KaizenSwimmer

September 28th, 2006, 09:28 AM

I have long recommended that swimmers monitor their stroke counts and use that information to guide decisions about repeat distance, set distance, rest interval, workout duration, speed, etc.

Briefly put, I believe it's beneficial to give some consideration to what is an acceptable level of efficiency. When your stroke count strays much above that you're probably "practicing struggle" and the negative effects on your motor programming probably outweigh any potential benefit to conditioning.

If you agree with this in principle, then it would behoove you to adjust one of the variables mentioned above until your stroke count is again within what you have decided is an acceptable range.

However to use that principle effectively, you'd need to be able to predict a stroke count that's appropriate for your personal dimensions and swimming pattern. This week someone posted a formula on the TI Discussion Forum, based on arm length and the distance of your typical pushoff that allows you to predict your own personal “highly efficient” stoke count for Freestyle. I ran my own numbers through it and found it reflects reality.

For a 25-yard pool: SPL = (L x 12) - (P x 12)/A

For a 25-meter pool: SPL = (L-P)/A

SPL = strokes per length

L = Length of pool (in feet or meters)

P = distance traveled in pushoff before stroking (in feet or meters)

A = Armspan from wrist to wrist (in inches or meters)

I’m 6’-0” tall with a 57-inch wingspan and a 15-foot pushoff. The pool I train in is 75-feet long, so my high efficiency SPL should be 12.6. I.E. When I swim with optimal efficiency I should be able to hold between 12 and 13 strokes in a 25-yard pool. And this is precisely the stroke count I find myself hitting when practicing low speed, high mindfulness swimming.

I allow myself a range of 2-3 SPL above that. Indeed most of my training is based on doing sets with a precise relationship to "N" which is the notation I give to my high efficiency count. N=12, N+1 = 13 and so on.

I've been doing this for about six years and it's brought welcome structure and organization to my training.

My Backstroke SPL is usually about one stroke higher. My Breaststroke SPL is about half my Backstroke count and my Butterfly SPL is half my Freestyle count plus one.

I'd be interested to know what others may learn when they run their personal numbers through the formula.

Briefly put, I believe it's beneficial to give some consideration to what is an acceptable level of efficiency. When your stroke count strays much above that you're probably "practicing struggle" and the negative effects on your motor programming probably outweigh any potential benefit to conditioning.

If you agree with this in principle, then it would behoove you to adjust one of the variables mentioned above until your stroke count is again within what you have decided is an acceptable range.

However to use that principle effectively, you'd need to be able to predict a stroke count that's appropriate for your personal dimensions and swimming pattern. This week someone posted a formula on the TI Discussion Forum, based on arm length and the distance of your typical pushoff that allows you to predict your own personal “highly efficient” stoke count for Freestyle. I ran my own numbers through it and found it reflects reality.

For a 25-yard pool: SPL = (L x 12) - (P x 12)/A

For a 25-meter pool: SPL = (L-P)/A

SPL = strokes per length

L = Length of pool (in feet or meters)

P = distance traveled in pushoff before stroking (in feet or meters)

A = Armspan from wrist to wrist (in inches or meters)

I’m 6’-0” tall with a 57-inch wingspan and a 15-foot pushoff. The pool I train in is 75-feet long, so my high efficiency SPL should be 12.6. I.E. When I swim with optimal efficiency I should be able to hold between 12 and 13 strokes in a 25-yard pool. And this is precisely the stroke count I find myself hitting when practicing low speed, high mindfulness swimming.

I allow myself a range of 2-3 SPL above that. Indeed most of my training is based on doing sets with a precise relationship to "N" which is the notation I give to my high efficiency count. N=12, N+1 = 13 and so on.

I've been doing this for about six years and it's brought welcome structure and organization to my training.

My Backstroke SPL is usually about one stroke higher. My Breaststroke SPL is about half my Backstroke count and my Butterfly SPL is half my Freestyle count plus one.

I'd be interested to know what others may learn when they run their personal numbers through the formula.