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Namor
October 2nd, 2008, 06:19 PM
Maglischo in Swimming Fastest (p.108) describes two styles of
catch. One in which the elbow is close to the surface and arm outside shoulder. In the second, the elbow is deeper and the arm only slightly outside the shoulder. (A third straight arm style he does not recommend.)

He argues (amongst other things) that the first allows an earlier catch but may place more strain on the shoulder, so it is not clear which is preferable.

Would either count as an Early Vertical Forearm or only the first? Any views on the shoulder strain argument?

jim thornton
October 2nd, 2008, 11:18 PM
I don't know the answer to your question, though the first very high elbow catch does seem to place more stress on my shoulders than the second more narrow and deeper catch feels less awkward. It could be, however, that I have been doing the second approach for so long that my shoulders are just more used to it. If you watch videos of Grant Hacket types, they clearly do the first approach, so I suspect it could be more effective.

My main reason for replying to your post, however, is to compliment you on your user name. Do you, by any chance, have a very attractive blue girlfriend who lives with your underneath the ocean's surface? If so, don't you get most of your propulsion in the water via those small wings flanking your Achilles tendons?

LindsayNB
October 3rd, 2008, 09:13 AM
If you watch videos of Grant Hacket types, they clearly do the first approach, so I suspect it could be more effective.

I believe that Grant has also had to have shoulder surgery...

Redbird Alum
October 3rd, 2008, 05:26 PM
In my opinion, the deeper catch allows for more leverage across the entire arm musculature, greater arm surface during the pull, and would be maintain body alignmet through the pull sequence.

I have no scientific analysis to back this up, however, so I would like to hear other voices on the matter.

Namor
October 3rd, 2008, 05:31 PM
Do you, by any chance, have a very attractive blue girlfriend who lives with your underneath the ocean's surface? If so, don't you get most of your propulsion in the water via those small wings flanking your Achilles tendons?

My secret's out..... but my swim coach says it's no excuse for not having a good catch.

tomtopo
October 4th, 2008, 05:03 PM
The depth of the catch for each individual will vary due to things like one's body type and strength. There is an optimum depth for a catch and how early that catch should be acquired. Again, a persons body type and strength will dictate how early and deep a catch can be acquired.

Any swimmer can avoid shoulder injuries if they're careful and the following article will help you learn more about the topic. If you're really interested in learning more about the importance of an Early Vertical Forearm position, the United States Swimming organization, the American Swimming Coaches Association and the United States Olympic Training Camp, have scientific information that will steer you in the right direction.

The following article is lenghty but it will offer you a lot of great information.

An Overview of Swimmers Shoulder Injury
Swimmers Shoulder Injury
By Mat Luebbers, About.com



Swim coaches frequently encounter swimmers complaining of pain in one or both of their shoulders. This pain (and its underlying cause) is often associated with swimming freestyle, and seems to occur most often in the swimmer’s anterior shoulder region, but could also occur in other shoulder regions. When reported by swimmers, this pain or injury is often termed swimmer's shoulder (SS). SS and can limit or stop training and hinder performance. If it were possible to employ specific methods and techniques to limit the impact of SS on a swimming program and its athletes, it would be a valuable addition to the overall training plan of that program and its individual swimmers. Maximizing the athlete's availability to train (and to compete) is important to advancement in sport achievement.

Identifying and employing methods to decrease the incidence, duration, or intensity of SS episodes could allow an affected athlete to return to training or competition sooner, or could prevent an athlete from encountering a SS injury. Reducing the occurrence of SS or reducing the time needed to rehabilitate the athlete from that injury if it occurs, could lead to valuable reductions in lost training time for swimmers. Employing several preventative and rehabilitative methods can reduce losses in a swimmer's training availability from shoulder pain or shoulder tissue damage commonly known as SS. These methods to control SS include technique modifications, appropriate considerations in program and training design, appropriate flexibility development and maintenance, and strengthening exercises.

Freestyle or front crawl involves an overhead arm motion repeated many times in a single workout. It is the most often used technique in a swimming workout. Swimmer’s shoulder (SS) is a general term for pain in the shoulder area of a swimmer that could be encountered when performing freestyle. In this paper, SS will be limited to an impingement in the subacromial area or other similar dysfunctions in closely related shoulder regions. Overuse is defined as employing a movement of a structure more frequently than that which the structure is prepared. Overtraining is related to this, as it is doing more overall work or work at a higher intensity level than that which the swimmer is prepared; overtraining could result in overuse. The primary causes of shoulder problems in a swimmer are those related to SS. Athletes with this specific shoulder injury can be treated and rehabilitated by utilizing simple methods. The occurrence of SS injuries can be decreased through the utilization of certain methods and techniques.

Swimmers can make changes to their routines that allow them to incorporate these methods to decrease the frequency of SS incidences. Many things could lead to shoulder injuries in a swimmer that are not related specifically to their swimming, or specifically to performing freestyle. Damage from a shoulder injury could be so severe that basic rehabilitative or preventative measures will not be affective. Some athletes will not want to rehabilitate their injury with the intention of returning to swimming, and instead may choose to stop participation. It is generally accepted that an athlete needs to train to improve. If an athlete is injured, and that injury is so severe or painful as to require training activity be limited or stopped, it is unlikely that the athlete will be able to improve as much as if they were not injured. If the injury stops that athlete's participation in the sport, the situation is even worse. Decreasing or preventing injury occurrences is, therefore, an important consideration when dealing with athletes.

Swimmers frequently report that they have shoulder pain, often indicating a case of SS. If the causes of this pain can be addressed, to limit or eliminate the affects of the injury causing the pain, there should be a greater chance for swimmers to train, improve, and compete in their chosen sport.

Swimmers Shoulder is frequently described as an impingement problem in the rotator cuff area, felt as anterior shoulder pain (Anderson, Hall, & Martin, 2000; Bak & Fauno, 1997; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Koehler & Thorson, 1996; Loosli & Quick, 1996; Mayo Clinic, 2000; Newton, Jones, Kraemer, & Wardle, 2002; Pollard, 2001; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Richardson, Jobe, & Collins, 1980; Tuffey, 2000; Otis & Goldingay, 2000; Weisenthal, 2001; Weldon & Richardson, 2001). Anderson, Hall, and Martin (2000) describe the initial symptoms as pain felt deep in the shoulder, often at night, and that increases with activity in the impingement position. The pain may only be felt in a painful arc between the waist and shoulder (Mayo Clinic 2000). This painful arc is described by Anderson, Hall, and Martin (2000) as being between 70º and 120º during active or resisted abduction about the shoulder. A study by Bak and Fauno (1997) reported swimmers described pain as localized in the anterior or anterior-lateral shoulder area. The pain may gradually increase over time, indicating an impingement, as opposed to a sudden onset of pain, which would indicate a tear (Chang 2002).

Both the Hawkins and Neer test could be positive, with the Hawkins test indicating a compression of tendons under the acromion, and the Neer indicating a rotator cuff pinching on the anterosuperior glenoid rim (Pink & Jobe, 1996). In a case review by Koehler and Thorson (1996), the following signs were noted in a swimmer with no previous history of shoulder problems that was now complaining of shoulder pain:

Shoulder pain while swimming freestyle.
A forward shoulder slouch while seated.
Underdeveloped posterior shoulder musculature.
A mild winging on the affected side's left scapula.
Tenderness in the acromioclavicular joint and coracoid process in the impingement area.
Tenderness in the affected side's bicep tendon and supraspinatus tendon.
A full range of motion in all planes.
Strength was slightly decreased in the supraspinatus and infraspinatus.
Full strength in the internal rotators, arm extensors, and flexors.
Moderate posterior and anterior laxity in both shoulders.
A bilateral sulcus sign.
Impingement and adduction-compression tests on the affected side were positive.
An apprehension test on the affected side was negative.
They concluded that the swimmer had an impingement syndrome consistent with SS that included weakness in the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers and multidirectional instability (Koehler & Thorson, 1996). Bak and Fauno (1997) state that the majority of swimmers with shoulder pain have signs of impingement, increased shoulder laxity anteroinferiorly, and a lack of scapulohumeral coordination, supporting Koehler and Thorson (1996). The pain from SS can be divided into four increasingly more severe categories (Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992):

Pain only present after heavy workouts.
Pain present during and after workouts.
Pain present that interferes with performance.
Pain that prevents participation.
If possible, at the first sign of any SS symptom, an evaluation for other symptoms should be undertaken before the condition escalates (Tuffey, 2000). It may also be possible to isolate the cause or causes of this occurrence of SS and develop an appropriate rehabilitation or prevention plan.


There are many possible reasons for SS to develop. SS injury and pain from impingement and other related issues seems to occur under one or more of the following circumstances (Anderson, Hall, & Martin, 2000; Bak & Fauno, 1997; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Maglischo, 2003; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Tuffey, 2000; Otis & Goldingay, 2000; Weisenthal, 2001). SS is considered an impingement related injury that seems to develop through a mechanism related to overuse or instability (Anderson, Hall, & Martin, 2000; Bak & Fauno, 1997; Baum, 1994; Chang, 2002; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Koehler & Thorson, 1996; Loosli & Quick, 1996; Maglischo, 2003; mayo Clinic, 2000; Newton, Jones, Kraemer, & Wardle, 2002; Pink & Jobe, 1996; Pollard, 2001; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Reuter & Wright, 1996; Richardson, Jobe, & Collins, 1980; Tuffey, 2000; Otis & Goldingay, 2000; Weisenthal, 2001):

faulty stroke mechanics
sudden increases in training loads or intensity
repetitive micro traumas related to overuse
training errors (such as unbalanced strength development)
use of training devices like hand paddles
higher levels of swimming experience
high percentage of freestyle swum in practices
weaknesses in the upper trapezius and serratus anterior
weakness or tightness of the posterior cuff muscles (infraspinatus and teres minor) or a hyper mobile or very lax shoulder joint.

Swimmers perform a great number of overhead arm motions in the course of a normal practice week; Pink and Jobe (1996) estimate that some swimmers may complete as many as 16,000 shoulder revolutions in a one week period, while Johnson, Gauvin, and Fredericson (2003) estimate this number could be as high as 1 million per year. To gain a sense of scale, Pink and Jobe (1996) compare swimmer's arm motions with 1,000 weekly shoulder revolutions for a professional tennis player or a baseball pitcher (Pink & Jobe, 1996).

Given the swimmer's quantity of movements and the range of those movements, micro traumas are inevitable, and damage from repeated micro traumas can develop into SS (Bak & Fauno, 1997; Chang, 2002; Costill, Maglischo, & Richardson, 1992; Johnson, Gauvin, & Fredericson, 2003; Pink & Jobe, 1996; Pollard & Croker, 1999; Otis & Goldingay, 2000). It appears that there are three main syndromes behind SS (Pollard & Crocker, 1999; Weisenthal, 2000):

instability
impingement
tendonitis
Tuffey (2000) lists the triad of problems involved with SS as:

biceps tendonitis
subacromial bursitis
rotator cuff tendonitis usually in the supraspinatus muscle.
Richardson, Jobe, and Collins (1980) summarize SS as a chronic irritation involving the humeral head and rotator cuff interacting with the coracoacromial arch during shoulder abduction resulting in an impingement, as do Otis and Goldingay (2000).

geochuck
October 4th, 2008, 07:25 PM
As you see by Tomtopo's post we can have major problems.

I will just say if it hurts don't do it.

When I had frayed tendons in both shoulders I just got my thumbs closer to the body during the catch phase.

MartyD43
July 16th, 2012, 12:10 PM
Maglischo in Swimming Fastest (p.108) describes two styles of
catch. One in which the elbow is close to the surface and arm outside shoulder. In the second, the elbow is deeper and the arm only slightly outside the shoulder. (A third straight arm style he does not recommend.)

He argues (amongst other things) that the first allows an earlier catch but may place more strain on the shoulder, so it is not clear which is preferable.

Would either count as an Early Vertical Forearm or only the first? Any views on the shoulder strain argument?

- I think Maglisco is right
- I think both of the first two count as EVF
- (Note: I do not understand the straight arm style, worked years to get away from it and improve EVF)
- One of my coaches explained style #2 as "a little bit of chicken wing" in the pull
- I think both #1 and #2 put strain on the shoulder
- I think individual mechanics play a big role in how much strain
- for me, a big factor is the entry of the recovering arm
- I like "thumb down entry", seems to aid in EVF pull
- but this is harder on my shoulders than "pinky down entry"

orca1946
July 16th, 2012, 12:38 PM
I use # 2 due to pain after long sets. Maybe it's just me!

Why Not
July 16th, 2012, 03:37 PM
What about mixing the two or three styles and use that style that will give you the desired speed. When I am doing sprints all out, I love to have a straight arm when pulling. But in other circumstances I use the high elbow catch.

geochuck
July 16th, 2012, 05:57 PM
Keep it simple choose what seems best for you.