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taruky
November 9th, 2011, 08:23 PM
I saw a swim team swimming with these resistance devices the other day, kind of like parachutes. I figure they are probably good to help with strength, but it seems that they might also force you to improve technique to move at a reasonable pace. Anyone have experience with these things?

Ex-distance guy
November 9th, 2011, 11:16 PM
I have used small swim training resistant parachutes a few times before when I was in highschool/college. (often coupled with paddles and/or fins/zoomers). It basically feels like you have a big belt on with a rope attached anchored to a dead body or something, anything that's very heavy but floats. I suppose it is used for 'real-scenario' strength training. Be careful if you do choose to use a parachute, you could injure yourself (especially shoulders). I think a parachute is only appropriate for older(16+?) seasoned swimmers with a developed technique that could use strengthening.
Then again, this is just my personal take on it. My coaches never really had us use them, we occasionally would strap them on just for some fun. We also would use the same belt, but attach a thick-gauge resistance cord to it, anchor it to the starting block and see who could make it to the other side (25yrds) in every stroke.

swimshark
November 10th, 2011, 07:41 AM
Taruky, I've used those same parachutes. At first they were buckets with holes in them. Hated those since they would hit me in the head when turning. I love the parachutes, though. Fastest 50 free from a push was right after taking a parachute off. I like the size that you saw them use and they would probably help. What does your coach say?

fmracing
November 10th, 2011, 08:30 AM
Based on technique and stroke strength observations, IMO, this has shoulder problems written all over it for 90% of masters swimmers.

Speedo
November 10th, 2011, 09:52 AM
Based on technique and stroke strength observations, IMO, this has shoulder problems written all over it for 90% of masters swimmers.Not if you use them correctly. These are typically used for short efforts- reps of 25 or 50m. IMO, paddles are more likely to cause shoulder issues because folks will do X x 200 pulls with them until their stabilizers fail. Of course, there is the possibility of acute shoulder injury, but from what I have seen, the majority of shoulder issues in swimming are from overuse.

I've only used a parachute a few times, but it's more akin to weight training. You won't be able to do many reps, which may prevent overuse injury. I'll use both paddles and parachutes, and both can be used safely if the set is well-designed. :2cents:

Chris Stevenson
November 10th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Not if you use them correctly. These are typically used for short efforts- reps of 25 or 50m. IMO, paddles are more likely to cause shoulder issues because folks will do X x 200 pulls with them until their stabilizers fail. Of course, there is the possibility of acute shoulder injury, but from what I have seen, the majority of shoulder issues in swimming are from overuse.

I've only used a parachute a few times, but it's more akin to weight training. You won't be able to do many reps, which may prevent overuse injury. I'll use both paddles and parachutes, and both can be used safely if the set is well-designed. :2cents:

I agree with all of this. I don't have shoulder issues (knock on wood) so I'm not one to ask, but I use parachutes with paddles and snorkel for short freestyle stuff, mostly 25s. Good for working on power; I especially like it when I'm not able to get into the weight room for some reason.

I don't use paddles with any other stroke than freestyle; I like to use the chute for backstroke, dislike for fly (throws off my timing). I haven't ever tried it for breaststroke; I suspect that my knees would never ever speak to me again.

As far as stroke mechanics: I think it is good for the catch (EVF), not so good for integrating with the kick. My feet always hit the cord, which is bothersome, so I don't kick much.

I think for most models you can adjust the resistance level by changing the size of the hole. But I tied mine off at the highest level (pretty much completely closed) because otherwise the hole has a tendency to expand with time.

fmracing
November 10th, 2011, 11:13 AM
Not if you use them correctly.

This is kindof what I was eluding to though... there is a TON of people out there swimming with not only bad technique, but with strokes that make my shoulders hurt just watching them. With bad technique, adding drag carries a level of risk, imo. I didn't say there's no place for paddles or chutes, but there isn't a high percentage of people that need to work with added drag, let alone know how to use it properly to prevent problems and actually gain benefit from it. There are many other things the large percentage should be looking to improve first that don't carry risk with them. That's all I'm saying. Maybe 90% is high, but I think its pretty close.

Paul Smith
November 10th, 2011, 05:01 PM
This is kindof what I was eluding to though... there is a TON of people out there swimming with not only bad technique, but with strokes that make my shoulders hurt just watching them. With bad technique, adding drag carries a level of risk, imo. I didn't say there's no place for paddles or chutes, but there isn't a high percentage of people that need to work with added drag, let alone know how to use it properly to prevent problems and actually gain benefit from it. There are many other things the large percentage should be looking to improve first that don't carry risk with them. That's all I'm saying. Maybe 90% is high, but I think its pretty close.

We use chutes, buckets and bungees every week...and for all levels, short and longer distances. Then again for better or worse were not training like a lot of masters clubs! Some observations:

- For technique work we use a buoy at the ankles, chute with the strap hanging in front not the back and snorkels. Forcing the swimmer to slow down via the resistance along with the ability to have a better view of the stroke underwater with the snorkel has really helped make some corrections on their catch as well as helping to eliminate the over rotation we see with some folks.

- Short "blast" swims with a bucket/chute (again with strap in front not back), pull buoy and paddles is awesome...but here is where we avoid having novice swimmers or swimmers with any type of shoulder issues use them.

- One of the crazier things we came up with after a couple of swimmers got injured and were kick only for a few weeks (injuries were NOT from swimming for the record!) is "surf training". There is a buildup to the hardest level which is pulling a bucket running along the bottom of the pool with a 20lb kettlebell in each hand...one of our gals can actually make 50yds now without surfacing for air! An interesting side benefit to this is the people that have been doing it have improved their turns immensely....more from their ability to relax underwater than anything but also the confidence in having learned how to control their breathing!

Chris....fly speed work with hydro fins and Hans paddles, great stuff!!

Chris Stevenson
November 10th, 2011, 05:11 PM
Chris....fly speed work with hydro fins and Hans paddles, great stuff!!

Thanks for the suggestion, I may try that some day. I am a good kicker without fins and an awful kicker with fins. Plus they hurt my ankles, and I can't get the timing down with fly. (But I don't know what "hydro fins" are.)

My main goal in using the chute is strength training and although I don't like it for fly, I think that doing it free with paddles -- with snorkel on I use very little rotation, just brute strength forward, focusing on an early catch -- benefits fly power as well, so I don't worry about it too much.

taruky
November 10th, 2011, 08:56 PM
Taruky, I've used those same parachutes. At first they were buckets with holes in them. Hated those since they would hit me in the head when turning. I love the parachutes, though. Fastest 50 free from a push was right after taking a parachute off. I like the size that you saw them use and they would probably help. What does your coach say?

You know I haven't asked him. I've seen him use the bungee cord with a couple swimmers, so I would imagine he believes there is a place for that type of resistance training. In addition to the strength training of the chutes, I'm intrigued by the idea of being more aware of technique because it would be easier to recognize differences in speeds (I think).

swimshark
November 11th, 2011, 08:50 AM
You know I haven't asked him. I've seen him use the bungee cord with a couple swimmers, so I would imagine he believes there is a place for that type of resistance training. In addition to the strength training of the chutes, I'm intrigued by the idea of being more aware of technique because it would be easier to recognize differences in speeds (I think).

He was the one who made us use the buckets (my head still hurts from them). I'm sure he would be open to the parachute as well.

__steve__
November 11th, 2011, 12:23 PM
There is a buildup to the hardest level which is pulling a bucket running along the bottom of the pool with a 20lb kettlebell in each hand...one of our gals can actually make 50yds now without surfacing for air!

I witnessed an interesting event regarding kettle-bells. I noticed a guy training with a pair. Wasn't sure what his goal was but it seemed to be related to breath holding. He would attempt a length under the surface, but used the iron dumbbells to walk with instead of his feet! You could hear the resonant "clunk" from each step he made, then I soon noticed he was leaving a cloudy trail behind while ignorantly breaking off pieces of the pool floor. Guess he realized what he accomplished then split because I never seen him at the pool again.

Chris Stevenson
November 11th, 2011, 02:29 PM
How about this one:

http://www.usms.org/articles/articledisplay.php?a=211