Be a Safer Swimmer - 360swim SaferSwimmer

Sep 25, 2007

Swimming Coaches Still Like Toys (Swimming Gear for Technique Improvement)

I was just surfing the web and found this very cool fin, called shin fin. It is not a regular flipper. Instead of putting it on as a shoe, a swimmer attaches it to his/hers shins. This way, it releases the stress on the ankles and the achilles tendon (this could be very bad with the mono fins). No more sore ankles, no more lost fins after a strong pushoff from the wall. You can even be creative and have you swimmers get out of the water with the shin fins to run to the otherside of the pool or do push ups.According to the inventor's Shin Fin website, diving in is also easy. I can't say, I have tried them yet, but would definitely be willing to give the shin fin a try. They do ship the shin fins to the entire world and come in all different sizes and also colors. I am very tempted to check the shin fin out.

Next, let's look at out how to work on your streamline while using your legs and a kickboard. Learning how to streamline is one of the most important aspects of fast swimming, so perhaps the next piece of equipment will help you out. The slick kickboard device that I have found useful is this streamline (alignment) kickboard. You can have your kids put their hands fingers underneath the strap and keep their arms in streamline while kicking. This way, flipturns and follow up streamlines are made easy :). Make sure though, you are not going too crazy with these, so your kids do not get some shoulder injuries from having the muscles tight all the time. Also, if you can, do not use any kickboards as it is much better to learn to move in the water without any boards and rely on your own relaxation and coordination. Here is some more info about the board.

Last item, I'd like you to have a look at is this peculiar looking forearm fulcrum like item. It is actually quite brilliant. Some swimmers have an issue with raising their fingers upward when starting their strokes, thus lessening the amount of water they are pulling. Some swimmers have an issue with water entry into the water with fingers first. And even some swimmers h

This Finis Forearm Fulcrum lets you keep your stroke efficient by hodling your wrist, elbow and shoulder at the correct swimming position. If you deviate andy of the arm parts from the optimial movement (you do it wrong) the fulcrum holder will fall off. So without doing it correctly, you won't be able to swim properly :). Therefore, the forearm fulcrum makes you focused on your technique all the time and helps you imprint the correct swimming motion into your brain, so after a few practices your stroke becomes much more efficient and injury free.

If you have any experience with any of these devices, can you please share them with us?
Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.

Sprint Breaststroke Workout (How to improve your breaststroke kick)

One of you have asked me to give some workout advice in your comments, so here it is. A few tips for your breaststroke 50s and 100s and I am sure it could come handy for longer events as well. First, keep in mind that breaststroke is a combination of leg power with good timing, so focus on this in your workout (apart from strenghtening your arms and improving breathing).

The best and fastest way to improve in your swimming is to make your technique better, so you can move through water with less energy. Here are some breaststroke sets that might help you with your kick and arms. Note: You should not do only breaststroke in your practice as that can be quite stressful on your kneess, so put other strokes in between.

- 8x100 (25 breast arms with six beat free kick, 25 free easy and repeat the first 25) - Focus on extending your arms very fast forward when you bring them together and do not let your head go down under the water.

- 8x25 (odd - underwater in a streamline + eggbeater kick (like water polo players, but in a horizontal position), even - easy free)

- 5x1 min(30 sec on, 30 sec off) - Vertical Kicks. Hold a medicine ball above your head while kicking breaststroke or eggbeater(this is best done in a pair where you can throw the ball to each other)

- 400m - Two pulls under water. Take two pulls after each turn (if too tough to start with, feel free to alternate two and one or decrease the distance)

- 5x1min (30 on/30 off) - Wall Kick. Find a wall and align yourself vertically against it, feet down. Then put your arms either above your head or behind your back and start kicking short breast kicks. The idea here is that you should stay vertical, pressing your chest to the wall, but your knees should hardly touch the wall. This will help you to be more streamlined and it will stop you from bringing your knees too far underneath your chest when you swim.

- 8x25 - Kicks on back. Arms are in a streamline, heels go down almost to your butt. Knees are NOT coming out of the watter and pevlis stays at the surface. Should have same effect as the wall kick above.

- 4x100 Sculling (each 25 differently) - front, on your back, in 90 degree angle, on one side.

Obviously, all these sets/intervals should be adjusted to your own liking/level. To get a good power in your legs a weightroom work is always suggested :).

For helping your breathing, you can use Power Breathe (just 2 times 30 breathes a day and you'll see a difference within a week).
Learning to swim is priceless and SwimSmooth Learn to Swim DVD is a great start

Feb 4, 2007

Body Balance and Swimming (Head lead body rotation drill)

As most of you might already know, body balance is one of the key aspects of fast and efficient swimming. I already talked about the balance a bit in the previous post about sinking legs. You might be thinking, what kind of balance do I need in a water while I swim, I just float. Well, that is true, your body naturally floats, however, it matters how you float and how much effort (energy) you consume with floating :). In this post, you can see a decent video of one good drill that is great for balancing your body in the water. Watch the video and below you will find my comments about the exercise.

Ok, as you can see, this drill requires constant kicking and a lot of core body strength. Keep your hands at your side, like you have them in your front pockets (don't move them). Your eyes are looking at the bottom of the pool or at the sky (not to your sides like in the video). Your body rotates on an axis that goes through the top of your head and comes out of your toes. The swimmer in this video does a very good job of rotating while keeping the head steady and hips at the surface.

As you can see, the rotation should be very smooth, trying to minimize the visual effect of tightening your muscles to turn. Also, it is nice to turn on your back, however, I'd keep the rotation only from one side to the other across your front, so you never end up with your belly up. If you really have trouble with the side to side, go side to back and back to side. Start on your side, looking down, then rotate to your belly, head still down, then rotate to your other side and now you can rotate your head to breath in the same axis as described above. If this is a bit too advanced, please consider working on your head position first.
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