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mattson
March 24th, 2004, 02:37 PM
In the overgrown jungle known as "the Fastest Age", this idea came up:


Originally posted by gull80
I thought that anchoring was more a figure of speech, although I did read in TI that your arms/shoulders are much less important than your core muscles (which I still find hard to believe).

I brought up the baseball pitcher analogy that is popular. Craig mentioned he knew of that example, but the pitcher gets to push off the ground. I gave a counter example of throwing in water polo (in an all-deep pool ;) ). At that point, we both got sucked back into... ah... another discussion.

I wanted to start this thread, to see if it would yield any interesting insights. I was talking to a Masters swimmer who went to a training camp at the Olympic Training Center, and she mentioned that the main emphasis was to engage the core muscles during your swim.

I'm certain that I am not using ideal power transfer. I hope that I am not misrepresenting Craig, in saying he is not sure about how this is done.

dorothyrd
March 24th, 2004, 02:42 PM
My daughter is getting some extra private coaching right now, and they are working a lot on what I would consider core. Body balance, the stroke starts from the hip, and other things I don't quite get, but seem to be about the core. I watch what they do with her and take it into the pool with me, but with no one to watch, I may or may not be getting it. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes not.

I would be interested in a discussion of this sort that does not roam off topic!

lefty
March 24th, 2004, 02:53 PM
Mark, I too find that hard to believe, however I don't think that there is a sinlge sport (archery maybe) wher your core muscles, abs, glutes, lower back, and hammies aren't the key to success. Billy Wagner, Gary Hall Jr. and Barry Sanders have one thing in common - they all squat over 500 lbs (Barry more like 650).

Oh and this reminds me of something. Dolan was swimming a set of 1000s next to me. I was watching him from behind. If your head got stuck between his legs while he rotating his hips I am 100% certain it would kill you. Far more powerful than my Kenmore washer.

DocWhoRocks
March 24th, 2004, 03:06 PM
For me, using my core muscles really depends on the event. In distance events I don't use my legs much. Thus I let them drag much more than I would on a 50 fr. In the 50 I'm using my legs a lot, which also means I'm keeping them higher in the water. So that means I'm using my hips and abs to help stay high in the water. Same goes with my upper body for distance(lower in the water = using less abs/legs to stay high).

But for all of the strokes I'd say I'm using my core muscles much more. Maybe not as much in back stroke, but definately in breast & fly (should be obvious for those 2).

mattson
March 24th, 2004, 03:14 PM
These are great posts, thanks. :cool: (I especially like the head-snapping Kenmore visual.)

It's not just a power transfer from the legs. The next time you are in a pool with a water polo ball (all the time, I know...), try this. Float on your side, only kicking and hand sculling to keep your balance. Hold the polo ball up with your throwing arm, and hurl it just using your shoulder muscles. Then try it a second time, rolling your body around the long axis with the arm whip at the end.

That is the kinetic transfer that I would like to improve. I definitely roll slowly, but if I try to speed that up, the power does not get transferred efficiently.

Conniekat8
March 24th, 2004, 03:22 PM
I'm convinced that core muscles are one of the very important components.

Leonard Jansen
March 24th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by mattson

That is the kinetic transfer that I would like to improve. I definitely roll slowly, but if I try to speed that up, the power does not get transferred efficiently.

Try this: Stay in position until your anchoring hand (a.k.a. the hand in front) has reached somewhere between 45 and 60 degrees below horizontal. At that point make a quick "snap" of the hips transferring from one side to the other. This is actually a smaller movement than it sounds. If your other hand is in the water by the time the anchoring hand has reached 90 degrees below horizontal, you can reach with the hand entering the water and glide using the rest of your push and any kick that you have. (I have none worth anything.) Repeat to the opposite side.

Full disclosure: This is based on the TI school of thought. I use the TI method but am not a slave to it, having modified it's teachings to better suit me.

-LBJ

Bob McAdams
March 24th, 2004, 04:13 PM
Originally posted by mattson
I brought up the baseball pitcher analogy that is popular. Craig mentioned he knew of that example, but the pitcher gets to push off the ground. I gave a counter example of throwing in water polo (in an all-deep pool ;) ).

There's also another important analogy to baseball:

I doubt that any kid who is learning to pitch needs to be told to use his arm. But there are plenty of kids who need to be told to use their core body.

The same is true in swimming. Regardless of whether the arms are more or less important than the core body, it is the core body which swimmers more often neglect, and therefore that is the part of their stroke that more commonly needs to be corrected.


Bob

dorothyrd
March 24th, 2004, 04:36 PM
I am laughing at the Kenmore thing, very visual!!

I coach little girls in softball and one of the hardest things to get them to do is to throw properly using their body, not just their arms. I had a great softball coach at 10 who taught me properly and still can throw the ball from center field home without battin an eye, so core is important.

One friend who was helping me to learn to get that hip "twitch" told me to just stand in the water and practice twitching my hip forward and back as fast as I could. Looks very, very strange, people move away from you! Then he said float on your stomach kicking gently and practice that same twitch, doing the same side all the way across the pool. I have to say I am definately a right twitcher, not a left twitcher!! :)

The progression is to start adding the arms in, but always lead with that core hip twitch.

I have not mastered this, I drill it from time to time and I am sure people think I am having seizures. :)

knelson
March 24th, 2004, 05:48 PM
Originally posted by dorothyrd
I coach little girls in softball and one of the hardest things to get them to do is to throw properly using their body, not just their arms.

In other words, you are coaching them to not "throw like a girl." :D

Scansy
March 24th, 2004, 05:56 PM
Originally posted by Leonard Jansen


At that point make a quick "snap" of the hips transferring from one side to the other.

-LBJ

I have seen swimming described as a series of glides on your side separated by quick rotations of the body from one side to the other. (I am paraphrasing - and I have a couple of swimming books so I am not sure but I think it was Fitness Swimming by Emmit Hines.)

I tried to really focus on this in a workout once. I figured I would do it for the whole workout - hah! I fatigued quickly :( - I guess because I was using my core muscles - larger than the muscles in my arms. BUT - I was faster for the first couple hundred before I fatigued.

Since then, I have tried to work it in more gradually. I have improved, but still have a long way to go. One thing that helped is that I do 1500-2000 yards over the course of a week of butterfly kicking without a board. This works the core muscles a lot - especially abs and lower back. So far, I have done this mostly on my stomach, but I want to integrate more on my side and back - the different positions work different muscles. Much like different styles of crunches work different abs.

But how does VO2Max play into this.... just kidding.:p

gull
March 24th, 2004, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by lefty
Oh and this reminds me of something. Dolan was swimming a set of 1000s next to me.

Great--a different thread!

Lefty, I'm pretty impressed that you and Dolan swim sets of 1000's together (and you said you were a sprinter!). I prefer to think of a 1000 as a set in and of itself.

Seriously, I can see the value of hip rotation, but you still have to pull the water, don't you?

2go+h20
March 24th, 2004, 05:58 PM
Excellent topic and discussion.
I can definitely atest to the value of a very well conditioned core.
As a 49year old (late bloomer, didn't learn to swim until age 33) now a competitive master and distance/ marathon open water swimmer , as well I do some 'splash and dash' indoor events too ;), my conditioning of my core has made an incredible difference.
In the pool, body balance has vastly improved, kicking is a huge improvement, efficiency of my pull is oceans better, and backstroke and fly have blasted my personal bests sky high.
By being able to transfer my power and stabilize my core, my ability to stay balanced in rough open water has also drastically improved. Hence my times for these swims (5kms, 10km, 26kms and 34kms) have also seen great improvements.
I include dryland in most workouts post pool, and these include shoulder exercises, core body work and stretching. And I cajoule others to join as this area is part of my regular job.
At first these exercises seem difficult, but very soon you will notice the difference. And there are endless variations of each exercise, guaranteed to take the boredom away. (And you thought a pull buoy was just for the water) :)
As a child I was a tennis player, and I learnt how to hit powerful shots by a 'whip' action from my body to connect with the ball and hit and place the shot. Maybe that training has helped me to transfer the core power to swimming.
Kiwi

dorothyrd
March 24th, 2004, 09:21 PM
Kirk, as an adult playing co-rec recreational softball one of the most frequent comments I used to get from the guys was "You don't throw like a girl!" I take that as a compliment! :)

DocWhoRocks
March 25th, 2004, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by Scansy

But how does VO2Max play into this.... just kidding.:p

Shut yer pie hole before Ion comes in here! :p

Conniekat8
March 25th, 2004, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by Scansy



I tried to really focus on this in a workout once. I figured I would do it for the whole workout - hah! I fatigued quickly :( - I guess because I was using my core muscles - larger than the muscles in my arms. BUT - I was faster for the first couple hundred before I fatigued.

Since then, I have tried to work it in more gradually. I have improved, but still have a long way to go. One thing that helped is that I do 1500-2000 yards over the course of a week of butterfly kicking without a board. This works the core muscles a lot - especially abs and lower back. So far, I have done this mostly on my stomach, but I want to integrate more on my side and back - the different positions work different muscles. Much like different styles of crunches work different abs.


This is so true for me as well, I just sort of got to that level couple of months ago. Right down to the butterfly workouts.

Dennis Tesch
March 25th, 2004, 12:46 PM
Is the core stronger or are the shoulder/arms stonger? Hmmmm

I don't think it is about which is stronger, but how they are used together. You can make your shoulders and arms as strong as you want, but without a strong core they will never be as strong as they can be together.

The stronger or the more stable your core is, the stronger your arms and shoulders will be. The core is where the power starts. If your core is weak or under used and it only follows what your shoulders and arms are doing... then all you are doing is using your shoulders and arms.

I can't say which one is stronger, but if you don't use them well together then your losing power.

Matt S
March 25th, 2004, 05:51 PM
Working on your sense of timing and tempo can really help if you are trying to engage your core muscles with your pull.

My method is to have a significant body roll at the same time as I pull, and I am using my arms like a propeller blade hooked up to my core body engine. There are two key components:
1) Front Quadrant Swimming (at least one arm in front of my shoulders at all times): I am rotated on my side, leading shoulder closer to the bottom of the pool, recovering arm's shoulder on top. I delay initiating my pull until my recovering hand passes my ear. Then, I initiate my pull, and roll to the opposite side simultaneously.
2) Tempo: Have you ever watched a long track speed skater? Notice their timing: push & glide, push & glide,... Swim a few laps that feel like that: pull & glide, pull & glide,...

When you really have it down, it will show up in your pulling sets. If they felt like they were all arms before, now they will feel like you are still using 90% of your body. Just focus on where your recovering hand is when you start your pull, and rotating your hips. Suddenly, you will start passing people who are wearing paddles, and you are not.

Matt