk can sometimes be seen as single leg fly kick, if it's what you suggest.

I wouldn't recommend putting too much focus on achieving this, prior addressing more urgent priorities though. Or else mutant stroke might occur :)

And yes (too) this swimmer is trained first as a freestyle swimmer, then as a butterfly specialist, last as an IM jack of all trade. He was taught the long distance fly so to speak, often perform a kilo at this. The other day he swam a 750 ow I think, fly. And use of body weight on catch/pull through is at the center of pretty most of what we do at Free, on top of working on a variety of drills.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 09-01-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 09-01-2013
Janos Janos is offline
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I totally agree about two beat kick being interpreted as a reduced fly kick, and all your other comments, especially about Shinji and his stroke. All the bandwidth about the idiosyncrasies of his stroke on this forum, and not one about the most fundamental part of that stroke.
Hopefully there is no danger of a mutant stroke, as the challenge as you rightly state is the subtle release of tension within the torso at the right time. Perhaps not to the extent where fishtailing occurs...but in Lucs case, in that chop, I think he can be forgiven! :-)

Janos
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Old 09-01-2013
tomoy tomoy is offline
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x2. I think the 2BK, when timed properly resembles half of a fly kick and that's when the core muscles contract.

My core strength isn't good enough to do this for a long time. I notice there becomes a conflict between the core contraction and my desire/need to breathe. So I haven't quite figured that out yet.

I kick-toe-flick-down, and spear the opposite side and can feel the core muscles flexing across my body, but that's exactly when I should be inhaling to get an early bite of air. Mystery.
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Old 09-02-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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[quote=tomoy;

I kick-toe-flick-down, and spear the opposite side and can feel the core muscles flexing across my body, but that's exactly when I should be inhaling to get an early bite of air. Mystery.[/QUOTE]

Hi tomoy
Let me try to say this with accurate words.
Right arm is recovering above water and entering the water in front of the right shoulder opposite or just In a line with the front of the head. At the same time - the left hand/arm is getting into catch position while the left leg is flicking its shoe off. :0) as this is happening the right side of the body is moving downward while the left side is rotating upward and when the left google is above water that is when one can get the early breath. The head must move as one with the body. The left side of the body moves upward bringing the in line head with it.
Of course the next stroke is the reverse.
Hope this helps.
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Old 09-02-2013
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Hi Grant - thanks for pitching in. Your words are precise and I'm pretty close to breathing as you say.

I think the mystery, to me (keeping core flex in mind) is that I think the ideal phase to pull the rope of my body tight (contract the core), starts as the body rotation hits the flat point between rotation (switch) and ends at the point of full extension: both spear and toe-flick.

It seems that immediately after that full-extension moment as the next recovery begins is where to grab air. However my core doesn't want to release, or un-contract quickly enough right there. Especially as tempo gets up faster than 1.20 on the TT and I'm breathing every two.

I haven't seen many focal points on core muscle contraction, when to time it, when to time the release, or how it should feel. In the meantime I'm doing my dryland kicking exercise....

Cheers.
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Old 09-04-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Just a thought ...

...I find if I contract my stomach muscles a little more (feeling as if I'm approaching arching my back) and a little earlier, then it's possible to then relax them at the right moment - when the mouth gets to air and the glide is at max.

p.s @Grant: nice to read your description as it exactly matches what I posted a while back but got no response to :)
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  #8  
Old 09-04-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Just a thought ...

p.s @Grant: nice to read your description as it exactly matches what I posted a while back but got no response to :)
Hi Talvi. Agreement is powerful and let's hope what we are saying is accurate and precise. :0)
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  #9  
Old 09-04-2013
Janos Janos is offline
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Tomoy, if you are swimming at 1.20 pace and upwards for drilling purposes, you really want to maximise the time you get for taking a breath. You are right to want to take a breath as recovery begins but not as shoulder rises and lifts recovery arm out of the water. At full extension and when catch has formed, turn and take some air then. Watch yourself pass the catch and watch the arm come out of the water and travel over your head till you can look through the triangle of your elbow for a brief moment, before turning back to face the bottom of the pool. Looking slightly back as you do this makes it easier too. At a rough guess, if you wait till arm is coming out of the water before you take a breath, you will have half a second to inhale. This is not enough time for lots of people. Focus on turning your head independently of body roll whilst you practice this. As you get better you will need less time, but in the beginning it makes sense to get the maximum amount of time to take a bite of air. Gives you time to relax too. You want to be releasing core after arm has entered and is approaching full extension.

Regards to all

Janos
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
.. when catch has formed, turn and take some air then. Watch yourself pass the catch and watch the arm come out of the water and travel over your head till you can look through the triangle of your elbow for a brief moment, before turning back to face the bottom of the pool. Looking slightly back as you do this makes it easier too. ...
I find touching my chin almost on my collar bone, as you say as the arm enters catch (not at full extension though), enables me to watch the surface approach as my body turns. It's a much more lazy approach and enables me to feel much more relaxed about the "one goggle under" thing as well as the Popeye breathing.

I do sometimes find that deliberately turning my head under the water as the recovery arm passes i.e head first, shoulder follows, is like making a statement of faith in the next breath to come. Counterintuitively it makes me feel more confident about breathing by "taking matters into my own hands" rather than allowing the stroke to deny me more time in the air.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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