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View Full Version : Improve Butterfly without actually swimming it.



Green_Ghoul
October 5th, 2010, 09:44 PM
Before I get started, I just want to say that I'm already aware of how nothing can be better than simply swimming the stroke.

Anyways, I swim at my city's community center pool and it is quite crowded in the lap lanes, on top of that, the people are not exactly polite. I need to work on my butterfly(and other strokes too, but mostly fly) for when my school's swim season starts, so it's pretty important.

Does anyone know any good drills or weight sets that I can possibly do to improve my butterfly without much time in the water? (I'm kinda starting to get sick of playing frogger every day trying to avoid people)

Thanks!

Oh, on a side note, whenever I swim for a while, I get really noticeable dark circles under my eyes, does anyone know the cause?

rlee
October 6th, 2010, 03:23 AM
Hello Alex:o) I know what you mean about practice. We have that problem here also. Well everyone is very nice but it is hard to practice the back and fly when you have a lot of people in the pool. If anything if I were you I would at least swim the fly and swim around them. That is what I do. The kick you should be able to get in with a kick board. Pushups will help you strengthen your arms. I swim a 200 fly non stop every practice. That helps also. Other than that I can't think of anything else.

Jazz Hands
October 6th, 2010, 09:14 AM
Freestyle with dolphin kick. Kick once each time a hand enters the water. It's very similar to butterfly.

If you mean being out of the water entirely, that's just not going to work. Lift weights, I guess.

fmracing
October 6th, 2010, 09:16 AM
One-arm fly is a crappy substitute but it's better than nothing. At least you can still get the body motion in with the single arm pull. Not a great supplement but it's better than nothing at all.

Thrashing Slug
October 6th, 2010, 11:36 AM
Breaststroke with dolphin kick doesn't take up much lane space.

Pull-ups and dips in the gym, especially pull-ups in the wide grip V position.

Rotator cuff exercises.

gdanner
October 6th, 2010, 01:01 PM
Refer to the last two posts in this thread for out of water stuff:

Swimming + Gym: Is it possible? - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums


While you're in the water obviously it can be tough doing a lot of fly with people around. For the times when you can swim but want to limit your chances of hitting arms with people, all you need to do is make sure you're swimming fly when you are tired. What I mean by that is doing sets like:

10 x 100: 75 free / 25 fly on a fast pace. Add 5 seconds to your normal free pace. So if you can hold 1:15 for 10 x 100's free, do them on 1:20. If you can maintain good stroke technique when you are tired, you can avoid doing heavy pure fly yardage.

Chris Stevenson
October 6th, 2010, 01:21 PM
Are you targeting a specific butterfly race (50/100/200)?

orca1946
October 6th, 2010, 02:16 PM
Att he gym - Lat pul downs both seated & standing with your arms straight. Butter fly machine - the one you put your arms under & pick up. Any cable mach that will allow you to pull thru with 1 or 2 hands bent over to act like fly.

Green_Ghoul
October 6th, 2010, 02:49 PM
One-arm fly is a crappy substitute but it's better than nothing. At least you can still get the body motion in with the single arm pull. Not a great supplement but it's better than nothing at all.

Yeah, I try to do one-armed fly sometimes, but for me, under water kicking helps me get through the body motions (except arms, of course)

Are you targeting a specific butterfly race (50/100/200)?

During swim season, I usually just do 50 fly in the Medley, and the first 50 of the IM. But this year I will probably be doing the 100 fly also.

Usually towards the end of my workouts, usually around 8:00pm, the lanes clear up. I'll see if I can try and throw in a couple hundred yards butterfly. And i have a lot of room to work on turns because the pool is only 20yds.

Anyways, I did some searching and found out why I get black circles under my eyes, and it's because of my goggles. I'm probably going to buy a new pair soon. My buddy recommended "Swedish" goggles, are those any good?

Jazz Hands
October 6th, 2010, 05:56 PM
My buddy recommended "Swedish" goggles, are those any good?

No. That just means your buddy is a goggle snob.

Green_Ghoul
October 6th, 2010, 09:25 PM
Ok, I don't see how he's snobbish for that, it's not like they're 30 dollar goggles. But I digress.

The Fortress
October 6th, 2010, 09:49 PM
No. That just means your buddy is a goggle snob.

Kind of agree with Jazz on the snobby quasi purist attitude about swedes.

I rarely do full stroke fly in practice. I only swim fly with fins as well (either easy speed or AFAP) due to shoulder paranoia. I do a huge amount of dolphin kicking and shooters, with and without fins. This seems sufficient to do the 50 fly and the 90 fly. (I just endure the last 10 yards of the 100.) Fly is a very leg driven stroke.

I also do a fair amount of leg work in the gym.

Celestial
October 6th, 2010, 10:21 PM
Breaststroke with dolphin kick doesn't take up much lane space.

Pull-ups and dips in the gym, especially pull-ups in the wide grip V position.

Rotator cuff exercises.
Being rather stupid, can you please "draw" me a better picture of wide grip V position? I assume you mean that your hands are farther apart, making the base of the V your head, right? How does this help? My fave has always been work on the triceps - like doing "curls" but behind your head with a forty pound weight.

funkyfish
October 6th, 2010, 10:41 PM
This seems sufficient to do the 50 fly and the 90 fly. (I just endure the last 10 yards of the 100.)

That's awesome funny! Now that I think of it, I guess I actually swim a 75 fly and endure the last 25yds of it.

Over the past 3 weeks I've had to swim with the local age group team because my regular pool is being renovated/repaired. I was spoiled in that I could find times to swim when I'd either have the lane to myself, or could just split the lane with one other swimmer.

Since it had been over 20 years since I swam with a group, I wasn't sure how I'd handle fly (I was sure I'd be smacking these poor kids). The coach told us to time the strokes so we wouldn't have to break stroke. I knew what he meant but didn't think I could do it. However, I've been able to time it and not run into anyone. I have to scrunch up my shoulders a little more than normal, but so far it's been working. There are times when I've had to stroke, do some extra underwater dolphins, and then start back up again, but I've still been able to keep the rhythm going.

Long story short, it's possible to swim fly with others. It may not be an ideal stroke, but it can be done. I've actually swam more fly with this team than I would have done on my own anyway. Good luck.
:bliss:

gdanner
October 7th, 2010, 09:21 AM
My buddy recommended "Swedish" goggles, are those any good?


Kind of agree with Jazz on the snobby quasi purist attitude about swedes.


I don't know about snobby, haha.

I've been wearing swedes for over 15 years. I always recommend them to people with the warning that they take getting used to. When you're used to rubber/foam padding, they will feel harsh around the eyes at first. Maybe for a couple weeks. Most importantly, they eliminated water leakage for me. They're also cheap and easily replaceable. If you forgot to bring your goggles to a meet or they break, swedes are always available. They're also super quick and easy to adjust. No other goggle is so versatile.

I am thinking of switching meet goggles, but I'll probably always wear swedes for practice.

SwimStud
October 7th, 2010, 09:37 AM
My fly improves the less I swim it. In fact, it is best when I don't swim it at all...
;)

Good luck keep practicing...lots of Fly kick on front side and back...the kick needs to be there to carry you through the longer races. Now, if I would just heed my own advice...

Jazz Hands
October 7th, 2010, 11:21 AM
Ok, I don't see how he's snobbish for that, it's not like they're 30 dollar goggles. But I digress.

There are people who think Swedes are the only proper goggles. The biggest problem with them is for most people they don't fit and they hurt. There's no padding at all. Just your eye socket and some plastic. It's a bad way to fix rings-around-the-eyes.

Speedo
October 7th, 2010, 11:39 AM
No. That just means your buddy is a goggle snob.


Kind of agree with Jazz on the snobby quasi purist attitude about swedes.

Oh, please. What, did your subscription to People magazine run out?

__steve__
October 7th, 2010, 12:35 PM
Unfortunately a snorkel is required but doing dolphin kick with hands at the sides works for me. I feel it was responsible for accomplishing a fairly decent 25m fly time the first time I tried the stroke, like 16 something seconds. Still haven't actually started, or properly mastered this stroke yet but I do have reservations.

Green_Ghoul
October 7th, 2010, 05:35 PM
Steve, I do something similar, but it's usually under water so I can work on my lung capacity at the same time.

ElaineK
October 7th, 2010, 05:51 PM
My fly improves the less I swim it. In fact, it is best when I don't swim it at all...
;)

Good luck keep practicing...lots of Fly kick on front side and back...the kick needs to be there to carry you through the longer races. Now, if I would just heed my own advice...

Hey, Stud, welcome back! I haven't seen you on the forums for awhile; nice of you to drop in. :D

debaru
October 7th, 2010, 10:02 PM
Unfortunately a snorkel is required but doing dolphin kick with hands at the sides works for me. I feel it was responsible for accomplishing a fairly decent 25m fly time the first time...

Someone over on the Butterfly Lane suggested doing lots of dolphin kicking with arms held to your side.

I'm a "fly" newbie, only having learned back in June of this year, but I've continued working on my kick during every workout and slowly but surely, I'm starting to see results. And, I think using a snorkel (or "dorkel" as some like to call it) makes all the difference. I can really focus on my kick without having to come up for air.

Green_Ghoul
October 8th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Yeah, I try to kick as much as I can for any stroke, since I don't have much arm room.

I guess all I can do for now is just strengthen my arms with weights and try to swim a length or two of butterfly whenever I get the chance.

ndecker
October 10th, 2010, 12:24 PM
I guess all I can do for now is just strengthen my arms with weights and try to swim a length or two of butterfly whenever I get the chance.

A lot depends on several factors - what distance you're planning to race, if your stroke is dominant in the upper body, lower body, or just based on rhythm. Additionally, and probably more important, what are you weak points currently? For example, if you're targeting the 100 Fly and when you swim it in a meet (not practice - that doesn't count) then when do you die and which body parts give out first? Basically what is the limiting factor?

As a case in point, my stroke is upper-body dominant and I swim sprint distances. In college it was very different - I had to work a lot more on legs since I had to swim 200's all of the time, but now I'm focusing on the 50 with a secondary focus on the 100. Therefore, in the weight room I concentrate on lower chest and triceps to give me enough strength to surge out of the water. This is because I touch my hands together in the sculling motion underneath the chest, and push forcefully in the latter half of the underwater stroke with my triceps. It's extraordinarily effective, but takes a great deal of strength to do it right - especially for a 100. With that in mind, my primary strength exercises are close-grip dips and the decline hammer strength press. I'll add some exercises for my rear delts, but with lighter weight and higher reps. This is because I'm not trying to add strength there - the goal for those muscles is endurance as that's what gives out in the last 25 of the 100 Fly.

It may not work for everyone, but it's been proven to work well for me. Earlier this year I had to be out of the water for 3 months due to a broken toe. I lifted during the 3 months in this manner, and was only able to get 2 weeks of swimming in before a big meet. Despite being out of the water for 3 months, I still swam incredibly fast.

Chris Stevenson
October 11th, 2010, 09:45 AM
A lot depends on several factors - what distance you're planning to race, if your stroke is dominant in the upper body, lower body, or just based on rhythm. Additionally, and probably more important, what are you weak points currently? For example, if you're targeting the 100 Fly and when you swim it in a meet (not practice - that doesn't count) then when do you die and which body parts give out first? Basically what is the limiting factor?

As a case in point, my stroke is upper-body dominant and I swim sprint distances. In college it was very different - I had to work a lot more on legs since I had to swim 200's all of the time, but now I'm focusing on the 50 with a secondary focus on the 100. Therefore, in the weight room I concentrate on lower chest and triceps to give me enough strength to surge out of the water. This is because I touch my hands together in the sculling motion underneath the chest, and push forcefully in the latter half of the underwater stroke with my triceps. It's extraordinarily effective, but takes a great deal of strength to do it right - especially for a 100. With that in mind, my primary strength exercises are close-grip dips and the decline hammer strength press. I'll add some exercises for my rear delts, but with lighter weight and higher reps. This is because I'm not trying to add strength there - the goal for those muscles is endurance as that's what gives out in the last 25 of the 100 Fly.

This is a good post and mostly mirrors my own thoughts and training.

Except even for "upper body dominant butterflyers" I think legs/core are very important in this stroke. Even if most of the propulsion comes from the upper body, having a strong kick gets you better leverage for your pull. And if you develop a good underwater kick, that can both make you faster (better off the walls) and -- if you stay underwater longer -- it means you take fewer strokes and possibly last longer into the race.

All that said, unless you have shoulder issues I don't see much point in doing dolphin kick with hands by your sides. When you go without a board, practice it with a streamline while on your front (doing it on your back is a different kick, unless fully submerged). A surprising number of good butterflyers have trouble doing dolphin kick and maintaining a good streamline.

A kickboard is okay too, IMO (though there are many detractors) as long as it isn't overused. Fins don't appear to be an option for you due to crowding, but possibly vertical kicking is.

One-arm fly is not as good as full fly but it is still better than always doing freestyle.

Good luck.

Green_Ghoul
October 13th, 2010, 08:58 PM
ndecker, I usually swim 50 fly in the medley, and during the IM. However, I may be swimming the 100 fly on top of the two, and I haven't swam that in two years at least.

Chris, I will kick underwater with my arms at my sides to get the motions, other than that I streamline kick under water or use a board. And I try to keep one armed fly to a minimum now since the pool gets more and more crowded every time i show up.

But today I got a pretty good workout, I did 10x80 IMs and my fly felt fine for not going fast at all, my breaststroke seems to make my arms feel like "rubber"...I can't get back into that pocket that I was for breaststroke anymore, I guess that'll be my secondary focus after butterfly.