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KaizenSwimmer
September 4th, 2006, 10:16 PM
This may be a provocative proposal, but I wonder how many of you have been willing to "risk" not doing any kicking sets. By that I mean a set devoted totally to conditioning or strengthening your legs.

And how many might be sufficiently bold to swear off any kicking sets for, say, three months, just to see what happens?

For some backstory on why I'm posting this challenge, here's the opening graf of Chapter 10 in a book I've just finished writing and which I'll publish shortly:

>>It may not surprise you that I’m not a fan of kickboard training. Though the fastest swimmers in any group also tend to be fastest when using a kickboard – and I’ve heard reports of world-class swimmers going remarkably fast with one – I’m still skeptical that this proves kickboard sets are an effective use of precious training time. I believe the same talents that allow some athletes to swim faster also allow them to go faster on a kickboard. However, I also believe they might swim just as fast, or faster, without kickboard training. The only way to prove such a thesis is by training without kicking sets to test whether anything is lost from performance and it takes a rather bold swimmer or coach to discard a training method that is almost universally accepted.>>

So who's willing to try this?

art_z
September 4th, 2006, 10:58 PM
I never understood why you would want to kick with a board to begin with, its not a natural position to be in when trying to replicate what your body is doing while you are swimming; any kicking sets I do are usually "boardless", i.e., kicking on your back , arms hyperextended, since I tend to cocentrate on backstroke.

KaizenSwimmer
September 4th, 2006, 11:08 PM
In my mind, that would be preferable to kicking with a board, for the reason you cited, but are you still doing that set to "condition" your legs?

I do certain sets in which my attention is more on the action of my legs, but I don't do any in which I isolate the legs. My leg training is 100% focused on better integration of leg action with overall body action. It includes some drill sets and some whole-stroke focal point sets.

I did the same while coaching the sprinters at West Point from 96-99 and no one ever complained of having their legs "die" in a race and we never saw any evidence of anyone's kick being unable to support fast swimming. And every member of the group swam lifetime bests.

We've continued that with an age group team in New Paltz for the past two years with the same observations/experiences.

NotVeryFast
September 5th, 2006, 09:18 AM
It's an interesting suggestion. My personal view is that one major advantage of doing kick or pull is that it shifts the balance between oxygen supply and utilisation. You should be able to work the individual muscle groups harder when doing kick or pull than when doing full stroke, because you have same supply of oxygen, but less muscle mass consuming it.

Alternatively, the muscles could be worked equally as hard as they would be when doing full stroke, but at a lower heart rate.

However, this then begs the question of whether there is any need to work the muscles harder. Muscular tiredness is one of the main limiting factors in my swimming, and my legs generally feel tired when walking up the stairs at the office anyway, so working the muscles harder seems pointless.

What I do find useful is doing kick or pull as a means of training without inducing quite as much "whole body fatigue" as full stroke training, due to the lower heart rate.

KaizenSwimmer
September 5th, 2006, 10:14 AM
>>Muscular tiredness is one of the main limiting factors in my swimming, and my legs generally feel tired when walking up the stairs at the office anyway, so working the muscles harder seems pointless.

What I do find useful is doing kick or pull as a means of training without inducing quite as much "whole body fatigue" as full stroke training, due to the lower heart rate.>>

Excellent points. At the age of 55 I find it more critical than ever to attend to "restoration" in my training and to avoid over-fatigue. I do this by including a significant volume of what I call "examined training" or stroke tuning in my overall. But I do this with the integrated whole-body activity of the sort I describe because better muscle integration is also a way of training and racing more economically.

I think one of the reasons that Michael Phelps has been found to produce such remarkably low levels of lactate in record-setting races is that his stroke is so completely integrated. When you work more muscles (and larger muscles) in a thoroughly harmonious fashion, you experience far less localized (i.e. arms and legs) muscle fatigue -- and because each muscle group can reduce output when they work in close synch -- I would expect you'd also reduce lactic acid production.

Kicking sets and pulling sets do little or nothing to promote neuromuscular integration, which is my primary reason for not doing them.

geochuck
September 5th, 2006, 11:51 AM
Terry good to see you back.

I have never devoted much time to kicking except to over kick while crawling and practice my kick while swimming front crawl.

The only things I do as kicking help are

Swimming a few lengths with a waterpolo ball doing heads up front crawl.

Doing a 5 x 25 set with a 15 sec rest of kicking with my hands behind my back holding the head out of water.

Rob Copeland
September 5th, 2006, 02:05 PM
Terry, giving up kicking with kickboards will severely cut into the social aspect of a Masters workout… A 500 kick is an opportunity to get in 8-10 minutes of quality chat. Otherwise we’d be forced to take longer breaks between sets.

Also I use a kick set on the days the pool is over 90 degrees. Getting the head and arms out of the water really helps to cool one off.

Peter Cruise
September 5th, 2006, 02:11 PM
George- whilst doing the 25's with your hands behind your back & head out of the water, has anyone ever thrown you a fish?

KaizenSwimmer
September 5th, 2006, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by Rob Copeland
Terry, giving up kicking with kickboards will severely cut into the social aspect of a Masters workout…

Peter Cruise mentioned in another thread that if you skipped the kicking you'd finish workout earlier and get to the serious socializing.

I asked one of my teammates why he persisted in doing kickboard sets when they were of questionable value and he pointed at another teammate and said "So I can talk to Katie."

I have to admit my approach to training would be characterized by some as "unsocial." I don't participate much in the banter, etc that goes on during practice. In fact, I find it distracting because my reason for being there is the same every day: to swim better than I ever have in my life. When you set the bar at that level, it tends to concentrate your attention pretty keenly. It's possible that another reason I may swim better in the summer is the elimination of those "distractions."

My regular swim buddy, Dave Barra (also a member of this forum) and I get far more of value accomplished in an hour when it's just the two of us than in 90 minutes with the team (included in which is always at least 15 minutes of kickboard stuff, during which I practice drills.) And because I work about 3000 hours a year, that matters.

I do socialize some, in the shower, in the locker room, and outside the pool, and I enjoy that time. But in the water, my focus is pretty unblinking.

KaizenSwimmer
September 5th, 2006, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
Terry good to see you back.

I have never devoted much time to kicking except to over kick while crawling and practice my kick while swimming front crawl.


Well,that's an example of kicking as an integrating exercise, rather than an isolating exercise.
Unless you consider kicking from the social perspective, in which case it's the opposite.:)

cantwait4bike
September 5th, 2006, 11:20 PM
kicking on the side with rotation and curvelinear arm action is the only thing worthwhile. the only good thing about kickboards is they can be skipped across the pool like a stone. if you still need to put more stress into your legs go for a bike with this group.

lefty
September 6th, 2006, 11:05 AM
Please illuminate me:

You have an untested believe that using a kick board is not good for you and that is good enough for you to feel that you should publish a book advising people not to use a kickboard?

That said, I do partially agree with you on this. I particularily like this statement: "My leg training is 100% focused on better integration of leg action with overall body action. It includes some drill sets and some whole-stroke focal point sets." Where I disagree with you is on 100% part. I, too, prefer to mostly do leg-integration work. But once or twice per week a set of 4x100's kick decend, or 16 x 25's all out kick is a good thing to do. I would compare those sets to lifting weights. The sole objective is to strengthen your legs.

Anytime someone writes "100%" I am sceptical. Of course you are trying to sell a book so....

scyfreestyler
September 6th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by lefty
"My leg training is 100% focused



Anytime someone writes "100%" I am sceptical. Of course you are trying to sell a book so....

He is using 100% to describe his training plan/regimen, not the improvement you will see by adopting his methods. I agree that claims of 100% are generally a red flag but in this case I have no reason to doubt that Terry is being honest about his training methods. He does train with others on a team so if he is lying, which I seriously doubt, it should not be difficult to prove so.

Anyhow, I do very little kicking in my workouts. What kicking I do is sans kickboard, on my back, one arm reached out above my head. The primary purpose of this came from my shoulder injury last year. A kickboard irritated my shoulders so I found a way to kick without it and have stuck with this plan ever since because it is far more comfortable to me. When I do breast kick I also stay on my back, not allowing my knees to break the surface of the water by more than an inch. This has helped my breast stroke immensely...although maybe not 100%. :)

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 11:57 AM
Originally posted by lefty
Please illuminate me:

You have an untested believe that using a kick board is not good for you and that is good enough for you to feel that you should publish a book advising people not to use a kickboard?

It's hardly untested. I've trained without kicking sets for 15 years. My kick actually contributes something significant to my whole stroke now, which was never the case when I did kicking sets. Further my legs never "die" in a race now, which they did when I did kicking sets.

However my personal experience is still purely anecdotal...and I'm a distance swimmer. So there's this: I coached the sprint group at West Point from 1996-99. We didn't do a single kicking set during that time (ditto for use of buoys and paddles). Everyone improved significantly on their personal best times and the group as a whole became transformed from the most underperforming group on the team (I had specifically asked to be assigned whichever group was underperforming) to a group from which five of the six Patriot League MVPs (3x men, 2x women) were drawn over the next three seasons. And no one ever had a problem holding their kick to the end of a race.

Still too anecdotal? For several years, half a dozen age group teams, comprising several hundred young swimmers, coached by TI coaches, have also stopped doing kickiing sets (pulling sets too) and all report swimming better and no one's legs ever "die" in a race?

Why? Well my "untested" theory on this is that kicking with a board trains you to push a kickboard down a pool, not to work the legs harmoniously with the overall body dynamic of a whole stroke. When you consciously practice swimming with better whole-body integration then all parts of the body receive the training they need to do the same during races.

This experiment has been influenced in part by contact with Bill Boomer 17 years ago, and in part by influence from Howard Firby.
Firby wrote that most people think of swimming as having an "Arms Department" the job of which is to pull the body down the pool, and a "Legs Department" the job of which is to push the body down the pool. And, influenced by that view of things, people therefore have been influenced to do a lot of "dis-integrated" training with kicking sets for the legs and pulling sets for the arms.

But when I watch elite swimmers do their thing what I'm most struck by is the complete and fluent harmony of all body parts working in close coordination. That sort of coordination doesn't come naturally to most people. That being the case one ought to devote as much time as possible to practicing swimming with the body rather than pulling or pushing it down the pool.

In the end, my view of kicking sets is not that they're
bad but that they're simply a poor use of time when the job of learning better coordination and integration is such a large one and has the potential to improve one's performance so significantly.

>>Anytime someone writes "100%" I am sceptical. Of course you are trying to sell a book so....>>
Are you skeptical that my training is 100% devoted to achieving better whole-body integration, as I wrote...or because it's so transparent that my motivation is purely to sell books?

osterber
September 6th, 2006, 12:19 PM
Do you still endorse Slim Fins? I would expect that if you're advocating no kick sets, I can't imagine you would ever allow people to use fins. Using fins just changes the timing and integration of the kick into the stroke.

One big reason I think kick sets are still good is because there are _so_ many people (myself included) at all levels of swimming with shoulder problems. There's only so much training that shoulders can take.

Your model assumes that it is beneficial to spend as much time swimming (full stroke and kick) as possible. I disagree. I think that puts lots of shoulders at risk.

The legs are a lot more resiliant than shoulders. If I swim a long hard distance set... my shoulders are going to be at the end of their usefulness for the day. But I can push my legs farther. If I keep swimming (the pull side), I'll pull my shoulders apart. But if I keep kicking, my legs will be sore, stronger, but not broken.

-Rick

thewookiee
September 6th, 2006, 12:25 PM
Having personally swam with and watched Terry swim over the last several years, I can attest that he does not do kicking sets.
Any doubt if he needs too, well, look at his results over the previous year.
I have gone back and forth over the last few years if I need to do straight kicking sets or work my kick in with drilling/swimming sets.
Personally, I have found that my "leg strength" and overall swimming have improved when I am focused on the whole body movements and not just trying to work one part.
Also, I have noticed a that I have a lot more "fuel" let in my tank during practices, when I haven't done kicking sets, which has allowed me to stay focused on my overall swimming and get more out of each practice.
My two cents.

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 12:34 PM
Terry referring to Howard Firby did you know he had polio and his legs were almost useless.

He was also to me the coach I would never listen to. All he wanted you to do was all out repeats.

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 01:40 PM
I gave up kicking sets and do all my leg drills on a tread mill, see my routine here http://www.fugufish.org/frog/?p=38

Matt S
September 6th, 2006, 02:50 PM
Terry,

Can I assume your new book will describe your experiences with your year-round swim team in New Paltz? I for one would be eager to read that book. I'm interested in seeing TI principles applied to a year round program. Long Stronkes in a Short Season is an excellent description of using TI over the course of a season. But, by its very terms, it is talking about a high school season that is only a few weeks long. Obviously, your work at West Point dealt with a longer time frame, but you have not written extensively about that, especially very little about overall season plan.

One of the common criticisms of TI is that it is great for people who would benefit from intense focus on stroke mechanics, but not for "elite" level performers (however one defines that; the definition gets very slippery whenever a TI advocate tries to produce a counterexample) who are beyond mere stroke mechanics and should focus on intense fitness and conditioning. My gut instinct is telling me that a TI program would have plenty of conditioning, but with more of a focus of sharpening stroke mechanics UNDER PRESSURE, rather than perhaps letting them fall apart as sometimes happens in intense sets. I'm not sure exactly what that would look like, and I'm hoping your new book would discuss that very point.

In sum: I'd love to see how you get year round swimmers ready for the 200 stroke races, the IMs and the middle distance freestyle races.

Matt

art_z
September 6th, 2006, 02:58 PM
I think the argument here regarding kicking forgets that a decent portion of a race is done with legs only, i.e., after the start, and off of each wall. Would not doing exercises that focus on these parts of the race give a swimmer and advantage over someone who pushes off and comes right up for air and continues swimming?

You get 15m underwater I think off each wall these days, no?

ande
September 6th, 2006, 03:12 PM
you asked:
"Who's willing to give up your Kicking Sets?"

not me

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 03:21 PM
Is it an argument or a discussion.

The beautiful thing is that everyone has the right to their own ideas. Some are good some not so good.

TI is good stuff but not for me. I do see a lot of the stuff TI suggests as things I have done for years such as shoulder roll.

This fellow Howard Firby told me I rolled too much. Howard also tried to work me to the ground in 1958 trying to impose his kick, kick, kick, routines, arms only stuff, and his max speed sprints and almost kicked me off the BEC Games team because I was not in shape to do his workouts even though he knew of my health problems.

I have some private stories about Howard but cannot voice those here.

thewookiee
September 6th, 2006, 03:42 PM
"I think the argument here regarding kicking forgets that a decent portion of a race is done with legs only, i.e., after the start, and off of each wall. Would not doing exercises that focus on these parts of the race give a swimmer and advantage over someone who pushes off and comes right up for air and continues swimming?

You get 15m underwater I think off each wall these days, no?"


Terry has never suggested/recommended anyone come straight up and start swimming.

As I tell the high school/age group/masters swimmers that I work with, each time you push off to start a swim or do a turn in a set, you have the opportunity to work your streamline,underwater pullouts(breastroke) and underwater dolphin kicking.

When someone is first learning how to push off the walls,do pullouts or undewater dolphin kicking, then yes, you would do sets just focused on those. Or at the start of the season, you might do those as swimmers get back into the practice grove.

If you have been practicing for awhile, you can and should make good streamlines, underwater kicks, a part of every practice but you don't have to have special sets do it, you have the opporunity, if you choose, to do it each time you leave the wall.

lefty
September 6th, 2006, 03:55 PM
Clarification: When Terry was using the term 100% he was advocating 100% of your kick sets being integration based. I am skeptical anytime someone says training should be 100% geared towards anything.

Again, I agree that kick sets SHOULD be more stroke integrated. You must have had a positive influence on Mark Davin at American University (Patriot League connection?). One of his swimmer brought home some nice tips to me that sound just like what you adovocate.

But give up the board 100% No way.

thewookiee
September 6th, 2006, 04:21 PM
Lefty,

That is where I swam in college. Mark was my college coach. He was a lot of fun to swim for in college. He was the first coach that I had to talk about balance, body alignment, etc.
In fact, we did most of our kicking w/o boards. I don't think he liked kickboards too much either.
Was either of the swimmers named David L. or Erik? David and I were roommates while in college.

Peter Cruise
September 6th, 2006, 04:58 PM
I am known, within our club, to loathe, abhor and detest kicking. I especially dislike kicking with board as it injures an already fragile neck- but, not wanting to be rude, nor doing a set that does not 'fit' with lanemates, I usually try to do breastroke kick when a kick set is called for, concentrating on streamlining and distance per kick which I am convinced is quite useful for the whole stroke.

LindsayNB
September 6th, 2006, 06:42 PM
There was an interesting article in the last issue of Swimming World with a title along the lines of Race strategies for distance swimmers that suggested that kicking is more about rhythm than propulsion. The article is by Dave Denniston but is based on an interview with Jon Urbanchuk.

I also think it is critical to not lump sprinting together with distance when discussing kicking. In the pace clock thread Terry said he is now faster in the distance events than he was in his college days but far slower in the 100 and 200. Perhaps his training strategy is more suited to distance racing than sprinting? We would need many more details about his swimmers at West Point and the events they improved in, and some sort of control group, to draw solid conclusions.

Personally the idea of fewer kicking sets appeals to me, but I don't know if it the "right thing" to do.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Originally posted by osterber
Do you still endorse Slim Fins? I would expect that if you're advocating no kick sets, I can't imagine you would ever allow people to use fins. Using fins just changes the timing and integration of the kick into the stroke.

Rick
You're quite right that sore shoulders are a serious problem/consideration. But I'd take the position that it's not higher volume of whole-stroke (or whole-body-movement) that causes or exacerbates it. It's poor technique, specifically putting pressure on the arm too early in the stroke. This is a result of:
1) high stroke rate swimming, and
2) reaching far forward before entry

When you reach far forward for entry, the arm presses down fairly strongly while at nearly full extension and very near the surface. You have a combination of a long lever involved in pressure while the shoulder is in its least stable position.

I've swum some relatively high volume at times while preparing for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. And I've also swum as much as 28.5 miles at a stretch. Not only that but I have a rotator cuff tear in my 55 y.o. left shoulder. But I never have even the slightest pain. Nor has anyone I coached in the past 10 years experienced any shoulder pain, because we enter the hand much closer to the head and much steeper, then use a degree of care to get the hand/forearm in a fairly vertical position (bcz elbow is higher and bent at this point, the lever receiving pressure is much shorter) and to feel that the entire structure is stable before putting strong pressure on it. No more shoulder issues, period.

Shoulder pain and injury has unfortunately come to be accepted as "normal" in our sport and viewed as a necessary price to do the training one needs to be successful. Athletic trainers and PTs are deeply disapproving of this view. They say that any activity that results in a need for regular ice therapy -- most especially for juveniles -- is an activity you should stop or change.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
Terry referring to Howard Firby did you know he had polio and his legs were almost useless.

He was also to me the coach I would never listen to. All he wanted you to do was all out repeats.

I was aware that he had polio. I am also fascinated by the fact that he was a commercial illustrator in his "day job."

I think you'd be rather surprised if you read a copy of his book "Howard Firby on Swimming" published in 1975 and long out of print. I feel it is a work of rare genius and prescience. He was years ahead of his time in his thinking. And I think you'd find that his views and methods underwent great change between 1958 when you had your unfortunate experience and 1975 when he published his book.

The book is a cult object among certain fans of his. I searched for a used copy for years and found one last year in a used bookstore in WA state, via alibris.com. I happily paid $143 for it.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by art_z
I think the argument here regarding kicking forgets that a decent portion of a race is done with legs only, i.e., after the start, and off of each wall. Would not doing exercises that focus on these parts of the race give a swimmer and advantage over someone who pushes off and comes right up for air and continues swimming?

You get 15m underwater I think off each wall these days, no?

Quite right. We practiced that intently at West Point and we continue to do so with the age group team I coach because this part of the race presents a great opportunity to win races. The turn, the pushoff (including the kick) and the breakout. I also expected them to "race" the walls routinely in practice. But the kind of kicking one uses on the pushoff and breakout is significantly different than what one does on a kickboard (especially if it's a conversational kicking set). So I don't think of that work as kicking sets. Its purpose is to get one to the breakout point as quickly as possible, not to condition the legs.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by lefty
You must have had a positive influence on Mark Davin at American University (Patriot League connection?).

Perhaps, but not through the Patriot League. American wasn' t in the league from 96-99.

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 09:27 PM
You spent $143 more than I paid for it and I threw it in the garbage after he gave it to me. It may have some good stuff in it but to me it deserved the garbage pail.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
In the pace clock thread Terry said he is now faster in the distance events than he was in his college days but far slower in the 100 and 200. Perhaps his training strategy is more suited to distance racing than sprinting? We would need many more details about his swimmers at West Point and the events they improved in, and some sort of control group, to draw solid conclusions.

Personally the idea of fewer kicking sets appeals to me, but I don't know if it the "right thing" to do.

It's true. At 55 I'm faster in 500, 1000, 1650 than I was at 18, but can't come close to my times for the 100 and 200. It's also interesting that I swam 36,000 to 40,000 yards per week then, and do half or less of that volume now. So you'd expect my distance swimming to suffer.

But my analysis is that the 100 and 200 are much more influenced by one's athleticism -- strength, fitness, and to some degree youth. While the longer events reward craft and subtlety far more. And I do my best swimming, by far, in open water, which rewards sheer athleticism the least and economy of motion and effort the most.

The only control groups for what we did at West Point are the performance of that group before and several years after -- very poor by comparison with those three years.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
You spent $143 more than I paid for it and I threw it in the garbage after he gave it to me.
It seems we'll agree to disagree on the merits of Howard Firby.

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 10:02 PM
Howard, Cliff Lumsden a great Canadian Marathon swimmer and I talked swimming for several years before I moved out west. We discussed how we would get the hand to the catch position and where we applied pressure from entry to catch to the finish. He wondered how I would stroke so slowly and be able to stay with someone stroking 20 strokes a minute faster than I was stroking like Herman Willemse and Abou Heif. I told him what I did, in the bow wave set up by the body. I called it wave positioning.

We were not great friends but talked often he was facinated with Marathon swimming. He asked me why I was faster for a 100 then I was in 1954, 1955 and 1958. I told him that I was able to work harder than I was able to when I was younger. I had recurring infectious mononucleousis when I was younger.

I guess he was OK but would not consider the things that happened to me. He was really angry with me when I broke my ankle the day before I raced the 100, I swam with a green fracture with an injection of novican and tapped. I swam five events like that.

KaizenSwimmer
September 6th, 2006, 10:09 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
I told him what I did, in the bow wave set up by the body. I called it wave positioning.
You're using terms that should be more commonly examined. I've been intrigued by the size and character of bow waves created by swimmers, and whether/how one can use them to advantage.

I've worked a lot with breaststrokers on creating smaller bow waves and on "darting through" those they do create on the lunge forward. Flyers. to some extent, can learn to "ride" their bow wave with the right kind of landing and by timing the next stroke.

Firby talked quite a bit about wave formation in his book. Fascinating stuff.

geochuck
September 6th, 2006, 10:27 PM
Matt man was the first persom to talk to me about bow waves, then Counsillman filmed me swimming and asked why I swam using the stroke I used. I told him I could not train so I had to take advantage of technique.

The perfect example of bow waves was Abou Heif who taught me to ride another swimmers bow wave from the front instead of drafting from the rear. He told me he learned it by swimming in the Suez Canal near the freighters and riding their bow waves. I have seen an Egyptian swimming in stationary water going as fast as the freighters riding the bow wave.

When a freighter has to change directions because of a curve in the canal I have seen a swimmer going 10 to 15 miles an hour in the opposite direction of the freighter. Strange things seem to happen.

boathead
September 6th, 2006, 11:13 PM
This is one of the best threads I've read around here because of the lack of BS. Thank you.

I tend to really dislike kick sets because I'm not a good kicker and it really takes a lot of mental effort to do a reasonable set. It hurts. Usually I think of kicking as a weak point that needs work. I also think kicking is good generally for my legs and especially for my abdomin. Not just for speed, but for general health, which is a bigger reason I'm in the water than swimming faster.

Of course, coordination of the whole stroke is above any piece of the swimming puzzle, but not at every moment. Do you also advocate dispensing with drills and pulls? Or is it that kicking takes too much time? I'm not debating you. A lot of your arguements stated here appears to go that way.

I'm most interested in the stroke technique you describe. I'm having a hard time picturing it. Is it a shorter stroke? Is it front quadrant? Do you work on lengthening your stroke, or does that lead to bad habits?

The worst part of knowing that injury prevention is connected to good technique is the concurrent knowledge that technique breaks down with fatigue.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 05:14 AM
Originally posted by geochuck
When a freighter has to change directions because of a curve in the canal I have seen a swimmer going 10 to 15 miles an hour in the opposite direction of the freighter. Strange things seem to happen.

Well that's analogous to swimming with a following wave, whether wind-driven swells or tidal waves and many of us have experienced that and some have even learned to exploit it to some degree, so it becomes a tactic in OW racing.

But focus on the waves YOU create is a whole different matter and can be just as useful in the pool.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 05:35 AM
Originally posted by boathead
This is one of the best threads I've read around here because of the lack of BS.

I too have found the thoughtful exchanges a refreshing contrast to some other forums.

On the topic of kicking sets as a general workout, i.e. a workout for your abs, etc. I agree they can be that and have said so to some people who do swim for general fitness.

But it's certainly not the only way to accomplish that goal. One of the things I've had the leisure to tune into during the 3+ months of untimed swim practices I've done this summer (reference to the thread on pace clocks) is a new awareness of how my core is fully engaged for every moment of every stroke -- a consequence of two things: (1) the effort I put into maintaining an actively-streamlined, aligned head-to-toe position. It's a sense of "tone" in all my postural muscles, as distinguished from "tension" which would be tiring and unproductive. This is a habit born of swimming in a particular way for years. But the effect of maintaining that level of tone almost continuously for an hour or more is certainly stronger structural muscle in general.

My holistic or macro goal for swimming is definitely health and fitness. But my driver and motivator -- the thing that adds meaning and purpose to the activity and makes it more likely I'll be faithful to it for many years -- is to win races. And, IMO, kicking sets do not contribute to this goal. I optimize and organize my pool time around activities that I do feel contribute to the goal. So I get my general fitness, abs included, from whole-body movements.

What kind of stroke am I striving for? I've put far less emphasis on the term FQS in recent years because I felt it led to misunderstanding and, in some cases, to less efficiency not greater. I'm constantly striving to find the most economical way to move through the water, and swim fast. Moving LIKE water would be the simplest way to describe. Moving as much as possible like Michael Phelps or Ian Thorpe or Natalie Coughlin or Katie Hoff -- or like Paul Smith for that matter -- would be another.

You can make fatigue-related technique breakdown far less likely by adopting a mantra "Never Practice Struggle" as a touchstone for training. I refuse to practice ineffective or inefficient movement in order to "make a set." I continue to improve relative to other swimmers, and I no longer suffer swimming injuries. Injuries while weight lifting or mountain biking, yes, but not swimming.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 05:45 AM
Oops, forgot to mention the second reason my core and abs get an effective "workout" during each hour or swim practice. Because I practice whole-body movement. The 2-beat kick I use while swimming freestyle is a very powerful movement. A "whip" would be a more accurate description of that movement than a "kick."
When I spear my right hand forward in synch with driving my left foot down, a tremendous amount of muscle tissue -- virtually every muscle group between my right hand and left foot -- fires off. And that happens 60 times a minute or 3000+ times an hour. My core muscle is the "force coupler" for that movement, meaning ab exercise on every stroke.
By contrast, when I used to kick on a board -- which I've described on this thread as an "isolating" rather than "integrating" activity-- I mainly use thigh muscle, with a bit of ab involvement but certainly far less tissue is activated.
So an argument could be made that kickboard sets are less effective even as a general fitness activity.

And by the way, the whole-body coordination I described above was lacking in my stroke when I did do kicking sets. Both my arms and legs fatigued far more in training and racing. Now I have a post-race sensation of general fatigue that is more distributed and less unpleasant and from which I recover much more quickly.

geochuck
September 7th, 2006, 06:47 AM
Terry
It is starting to sound like a sales pitch, your way or no way. Only in my endless pool with the water flowing.

The fact is when the body moves forward it forces water to move away it actually sets up a wave of water moving ahead of a body (a bow wave) as the body passes through. The water then fills the space that the body has pushed the water out of. This is the reason the 2, 4, or six beat kick helps in moving us a head and how swimmers can draft off the person pushing the water out of the way. The water filling the void the body makes (if you know how to take advantage of the water filling the void) the the legs lift to the surface.

Now back to the bow wave this water is moving forward and out, making the familiar V it can be taken advantage of in several ways now that is the secret I am not going to tell about here. Let me tell you it is not piercing (spearing) the hand into water.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by geochuck
Terry
It is starting to sound like a sales pitch, your way or no way. Only in my endless pool with the water flowing.

Please show me where in any of these posts I've said anything remotely like that.

In fact, in the Endless Pool, the swimmer's bow wave virtually disappears, as it is overwhelmed by the current and surface turbulence. Just as is the case when swimming circles with four or five others in a 25 yd/m pool; the bow waves created by oncoming swimmers collide with each other and result in confused turbulence, cancelling out most of the opportunity to make a useful observation. One needs a calm undisturbed surface environment to infer something about the nature of waves formed by the swimmer.

In discussing wave formation, I'm talking about a hydrodynamic condition common to any swimmer, using any style, not anything I'm trying to "sell."

geochuck
September 7th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Terry it is actually 2 waves the bow wave and the wave of water filling the void made by the body. I have seen it when swimmers are swimming circles. I have not seen it in an endless pool but today I will check it out in my daughters infinite pool which has flowing water. I will record some videos. I am not sure but I know the water in front still has to be pushed out of the way and it has to go somewhere it does not disappear.

As you probably know my swimmining was done for 10 years in open water races. Not in a pool.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by geochuck
Terry it is actually 2 waves the bow wave and the wave of water filling the void made by the body.
Correct, but isn't the following wave actually the tail of the bow wave?
In any case, I do encourage swimmers to minimize wave formation as much as possible, since wave drag consumes more energy than either form drag or friction drag. But the bow wave is the one from which you may have the ability to gain some energy back -- in Short Axis strokes -- if you use it cleverly, and is also the one Firby discussed in his book.

geochuck
September 7th, 2006, 09:08 AM
The one at the back is just water rushing in to replace the water pushed forward and away. In dead calm this wave will spread out as far as 200 feet or even more. You see this water as a large boat passes by and the waves come ashore, but our vessel is not moving as fast or as much water, so you do not notice it as much.

lefty
September 7th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by totalswimm
Not only that but I have a rotator cuff tear in my 55 y.o. left shoulder. But I never have even the slightest pain. Nor has anyone I coached in the past 10 years experienced any shoulder pain,

Most of the time the reason people have shoulder problems is because they do not strecth and stregnthen their shoulders properly, not because they have an imbalanced stroke.

scyfreestyler
September 7th, 2006, 12:25 PM
My shoulder injury was due to improper shoulder stretching technique. Ever since the injury, I don't stretch at all before I swim. I find that a few slow 100's are plenty to get my muscles freed up enough to begin picking up the pace.


It has been shown that stretching just before swimming does very little for the swimmer. A stretching program done on a regualr basis, not just pre-swim, would actually be beneficial to the swimmer.

Peter Cruise
September 7th, 2006, 02:24 PM
Terry- I have not detected any sales attempt on your part. Two questions: my kick sounds vaguely like yours i.e. two whip like kicks per stroke cycle, but I fight the tendency of my legs to slightly separate & break streamline- do you? Secondly, when you are entering last 50 or 100 of distance race do you 'pick it up' at all whether stroke rate or kick rate?

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 02:57 PM
Originally posted by geochuck
The one at the back is just water rushing in to replace the water pushed forward and away.

Since my last post I had to run an errand that involved crossing the bridge over the Hudson River to Dutchess County. As I crossed a large tanker was just downstream to my right. I checked out the wave formation. The bow wave spread steadily from just wider than the prow to eventually 600m wide (but quite small) as it hit the shore long after the boat had passed that point.
What was left in the void immediately behind the boat was pitting and spiking of the surface but in no definable pattern.

letsrace
September 7th, 2006, 03:01 PM
I assume that people are thinking of freestyle only in this discussion. Is this a challenge for flyers as well?

I would be eager to hear of people working on "integrated" kicking with butterfly. I do most of my training at a 70% max heart rate and have had no luck keeping my heartrate this low while swimming fly, so I will have a hard time being convinced to give up fly kick sets. Yes, I also do kicking with one arm as a form of integrated fly.

2 beat kicks? What sprinter is kicking with a 2 beat kick?

This doesn't invalidate Terry's proposal as it is completely reasonable to swim with an integrated 6 beat kick, but his statements about "legs [dying]" make me question to which events he is referring.

George, that video of your treadmill routine is excellent! I am going to start working on my routine.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 03:02 PM
Originally posted by lefty
Most of the time the reason people have shoulder problems is because they do not strecth and stregnthen their shoulders properly, not because they have an imbalanced stroke.

Well, I suppose we disagree on cause/effect here. I never stretch my shoulders. I do regular whole-body exercise, combining fitball, and elements of pilates and yoga, that has the intent of keeping me both strong and supple all over. I concentrate on swimming with a balanced, symmetrical and fluent stroke, and never have shoulder pain.

Pre-1990 when my technique was more old-school, and I did regular shoulder stretches of the kind recommended by USS, I had tender/sore shoulders semi-regularly.

Ditto for the teams I've coached pre- and post-1990.
From the early 70s to the late 80s I coached teams and we faithfully did shoulder stretches before, and sometimes after, every workout. We did not work on balanced freestyle technique. We had shoulder problems, but probably less than most teams.

Post-1990 the teams I've coached have done the same kind of exercise I do, no shoulder stretching of the typical type, but have learned and practiced balance. No more shoulder problems.

Sample size - several hundred swimmers in each case.

geochuck
September 7th, 2006, 03:26 PM
letsrace

When I did my fly in around 1 min for the 100m LC I did all my work with my arms with 2 little dolphin kicks off the turn and a very light 2 beat dolphin for the balance of the race. I could not swim a 200 I would have died. Never practiced kicking for fly. We were just learning about how to fly.

I am glad you liked my treadmill video I am the guy with the red pants. Here it is again take note of my strecthing routine while on the treadmill. http://www.fugufish.org/frog/?p=38

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by letsrace
I assume that people are thinking of freestyle only in this discussion. Is this a challenge for flyers as well?


Is this Mike Ross the former Princeton swimmer and present 37 y.o. sprint marvel?
I watched you swim the 50 Free at Zones in March from the stands directly behind your lane and it was the most beautiful swim I witnessed all weekend. Slower SR and much more control than anyone else in the heat and markedly faster. Exactly the way I sought to have the sprinters at West Point swim when I coached them.
However you may train, you have achieved a high level of integration in your whole stroke, and more importantly, at race speed.

What you've been able to achieve doesn't come easily or naturally to most of us -- me included. It's those folks I'm thinking of when I talk about the value of examining what you gain from various ways of spending pool time. How many other entrants in that huge field of 50 Freestylers at Zones had a level of integration remotely close to yours? A minuscule number. How will more kicking sets help them close some of the gap between their efficiency and yours? That's the question I'm posing here.

To partially answer your question about butterfly, when I coached at West Point, one of my swimmers improved from a lifetime best of 53.8 in 100 Fly in the Yale dual meet in early Jan to 49.1 in the Patriot League championships five weeks later. As I said, we never did a kicking set, on boards or without boards on the surface. During that 5-week period, he did whole stroke repeats limited to 5 or 6 strokes - i.e. 20 to 25 yds (because that was how far he could maintain the form I was looking for).

His only kicking work was underwater 25s with Slim Fins. This was to address his comically awful pushoff form - shaking violently rather than a tight, fast dolphin. I had him do 25s underwater with Slim Fins until he'd cut his kick count by 50%, from 22 to 11. Then began timing him on underwater kicks at 11 kicks, until he'd improved from 17 to 11 seconds. But this wasn't to "condition" his legs but to reprogram his movements to be effective (fewer kicks) and fast (fewer seconds) by better integrating it with core movement.
He later won the EISL meet in 48.4, after failing to even make the bonus final as a freshman.

letsrace
September 7th, 2006, 04:12 PM
I am that Mike Ross, although your compliments make me want to deny my identity. I appreciate your kind words.


It's those folks I'm thinking of when I talk about the value of examining what you gain from various ways of spending pool time.

That does clear things up a bit. I recognized that you were trying to inflame passions with this topic and honestly, I said "hey, wait a minute", when I read it. I then had to recognize that I never wear a pull bouy for largely the same reason that you have posed.

It might be informative for the discussion to note: I hate pulling and I am a "bad" puller. Sound familiar to all you bad kickers who hate kicking?

Remarkable story about your flyer. This approach you took with the fly kick is very interesting. It reminds me of how my coach, C. Rob Orr, had me "find" my dolphin kick on my back. This anequedote also helps me address a question that I have had with the kids that I coach. How to teach a poor kicker to kick well? Part of me was fearful that if could not be taught, that it was largely structural. But this one drill gives me a new direction. Thanks, Terry.

I will give you credit when I tell the kids what we are doing next: "You can all thank Terry Laughlin for this set" They might not be as thankful to you as I am. :D

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 07:24 PM
Originally posted by Peter Cruise
Two questions: my kick sounds vaguely like yours i.e. two whip like kicks per stroke cycle, but I fight the tendency of my legs to slightly separate & break streamline- do you? Secondly, when you are entering last 50 or 100 of distance race do you 'pick it up' at all whether stroke rate or kick rate?

Peter
I fight a similar tendency. In my case, the kick feels right,with regard to both direction and timing between breaths and when I breathe left, but when I breathe right (my natural breathing side), my left foot -- which should be poised to drive down - slides out to the left instead and hesitates a moment, putting me slightly out of synch on the next stroke. My lake swimming -- allowing hundreds of uninterrupted strokes with undistracted focus -- is helping enormously to correct this.
Like you, I used to sense too much amplitude in my kick, but corrected it by focusing on bringing the toes of both feet together as I speared each hand forward. Just as I reach my most streamlined position in the front, I try to be equally tapered (like a fish) at the rear.

As for increasing my speed at the end of a race, I try to swim my 1650s in a pattern of 550 @ 14 SPL, 550 @ 15 SPL and 550 @ 16 SPL. I also increase the power of my hip/leg drive, and the forearm pressure I feel on each 550. However that strategy, while great for allowing me to steadily increase speed while others are hanging on or falling off, has proven too conservative for me to swim as fast as I think I'm capable. Toward the end of the last scy season I began working on a more aggressive opening 550.

KaizenSwimmer
September 7th, 2006, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by letsrace
This approach you took with the fly kick...reminds me of how my coach, C. Rob Orr, had me "find" my dolphin kick on my back. This anequedote also helps me address a question that I have had with the kids that I coach. How to teach a poor kicker to kick well? Part of me was fearful that if could not be taught, that it was largely structural. But this one drill gives me a new direction.

Mike, what team do you coach? How many kids and what ages?
I have often tried to fix a stroke "problem" by creating a task or "puzzle" or drill that would lead the swimmer naturally to the solution. I find they "own" the correction more that way than when I impose a correction. Sounds much like what Rob did with you.

Here's a sample. Last year I was working with a group of 12 and unders on cross-pool pushoffs/breakouts. Several were too long underwater, too deep and a bit sloppy in their dolphins, giving up virtually all of their initial pushoff speed before breakout. Since they were taking only two strokes after breakout before reaching the other wall, I told them to take at least four. Within two or three repeats all were markedly sharper and faster underwater to the breakout.

letsrace
September 8th, 2006, 06:40 AM
I assist coaching at a nearby JCC in Worcester. My son started swimming there a year ago and I offered to help with the coaching of turns and occasional stroke problems. That lead to me assisting.

It was a small team last year but is very large this year due to the closing of a nearby program. The kids range in age from 6 to 17. I usually coach the kids from 8 to 13.

I like your idea about treating things as a puzzle. I deeply believe in this strategy, although I am not a great puzzle designer yet.

KaizenSwimmer
September 8th, 2006, 08:19 AM
Mike
Send me an email at totalswimm (at) aol (dot) com and I'll send you some stuff that'll provide some grist for your coaching.
In the meantime, here are links to two articles written by the Army flyer I referred to in the earlier post. He's now head coach of the Cheyenne Mountain Aquatic Club in Colo Spgs. He describes how he applies the lessons he learned while swimming to coaching the kids on his team.

http://www.totalimmersion.net/2005articles/january/novak.html
http://www.totalimmersion.net/2005articles/february/7-habits.html

geochuck
September 8th, 2006, 08:22 AM
Originally posted by totalswimm
Since my last post I had to run an errand that involved crossing the bridge over the Hudson River to Dutchess County. As I crossed a large tanker was just downstream to my right. I checked out the wave formation. The bow wave spread steadily from just wider than the prow to eventually 600m wide (but quite small) as it hit the shore long after the boat had passed that point.
What was left in the void immediately behind the boat was pitting and spiking of the surface but in no definable pattern. Fill your bath tub and take a little plastic boat and push it gently through the water, you will see the bow wave and see the water action at the back. Then put some bubble bath soap in the tub and jump in.

NotVeryFast
September 8th, 2006, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by totalswimm
But my analysis is that the 100 and 200 are much more influenced by one's athleticism -- strength, fitness, and to some degree youth. While the longer events reward craft and subtlety far more.
I've just put together a little spreadsheet to work out what percentage over the world record the masters world record for each age group is. Here are the results:

open 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64
50 free 21.64 4% 7% 5% 12% 12% 14% 18% 18%
100 free 47.84 6% 8% 8% 12% 12% 16% 22% 23%
200 free 104.06 8% 10% 10% 14% 16% 18% 23% 32%
400 free 220.08 9% 12% 13% 15% 19% 18% 21% 32%
800 free 458.65 10% 13% 13% 14% 17% 19% 19% 31%
1500 free 874.56 11% 14% 14% 15% 18% 18% 21% 33%
As you can see, in all age groups (apart from a slight difference in 55-59), masters swimmers are further off the world record, in % terms, for longer distances than shorter distances. I'm not sure why you have been able to improve your distance swimming with less training compared to when you were younger. Perhaps the nature of your training now is different and you had the potential to be a much better distance swimmer when younger if you had done training to optimise your conditioning for distance swimming.

I have had a similar experience to you, except that I am also swimming faster over 50m at 35 than when I was 20. But in % terms I've improved more over longer distances. I find that my sprint speed is relatively unaffected by how much training I do, but my distance swimming has benefited hugely from doing more meterage than I've ever done before. So I have completely the opposite belief to you, I believe that sprinting is all about technique, but distance swimming is all about conditioning. Just look at all the ex-elite swimmers in Masters swimming who can turn up and swim very fast 50m races, with very smooth looking technique, and they can often stretch to a decent 100m race, but they can't do a decent 200m race because they don't train enough.

I also believe that good technique for sprint and distance are not necessarily the same thing. A gliding portion of the stroke can be good for distance swimming, where you need to optimise the relationship between effort and speed. But for shorter races, continuity of propulsion becomes more important, and efficiency less important than maximising speed at all costs.

KaizenSwimmer
September 11th, 2006, 06:59 AM
Originally posted by NotVeryFast
in all age groups (apart from a slight difference in 55-59), masters swimmers are further off the world record, in % terms, for longer distances than shorter distances. I'm not sure why you have been able to improve your distance swimming with less training compared to when you were younger. Perhaps the nature of your training now is different and you had the potential to be a much better distance swimmer when younger if you had done training to optimise your conditioning for distance swimming.

Impressive analysis. I'm not sure it demonstrates that we become less capable at distance swimming, than at sprinting, as we age. It could also be a reflection that most Masters train at moderate yardage and yardage is most commonly the difference-maker in distance.

Indeed the nature of my training is dramatically different than when I was younger. I was curious, but fairly clueless about technique then and simply went as hard as I could all the time. I began to explore and understand technique when I joined the coaching ranks at 21.

However, what I find curious about my improvement over college freshman times in distance is that my yardage is about half what it was then. So you'd think my sprint times would be relatively better, but it's not so. The longer the distance the better I compare to my 18 y.o. self.

geochuck
September 13th, 2006, 11:45 AM
Terry thought I might add this re the 2 wave theory http://www.ifkb.nl/B4/techniqueanddra2.html

Here is more http://web.mac.com/htoussaint/iWeb/SwimSite/Welcome.html

LindsayNB
September 13th, 2006, 03:54 PM
Interesting sites George! Finally! Solid scientific evidence that hypoxic training is just sadism/masochism!

http://web.mac.com/htoussaint/iWeb/SwimSite/Abstracts/FD4EFC5A-4B99-49F9-B0B0-5B6C67503AFA.html

geochuck
September 13th, 2006, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
Interesting sites George! Finally! Solid scientific evidence that hypoxic training is just sadism/masochism!

http://web.mac.com/htoussaint/iWeb/SwimSite/Abstracts/FD4EFC5A-4B99-49F9-B0B0-5B6C67503AFA.html Lindsay you know I posted that site especially for you.

geochuck
September 16th, 2006, 12:37 AM
Today at the pool I swam and as part of my workout I did a set of 12 x 50.

I swam 4 doing a 2 beat kick, 4 doing a 4 beat kick and 4 doing a six beat kick, It is amazing how easy the transition was. I would rather do this than doing kick sets.

The Fortress
January 28th, 2007, 07:48 PM
My holistic or macro goal for swimming is definitely health and fitness. But my driver and motivator -- the thing that adds meaning and purpose to the activity and makes it more likely I'll be faithful to it for many years -- is to win races.

How outcome-oriented of you.

Sorry to drag up an old thread. Wanted to see exactly what your views on kicking were. Interesting thread with some good posts.

But, no thanks, I'll keep kicking without a board. I particularly think SDKs are invaluble for fly and back.

KaizenSwimmer
January 29th, 2007, 04:29 AM
Setting goals doesn't conflict with a process-orientation. Indeed goal setting is integral to it. My primary goal is Continuous Improvement. Racing is only one of the ways to measure that improvement. An outcome oriented swimmer will evaluate the race primarily on time or place. A process oriented swimmer will evaluate the race more as an art form. How well did you construct the race and how well did you execute your race plan. My goal is always to swim the "perfect race." Because it's unattainable it lends a sense of purpose to every practice. If I swim a "more perfect" race it will give me a chance to beat some competitors who may be faster or fitter but swim a "less perfect" race, something that has happened countless times.

But this has nothing to do with kicking sets, on which I've made my views known countless times. Doing so again would be - where's the "beating a dead horse" icon when you need it.

tjburk
January 29th, 2007, 10:09 AM
Give up kick sets? I am with Ande on this one.....never. Doing kick sets isolates the muscles in the legs and makes them stronger. Doing kick sets then doing integration sets IMO is far better total fitness. Taking kick sets out would be like taking pull sets out. Kick sets, like pull sets are more for building strength in my opinion. All of these sets have benefits when incorporated into a total program.
IMO of course!!!!!:D :D

Muppet
January 29th, 2007, 01:19 PM
where's the "beating a dead horse" icon when you need it.

Did someone say dead horse?

:dedhorse: :dedhorse:

The Fortress
January 29th, 2007, 04:34 PM
Setting goals doesn't conflict with a process-orientation. Indeed goal setting is integral to it. My primary goal is Continuous Improvement. Racing is only one of the ways to measure that improvement. An outcome oriented swimmer will evaluate the race primarily on time or place. A process oriented swimmer will evaluate the race more as an art form. How well did you construct the race and how well did you execute your race plan. My goal is always to swim the "perfect race." Because it's unattainable it lends a sense of purpose to every practice. If I swim a "more perfect" race it will give me a chance to beat some competitors who may be faster or fitter but swim a "less perfect" race, something that has happened countless times.


Swimming is not just art. Art is art. Swimming is an athletic competition that involves racing. You have to decide how best to race, which is a heady mix of effective training, strategy, stroke technique, etc. I would bet that most people aspire to swim "perfect" races. No one wants to intentionally swim a bad race, although it obviously can happen due to any number of circumstances.

There is nothing wrong with winning either or having that as a goal. There is also nothing wrong with setting time goals. I'm sure Geek and Gull were both happy with their recent race and PBs, for example. That doesn't mean you don't "process" things at practice and in your race prep.

I just don't think most swimmers fall neatly into the categories of "outcome" based vs. "process" based. Is anyone really just one or the other? Don't most people do some of both? I think you do because you have said you enjoy racing and winning, and that you are happy to have thrashed "countless" more fit swimmers and have the LD records. I don't because I try to figure out what changes I can make in a race or race strategy or stroke flaw to go faster. I'm very Mindfully focusing on fly now with some imprinting SDK work.

You just make it seem black and white with the labels. I don't think it is. I'm hard pressed to think of a single swimmer who doesn't look at their place or times in addition to evaluating how well they swum and what they could do to improve. In fact, most USS coaches encourage their swimmers to set time goals as well as stroke improvement goals. "Process" and "outcome" go together and are inextricably intertwined. You have chosen to posit it as "process" and "goal setting." Same thing, only phrased differently with some extra jargon.

Maybe you should issue a challenge to see who is willing to give up looking at their times and places in lieu of art.

Muppet: I know you're kicking ... :thhbbb: This thread just had a lot of information about the topic.

:dedhorse: :banana: :dedhorse: :banana:

ande
January 29th, 2007, 04:44 PM
i'm NOT giving up my Kicking Sets

I'm going to keep them a SECRET
why share critical info with the enemy

geochuck
January 29th, 2007, 04:51 PM
Kicking sets could be 15 yards or 15 meters x 5 in preparation of doing 15 yards or meters off a turn. Why would anyone give up kicking sets?

Terry have you given up on your side kicking sets?

The Fortress
January 29th, 2007, 05:23 PM
i'm NOT giving up my Kicking Sets

I'm going to keep them a SECRET
why share critical info with the enemy


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Yours aren't a secret. They're on your blog. Or on swimming faster faster.

But what if one's enemy is on the forum?

swimr4life
January 29th, 2007, 07:14 PM
i'm NOT giving up my Kicking Sets


I'm definitely not either! If I couldn't kick, I wouldn't be able to workout at all sometimes due to my shoulder problems. I actually sprint better since I started kicking more. If it isn't broke, don't fix it!

Speedo Racer
January 29th, 2007, 07:32 PM
I think social kick sets build camaraderie, bring a needed lightness to a workout and are good for warmup or recovery.

Hard kick sets are also valuable. They isolate the legs and I believe help build endurance and aerobic efficiency, i.e. capillary growth in the legs.

Nothing is a waste of time, it is all in how one looks at it. One can prove or disprove just about anything in this lifetime. As Einstein proved, it is all relative to the observer.

Caped Crusader
January 29th, 2007, 07:43 PM
Swimming is an athletic competition that involves racing.

No kidding. We are not Jackson Pollack.

I can tell you and Terry don't feel very well with the :argue: going on. I hope you both recover from your ailments and feel better so you can swim faster faster. You both seem very intent on swimming and improving in an intelligent way. You often use different words to say almost the same thing, although you clearly prefer different events. Throw in some of those Cruise-isms along the way.

I don't get the point of the process vs. outcome anyway. Anyone racing has a specific time in mind. Of course. As to how they get there, well, as Speedo Racer so aptly said, it is all relative to the observer. There are many paths to excellence. Choose your process and proceed toward the desired outcome.

I think I need a secret or not so secret nemesis like Fortress and Ande (oh, and Terry too).

geochuck
January 29th, 2007, 08:00 PM
Choose the process but don't take abuse from anyone.

The Fortress
January 29th, 2007, 08:10 PM
I think social kick sets build camaraderie, bring a needed lightness to a workout and are good for warmup or recovery.

This is so true. I used to love that about youth swimming too. It's the one thing that makes me sad about not using a kickboard now. Can't talk with your head in the water ...

Beth:

I know you've been "sentenced" to kicking. But you'll be stronger sooner and sprinting faster faster! I know people who drilled, did body position stuff and kicked for months and then came back and did PBs. You will too. Don't forget the fins for little awhile. ;) :rofl:

some_girl
January 29th, 2007, 08:14 PM
My secret nemesis is on the forums. That's why I keep my posting down.

The Fortress
January 29th, 2007, 08:22 PM
My secret nemesis is on the forums. That's why I keep my posting down.

Mine isn't. But her teammates are. It doesn't seem to stop me. I don't think it should stop you. You're so funny. I don't think it stops your nemesis either. Assuming I can guess who it is. The Bork, right? ;)

I guess we're left in the dark as to whether you're kicking or engaging in the supposed outcome vs. process dichotomy ...

Peter Cruise
January 29th, 2007, 08:59 PM
I think I've figured out who her nemesis is and I don't blame her.

The Fortress
January 29th, 2007, 09:56 PM
I think I've figured out who her nemesis is and I don't blame her.

Very funny, Mr. Breastroker/Butterfrogger:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Should we try to guess yours? I guess it's safe to say loud flyers are out. Since the whole thing was Ande's idea, I'd like to know who his is ...

I like that new signature BTW. You're doing very well in that area. Might merit a USMS threadies nomination soon!

m2tall2
January 30th, 2007, 08:46 AM
I don't think kicking sets help my distance free one bit. The "kick" is so much more of a whole body movement in distance free that it doesn't seem to help isolating the kick at all.

However, with my breaststroke, there is absolutely NO way I would think of giving up my kicking sets. No kicking with a board... I would try that. But all breaststroke kicking sets, no way.

I am wondering, would you consider drills like "one up, two down breaststroke" a kicking set? I do. Even though it works many other parts of the body.

Also, when doing dryland excercises we naturally isolate muscles. It's the entire point of doing weights. I think most people argue that light weights help swimming. Which IS an isolation of the muscles. You're arguement of not kicking because it uneccessarily isolates the muscle groups wouldn't make sense unless it also adheres to a theory that lifting weights does not make sense. BUT if you're saying time spent in the pool is better off not isolating muscle groups, that should be left for non-pool time it should be stated that way (instead of give up kicking sets/pull sets). At least in masters, many of us don't have time for a full program in and out of the pool, so "weight" training needs to be done with kick/pull sets instead of on-land weight training.

KaizenSwimmer
January 30th, 2007, 09:03 AM
I am wondering, would you consider drills like "one up, two down breaststroke" a kicking set? I do. Even though it works many other parts of the body.

Also, <snip> if you're saying time spent in the pool is better off not isolating muscle groups, that should be left for non-pool time it should be stated that way (instead of give up kicking sets/pull sets).

Two good topics. On the first, I do consider certain breast drills to be a sort of "kicking set."
If you recall, my approach to improving the effectiveness of one's kick is to work on integrating the legs, rather than conditioning them. I feel as if leg-conditioning happens quite satisfactorily in whole stroke training - even for sprinters and breaststrokers. Having tested that theory for over 10 years now with a couple hundred college, club and Masters swimmers, who have done no kicking sets, none have yet to complain that their legs "died" in a race.

Kicking sets are specifically intended to condition the legs. While acknowledging that one can also work on technical aspects of the breast kick while doing a legs-only exercise (and I do use those at some points in teaching - such as kicking on the back to correct a tendency to draw the knees forward on recovery) integration only occurs when you work the whole body.

At the same time I've shifted my teaching emphasis on the breast kick away from large powerful actions -- that tend to rely more on leg muscles -- to more compact and quicker ones that use more core power. Drills that involve underwater kicking tend to emphasize the former more so our new Breast vidoes have replaced those with other drills.

Kicking without a board, but with no arm movement can make breathing rather awkward for most people so our updated drill sequence involves two steps:
1) No breather kicking - on which the emphasis is feeling leg thrust drive the body into a tight streamline, and
2) Mini-pull kicking. When we introduce breathing the emphasis continues to be on returning to streamline -- after the breath -- and the mini-pull allows the breath to be taken without awkwardness, but keeps the emphasis on examining and refining the kick. There are several focal points along the way.

Since changing my own emphasis along these lines I've done some 19-second push 25s for the first time in memory. When I tried to get a bigger, more powerful kick I could never break 21.

As for the question of whether pulling and kicking can replace weight lifting, I'll mention two things. (1) Wearing a pull buoy, by increasing buoyancy, underloads rather than overloads the upper body.
(2) Among strength building theorists - and some swim coaches - there's been some consideration that weight training should not be tied too closely to the skill it's meant to serve for two reasons: (a) you may not get as effective a strength workout by trying to mimic other movements, and (b) there's some danger of "contaminating" the neural pattern of your primary skill by trying to mimic it in the weight room. It's virtually impossible to mimic swimming movements on land, because the environment causes the body to behave in dramatically different ways. They believe you're better off keeping your skill work and your strength work separate, a position I think is well-founded.

That's the reason why those athletes who have strength coaches are tending to do more Olympic type lifting, which is very non-sport-specific, then do other activities -- plyometrics for instance -- to try to increase contractile speed. Finding a land-based plyometric simulation for anything other than starts and pushoffs seems like a challenge to me.

I do yoga and balance ball work for my strength-building. I'm not aiming to simulate swimming, but to come close to how I feel my muscles are used in distance swimming -- as well as for general salutary effects.

In the water, I focus purely on integration. I don't pretend to have made a detailed study of these things, but I find the questions stimulating food for thought and what I write here tries to explain what my intuition tells me.

The Fortress
January 30th, 2007, 12:37 PM
1. Kicking sets are specifically intended to condition the legs.

2. Kicking without a board, but with no arm movement can make breathing rather awkward for most people so our updated drill sequence involves two steps:
1) No breather kicking - on which the emphasis is feeling leg thrust drive the body into a tight streamline, and
2) Mini-pull kicking. When we introduce breathing the emphasis continues to be on returning to streamline -- after the breath -- and the mini-pull allows the breath to be taken without awkwardness, but keeps the emphasis on examining and refining the kick. There are several focal points along the way.



I couldn't tell for sure, are you just speaking only of breaststroke?

Don't some kick sets also work the core? Like SDK-ing or the ones Paul Smith mentioned in the muscular endurance thread? My core was sore after doing some monofin and SDK kicking the other day (no board).

some_girl
January 30th, 2007, 01:12 PM
Mine isn't. But her teammates are. It doesn't seem to stop me. I don't think it should stop you. You're so funny. I don't think it stops your nemesis either. Assuming I can guess who it is. The Bork, right? ;)

I guess we're left in the dark as to whether you're kicking or engaging in the supposed outcome vs. process dichotomy ...

Yeah, I guess she's just secret to everyone else. She knows.


I don't think kicking sets help my distance free one bit.

Well, there's your problem. You're swimming the wrong events.

FlyQueen
January 30th, 2007, 04:45 PM
Maybe some people represent their workouts or don't tell the important parts to mislead a certain secret nemesis into thinking they are slower or working less then they are, when in reality they have been training doubles 6 times per week, cranking out 8000 yards a workout, lifting weights, doing crazy kick sets, and all sorts of other secret stuff ....












Or maybe not ...

FlyQueen
January 30th, 2007, 04:46 PM
Well, there's your problem. You're swimming the wrong events.

AMEN sister!

FlyQueen
January 30th, 2007, 05:18 PM
My secret nemesis is on the forums. That's why I keep my posting down.

Some might think that total number of posts is yet another form of competition, you know those overly competitive types, not that there are any around here or anything ...

some_girl
January 30th, 2007, 05:55 PM
Some might think that total number of posts is yet another form of competition, you know those overly competitive types, not that there are any around here or anything ...

You know what they say: few posts, fast times.

FlyQueen
January 30th, 2007, 06:15 PM
Then how come Ande tons? ;)

some_girl
January 30th, 2007, 06:31 PM
He's a talent unlike any other. But how often do Phelps or Croker post?

The Fortress
January 30th, 2007, 06:40 PM
He's a talent unlike any other. But how often do Phelps or Croker post?

They're not masters, fin fly lady. :thhbbb:

Now, we do have some other masters world record holders and elite studs posting pretty regularly. Some even giving away their secrets.;)

Me, I swam doubles on Sat. & Sun. Did 10 x 200 fly for old times sake. Did at least 5,000 yards of kicking each day. Lifted weights each day for an hour. Ran a 10K race. Stretched religiously. Ate only nutritious food. My shoulder felt great. Everyone in the world complimented me on my great technique. Even my breaststroke was rocking. I videotaped my new bravura neural imprinting and sent it to my nemesis to freak her out. All is good. I think I'm up for an art contest now. :rofl:

some_girl
January 30th, 2007, 06:48 PM
Hmm. The more I think on this, the more I am torn. Fortess posts a lot and is fast. My nemesis posts a lot and I am killing her in the two true races, the 50 and 100 fly. I think we'll have to commission an in-depth study.

newmastersswimmer
January 30th, 2007, 06:51 PM
Hmm. The more I think on this, the more I am torn. Fortess posts a lot and is fast. My nemesis posts a lot and I am killing her in the two true races, the 50 and 100 fly. I think we'll have to commission an in-depth study.

posted by some girl

I post a lot and I suck...(at swimming that is)...LOL!!

Newmastersswimmer

poolraat
January 30th, 2007, 09:03 PM
Me, I swam doubles on Sat. & Sun. Did 10 x 200 fly for old times sake. Did at least 5,000 yards of kicking each day. Lifted weights each day for an hour. Ran a 10K race. Stretched religiously. Ate only nutritious food. My shoulder felt great. Everyone in the world complimented me on my great technique. Even my breaststroke was rocking. I videotaped my new bravura neural imprinting and sent it to my nemesis to freak her out. All is good. I think I'm up for an art contest now. :rofl:

If there were a contest for creative writing.......:joker:

SolarEnergy
January 30th, 2007, 09:17 PM
deleted... (i didn't want to double post ;-)

SolarEnergy
January 30th, 2007, 10:14 PM
As for the question of whether pulling and kicking can replace weight lifting, I'll mention two things. (1) Wearing a pull buoy, by increasing buoyancy, underloads rather than overloads the upper body. I would like to respectfully disagree.

I think wearing a pull buoy by increasing buoyancy, removes a heavy tax (imposed by the kicking action) leaving much more energy for pulling, thus overloading the muscles involved in pulling. These work harder. With good swimmers most of the time, pull buoy sets (freestyle) should be performed fast. Faster than if the set was swam full stroke.

"Long-distance-per-stroke" (helped by accute hydrodynamic efficiency) at higher than usual stroke rate on fast interval pace are increadibly tough on muscles. It may even be harmful for articulation. When carefully done, they represent a great means for learning to handle smooth long dps at a faster pace, that otherwise couldn't be hold as long if kicking was involved. Bilateral breathing may even be an option even for those who can't perform it at this pace full stroke.

The swimmers actually perform longer sets at race specific pace, allowing them to learn kinetics patterns involved in deliverying more energy through pulling. There's a lot of learning to get there, at near from race specific stroke (especially for mid and long distance swimmers given the two beat kick).

Usually, long fast pull buoy set leads to muscular fatigue. Usually muscular fatigue leads to adaptation.

Allen Stark
January 30th, 2007, 11:08 PM
Wayne McCaully mentioned a great kicking set for breaststroke that I have found really helps me. At the end of my sprint day I finish with 25s all out sprint eggbeater kick. It really helps me with foot speed,power,and lactate tolerance. It also seems easier on the knees than regular breaststroke kick.

The Fortress
January 30th, 2007, 11:40 PM
Hmm. The more I think on this, the more I am torn. Fortess posts a lot and is fast. My nemesis posts a lot and I am killing her in the two true races, the 50 and 100 fly. I think we'll have to commission an in-depth study.

posted by some girl

I post a lot and I suck...(at swimming that is)...LOL!!

Newmastersswimmer


Yeah, Jim, that 2:06 in the 200 fly is really stinking up the joint. I'm amazed you can even show your face on the forum. LOL. It's interesting that math and fly may go together. Muppet. SwimmieAvs is fast too. I wonder who else? Maybe we should commission an empirical in depth study to see who does fly most? Liberal arts vs. math geeks ... I think my baby sister is with me on the liberal arts side ...

Solar Energy:

I see you are busy saving the world on your triathlete forum. Je te manque, mon ami. S'il te plaît revenir et la poste plus.

aquaFeisty
January 31st, 2007, 07:19 AM
Wayne McCaully mentioned a great kicking set for breaststroke that I have found really helps me. At the end of my sprint day I finish with 25s all out sprint eggbeater kick. It really helps me with foot speed,power,and lactate tolerance. It also seems easier on the knees than regular breaststroke kick.

Hi Allen,

How do you do eggbeater kick while moving down a pool? On your back? Stomach? I've only ever done eggbeater vertical, in the deepend. Sounds like a fantastic drill for speed, and if it's easy(ier) on the knees, woohoo!

Very sorry to hear about your shoulder. What a bummer!!! Just think how strong your kick is getting though... when your shoulder comes back, you will power into your streamline and zip down the pool! :)

KaizenSwimmer
January 31st, 2007, 08:03 AM
Wayne McCaully mentioned a great kicking set for breaststroke that I have found really helps me. At the end of my sprint day I finish with 25s all out sprint eggbeater kick.

I learned the same -- or a very similar - exercise from Josef Nagy while co-conducting several days of technique training sessions with him at the Swiss national training center in 2003. If I interpret this correctly, you're referring to fast-alternating one-legged breast kick repeats. I tried it and liked it. But I felt -- and Joe described -- its intent as different from traditional kicking sets. I think of this as a "coordinative and awareness exercise" for fast and facile feet.

Thanks for reminding me. I haven't done it in quite a while and I think our age group swimmers could benefit from it.