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bowyer954
May 30th, 2012, 04:22 PM
I am a good butterflyer but believe that my kick is holding me back. I finished in the top 5 for both my fly events in the Spring Nationals but felt that I could have done better (or it may just be a lack of talent--but I can't fix that). Today I started to work with the Finis Shooter Monofin with the intention of improving my kick and taking some pressure off of my shoulders. What a disaster that was! I was barely able to keep the monofin below the surface and after 25 yds. I was exhaustapated! After working with it for about 30 min I came to understand that the only way I could propel myself forward was by ceasing any knee movement and kicking only through my gut and letting my lower legs move at the end of the oscilation. So my question is have I always kicked incrorrectly or do I just not know how to use the monofin? Not sure what I am hoping the answer is!

Karl_S
May 30th, 2012, 05:38 PM
I'm very interested to see what our forumite experts have to say about this.

For now I just want to add a comment. It appears to me that different swimmers have been successful with rather different kicks. I believe that Mary T. used a kick with not much bending of the knees. There isn't good underwater footage, but you can see it a little here:
Mary T. Meagher - YouTube

and perhaps a little better here, especially near the finish:
1984 Olympic Women's 200m Butterfly final - Mary T. Meagher - YouTube

Phelps, on the other hand, has a very pronounced flex in his knees. You can see it here:
Michael Phelps - Butterfly 01 - YouTube

(I think this has been referred to as "shin kicking")
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no200fly
May 30th, 2012, 05:58 PM
The fin extends past the ends of your feet and would extend out of the water when your feet would not.
I think fins are a good way to strengthen your legs and core but I don't think they are good for perfecting your kick.
In light of Karl's comment, I should say that I consider myself to be a forumite - but not an expert

The Fortress
May 30th, 2012, 06:28 PM
I love fins for working on dolphin kick!!! And dolphin kick is my best stroke. :D

You cannot learn to use the monofin in one session unless you have a strong core and are a solid kicker. It takes awhile to get used to it and harness the power. Most people go flying into other lanes at first. And it can be exhausting; it's like a weight workout in the water and thus excellent for swim specific strength building.

I use the Shooter to work both DPK (distance per kick) and AFAP kicking. For DPK work, which is much slower -- usually consisting of easy speed shooters (25s underwater) on side/back/belly -- I definitely bend my knees. For AFAP work not as much but still some. I use a very high cycle kick (with and without fins) for AFAP efforts and most of power comes from the glutes/hips/quads. I think you're still using the lower leg though, but possibly it doesn't feel as if you are with the fin. Without the fin, you can feel a bit more snap with the knee & lower leg & ankles. The same goes for me when swimming butterfly. I will have more knee bend in a 100 than a 50, but some with both.

It's not an underwater view, but here's a vid of me doing a 50 AFAP with the monofin (sub :20). Not much bent knee action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvNrLfsqb2M&feature=youtu.be

I also use the fin with a kickboard.

SwimStud
May 30th, 2012, 06:35 PM
I came to understand that the only way I could propel myself forward was by ceasing any knee movement and kicking only through my gut and letting my lower legs move at the end of the oscilation.

Exactly! IMO.

To me that's how it should be done, not much of a kick from the knee. I'm not there yet...but it's better!

knelson
May 30th, 2012, 06:40 PM
Phelps, on the other hand, has a very pronounced flex in his knees.

Misty Hyman seems to, also:
zmiyhPop6GI

no200fly
May 30th, 2012, 07:25 PM
Misty Hyman seems to, also:


I think pretty much anyone you see from underwater will be seen to have more knee bend than they appear to have from the surface.

no200fly
May 30th, 2012, 07:28 PM
It's not an underwater view, but here's a vid of me doing a 50 AFAP with the monofin (sub :20). Not much bent knee action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvNrLfsqb2M&feature=youtu.be

I also use the fin with a kickboard.

Wow, that's fast!

bowyer954
May 30th, 2012, 08:31 PM
I think my biggest surprise was that when I train w/o the monofin I kick like hell from the knees down (normal fly)--with the fin I really have to crunch my core to get any snap on the fin. I have always attempted to swim on top of the water when flying--if I change my kick this results in much more body deflection when I use the fin--maybe this is good?? Looking for help/opinions! This fin has me goofy!

The Fortress
May 30th, 2012, 09:13 PM
I think my biggest surprise was that when I train w/o the monofin I kick like hell from the knees down (normal fly)--with the fin I really have to crunch my core to get any snap on the fin. I have always attempted to swim on top of the water when flying--if I change my kick this results in much more body deflection when I use the fin--maybe this is good?? Looking for help/opinions! This fin has me goofy!

So you're swimming full stroke fly with the monofin? I never do that b/c I feel too "jacked up" from the fin. You don't want to be coming out of the water too high. I just use it for kicking, for which the Shooter is principally intended. If you can learn to kick fast with the fin, it will improve your leg strength and dolphin kick. That in turn will improve your fly and SDKs off the walls.

bowyer954
May 30th, 2012, 11:23 PM
That makes more sense than what I am attempting to do. With the stroke I am forced out of the water vs horizontal to it plus I have no since of timing.

I guess the bottom line is that the kick needs to be more core vs lower legs. I worry though that I may porpoise a little too much ( crunching the head and chest down to get the leg release) and not swim on top of the water.

Chris Stevenson
May 31st, 2012, 09:40 AM
I think pretty much anyone you see from underwater will be seen to have more knee bend than they appear to have from the surface.

It can also be hard to tell from feel alone how much you are bending your knee. I didn't think I bent my knees all that much until I saw some underwater photos.

orca1946
May 31st, 2012, 10:01 AM
Yes, some knee bend is in play, but never up to 90 degrees .
Core & hips & back is where all these muscles are attached.

knelson
May 31st, 2012, 12:10 PM
Yes, some knee bend is in play, but never up to 90 degrees .

I don't know, Oz. Check out around :30-:35 into the the Phelps video. His knees might not get quite to 90 degrees, but they aren't far off. I'm certainly not convinced that less knee bend if better.

no200fly
May 31st, 2012, 11:22 PM
It can also be hard to tell from feel alone how much you are bending your knee. I didn't think I bent my knees all that much until I saw some underwater photos.

I had the same experience when we had someone come to video us in workout. I thought I was flat in the water with little bend in the knees. The video showed otherwise.

ande
June 1st, 2012, 01:41 PM
I am a good butterflyer but believe that my kick is holding me back. I finished in the top 5 for both my fly events in the Spring Nationals but felt that I could have done better (or it may just be a lack of talent--but I can't fix that). Today I started to work with the Finis Shooter Monofin with the intention of improving my kick and taking some pressure off of my shoulders. What a disaster that was! I was barely able to keep the monofin below the surface and after 25 yds. I was exhaustapated! After working with it for about 30 min I came to understand that the only way I could propel myself forward was by ceasing any knee movement and kicking only through my gut and letting my lower legs move at the end of the oscilation. So my question is have I always kicked incrorrectly or do I just not know how to use the monofin? Not sure what I am hoping the answer is!

Not sure, watch underwater videos of the best SDKers and copy them

Have a friend make an underwater video of you SDKing
Put it on youtube and provide us with a link

Get one on one SDK lessons

Time your SDKs sprints
have a friend time you for 15m 25 & 50 y or M SDK sprints
What are your times?

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