View Full Version : Arm recovery

December 28th, 2016, 11:08 AM
Does anyone use the same arm motion in freestyle that is used in butterfly? I can't seem to get the arm motion for free. Some use what looks like a windmill motion, some use a very straight "V" position, some use the fingertip drag motion. Should the shoulders completely rotate? I think my arm entry has a lot to do with my struggles in the free.

December 28th, 2016, 12:08 PM

I am (or try to be) a fingertip drag kind of person. Which plane are you referring to when you write "should the shoulders completely rotate"? Got video?

December 28th, 2016, 12:59 PM
I don't have a video of my stroke. What do you mean when you say "which plane"?
When I use the fingertip drag motion, it's nearly impossible for me to get any power once I enter the water.

December 28th, 2016, 01:18 PM
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and can move all over the place. When I do a catch-up drill, at the beginning of the pull, I try to make my first motion a combination of shoulder rotation in the (para)sagittal plane (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomical_plane) and elbow flexion. That positions my forearm in the so-called "early vertical forearm" position. From there, it's as much shoulder rotation in the frontal plane accompanied by elbow extension in an attempt to keep my forearm as vertical as possible through as much of the pull phase as possible. Of course, it's impossible to maintain a vertical forearm all the way through your pull, but that's the idea, and lesser swimmers like myself would present particularly bad examples. Try searching YouTube for "early vertical forearm". Bonus points if you see some videos of people who do a spectacular job of it. ISTR Grant Hackett being particularly good, but I heard that guy,Michael Phelps was pretty good as well. Not to mention Ms. Ledecky. (Sorry, I tried to link to relevant videos, but the forum software kept screwing things up.)

As for how your arm behaves during recovery, I think that's somewhat less important, as long as a) it doesn't interfere with how effectively you set up your pull, and b) doesn't produce any undo strain on your shoulder.

December 28th, 2016, 02:37 PM
Check out some of the techniques on SwimSmooth. You may be more of a "swinger" with a butterfly recovery. http://swimsmooth.com/

December 28th, 2016, 08:49 PM
Mr. Smoothie has more of a fingertip drag style, correct?

December 28th, 2016, 08:51 PM
smontanaro, thanks for the info. I am familiar with EVF, but seem to drop my elbow no matter how hard I try to avoid it. I don't think that works for me. That's the straight back pull, right?

December 28th, 2016, 09:08 PM
Yes, I was an elbow dropper too. I spend a lot of time doing drills to try and improve matters. One of the things that causes me problems is that I tend to be a late breather, so my off-side elbow tends to drop more.

December 29th, 2016, 09:50 AM
Hmm. I'll see if that could be my problem. When do you take a breath?

December 29th, 2016, 11:06 AM
Hmm. I'll see if that could be my problem. When do you take a breath?

To my right. When I need air. :) I can generally see my right arm as I'm breathing. I think that makes me a late breather. I no longer have my right arm pushing my face back in the water, so I think I'm better than I was a few years ago.

A couple things which help me:

no breath drills - I hate (hate hate) snorkels, but do a lot of one- or two-breath easy 25s, focusing on my form. Since my breathing interrupts my stroke a bit, this helps me focus on my left arm.
more front quadrant stroke - EVF is pretty trivial for me when doing catch-up drills. Dropping back to a front quadrant stroke keeps my left arm from being "lazy." There's not as much time for it to complete its stroke so I tend to pull straight through with a bit better form. There's less of a hitch in my left arm stroke.