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david.margrave
April 1st, 2009, 11:19 PM
I am tapering for my big meet 4/10-11 and I'm thinking about my next training cycle. Since my free and fly are already my stronger strokes, and I had a good time drop in breaststroke which I attribute largely to weight training concentrating on shoulders and chest, I'm wondering if there are specific lifts that would benefit backstroke, which is my weakest stroke by far, in fact my 50 breast was nearly as fast as my 50 back at my most recent meet. If I could improve my backstroke I might actually get a decent time in an IM event.

Rykno
April 2nd, 2009, 04:09 AM
wouldn't it be rotator cuff, and flexability as well as tri's to get the extra push.

JimCanSwim
April 2nd, 2009, 08:30 AM
I use a round 2 1/2 pound barbell weight (in each hand). I lay on a 45 degree bench (or maybe horizontal) and just do the backstroke holding the weights. They always say the best thing to do in weight training is to simulate the motion of the sport you're doing. I also use them for the front crawl. If 2.5 is too light, you can always go to 5. I usually do 10 reps on each side. See how it feels to start.

JIM

qbrain
April 2nd, 2009, 08:45 AM
Squats should help with all strokes. Think about all those starts and turns when swimming short course, and how much a difference they make in your overall time.

As for backstroke specific lifting, I got nothing. My backstroke got tons faster when I started doing tons more backstroke in practice.

orca1946
April 2nd, 2009, 11:24 AM
I use a handle at the gym that comes from the high station & pull it like I was doing back. 2 sets of 15 @ 60 lbs. Also quad extensions 2 sets @ 90lbs

Redbird Alum
April 2nd, 2009, 03:26 PM
Add a drag suit/t-shirt to your backstroke practice
Invert yourself on a standard freestyle pull machine (provided the incline board is narrow enough to allow shoulder rotation)
I used to have an overhead eye-hook in my garage that I attached bungee cords to and pulled down from a standing position.
use the Phelpsian upright dolphin kick in deep water to improve your SDK off the wall (your body weight is all you need.)

david.margrave
April 2nd, 2009, 04:14 PM
I have been vaguely aware of drag suits for decades now, but have never actually seen anyone using one in a workout. So I sort of dismissed them as a gimmick. I'd be interested in hearing first-hand opinions though.

The Fortress
April 2nd, 2009, 04:17 PM
Instead of worrying too much about upper body weights or swim specific weights, maybe focus on the core and leg work? Seems like some of the best backstrokers have strong core/legs, which really helps with rotation and turns. Perhaps do more kicking in practice as well.

Swim specific weights seems to be a subject of controversy.

DPC
April 2nd, 2009, 05:13 PM
Instead of worrying too much about upper body weights or swim specific weights, maybe focus on the core and leg work? Seems like some of the best backstrokers have strong core/legs, which really helps with rotation and turns. Perhaps do more kicking in practice as well.

Swim specific weights seems to be a subject of controversy.

I'd go with that - build the leg strength, squats and leg extensions, do lots of kick sets. I found the dreaded 25 underwater SDK sets helped me both in dealing with my turns and managing my oxygen and pain at the end of a 200 back.

ourswimmer
April 2nd, 2009, 05:23 PM
Instead of worrying too much about upper body weights or swim specific weights, maybe focus on the core and leg work? Seems like some of the best backstrokers have strong core/legs, which really helps with rotation and turns. Perhaps do more kicking in practice as well.

I agree with this advice as well. Kick kick kick. The back is a less efficient position for pulling than the front, because of the extreme torso rotation and shoulder flexibility that are necessary to get the arm in anything like an optimal position. So the kick is more important in backstroke than in freestyle.

You could spend 30 min. twice a week lifting, or you could spend 30 min. twice a week doing a hard flutter kick set on your back, and I think the latter would pay off more than the former if you had to choose just one of those two options.

qbrain
April 2nd, 2009, 06:17 PM
Seems like some of the best backstrokers have strong core/legs, which really helps with rotation and turns.

I think Fortress means that ideally, you want to have short legs and big calves.

The Fortress
April 2nd, 2009, 06:19 PM
short legs and big calves ...

... and gills!

You can build leg strength by kicking with fins as well, if you are so inclined. Underwater shooters/SDKs really help your starts and turns, as David noted above.

orca1946
April 2nd, 2009, 06:37 PM
Yes, legs are needed a lot in back. Drag suits with pockets do make you work harder, but they seem to throw off my stroke.

funkyfish
April 2nd, 2009, 10:54 PM
I'm curious to hear some responses from speedy backstrokers (if some of the responders already are speedy backstrokers I apologize). What I remember from swimming backstroke as a high schooler was the incredible, searing/burning pain in my thighs by the end of the race. That, and the schnozz full of water.

So…given my previous experience, I'd probably suggest building the legs, at least in terms of lots of reps and endurance. But…I wasn't a very fast backstroker so maybe I was using my legs too much?
:bouncing:

david.margrave
April 3rd, 2009, 12:40 AM
Well, that's my problem. I never had been a very good kicker. I have been doing barbell squats for over a year and they've probably improved my turns but haven't done much for my kick, apparently.

ourswimmer
April 3rd, 2009, 12:40 AM
What I remember from swimming backstroke as a high schooler was the incredible, searing/burning pain in my thighs by the end of the race. That, and the schnozz full of water.

So…given my previous experience, I'd probably suggest building the legs, at least in terms of lots of reps and endurance. But…I wasn't a very fast backstroker so maybe I was using my legs too much?

I am an OK backstroker (not as speedy as The Fortress, though), and I say that if you felt an awful burning in your legs and you couldn't feel your feet at all, and your race was 100y or longer, you probably were doing it right.

The water up the nose is optional. Some people wear a nose clip although I don't like it for anything longer than 50M because it impairs inhaling too much. The water-exclusion strategy that I do not recommend is tilting your chin down toward your chest.

Chris Stevenson
April 3rd, 2009, 10:18 AM
I don't do any weight training specifically for backstroke.

Or rather: I have been emphasizing legs & core work more and more the last 1-2 years, but backstroke is only part of the reason.

I agree that backstroke stresses the legs a lot, probably more than freestyle does for most swimmers. But other strokes also use legs a lot too; I know butterfly does. In fly, if my legs die, I sink lower in the water and go slower.

And while I use SDK more on backstroke than the other strokes (b/c I seem to be a faster kicker on my back than on my front), a good SDK benefits all three strokes.

And, of course, working lats and triceps are as important as for the other two strokes.

(I guess I've vaguely heard that there is a 4th competitive swimming stroke, but I think that's an urban myth.)

qbrain
April 3rd, 2009, 10:39 AM
Well, that's my problem. I never had been a very good kicker. I have been doing barbell squats for over a year and they've probably improved my turns but haven't done much for my kick, apparently.

As an ex-horrible kicker and a regular squater, I can tell you that squats won't do squat for your kick. The only thing that has improved my kick is kicking hard and fast.

Crazyman
April 3rd, 2009, 12:15 PM
David, come to practice and do hard/ fast kicking tonight. I'd recommend you to get fins. They helped me to improved my kick, i believe.

david.margrave
April 3rd, 2009, 01:20 PM
Hey! I figured out how to multi-quote!



And, of course, working lats and triceps are as important as for the other two strokes.


This is kind of what I was wondering, if there was something other than lats and triceps (and legs and core) I should concentrate on. I'm convinced that some combination shoulder and chest exercises I started doing a few months back really helped my breaststroke, but my backstroke remained the same.



As an ex-horrible kicker and a regular squater, I can tell you that squats won't do squat for your kick. The only thing that has improved my kick is kicking hard and fast.

The only thing that happens when I try to kick harder is I make more waves and go slower.


David, come to practice and do hard/ fast kicking tonight. I'd recommend you to get fins. They helped me to improved my kick, i believe.

Физкулт-привет Crazyman. I'm tapering! No hard workouts until after PNA.

qbrain
April 3rd, 2009, 02:08 PM
The only thing that happens when I try to kick harder is I make more waves and go slower.


Find, Help my kick is horrible and try what Ande advises to improve your kick. I saw a noticeable improvement in a couple weeks, and I only loosely followed his directions. I think the key is to kick small distances and build up. You are timing yourself on a 25, so you can try big kicks, small kicks, kicks at different depths, kicks at different tempos, etc, and you will find something that works better than what you are doing now.

And there is something else that I did other than kick that probably helped my kick considerably. Ankle stretches. I have done ankle stretches every day for 3 months now.

The Fortress
April 3rd, 2009, 05:20 PM
The only thing that happens when I try to kick harder is I make more waves and go slower.

Q gives good advice. Check out Ande's flutter kicking thread. It won't be fun at first, but if you're pretty diligent about it, you will improve. I think the typical masters swimmer lament -- "I hate kicking" -- really holds people back from even trying to make progress. That, and the fact that kicking is not a quickie project.

I have a teammate who is a very fast swimmer, but a terrible kicker. His foot and leg are literally almost in an L shape when he's swimming -- at least that's what we tell him. lol If this is your issue, then ankle flexibility is key. Check out what JMiller does for ankle flexibility on the "Fun & Fast" thread.

orca1946
April 5th, 2009, 02:27 PM
Unless you have physical problems. the more you kick the better you will be

bergsteiger
April 5th, 2009, 02:52 PM
(I guess I've vaguely heard that there is a 4th competitive swimming stroke, but I think that's an urban myth.)

Too funny, Chris :bliss: