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islandsox
December 23rd, 2006, 01:55 PM
I just saw the Fortress post something about Karlyn Pipes-Nielson having designed some new lightweight fins under, I think, the who wants to race which poster thread.

I thought I had read where swim devices were taboo; that it was better to use the entire body to enjoy full-body swimming and that there was little to no benefit to the use of fins (can't remember who wrote that).

Well, I use fins, two kinds; Zoomers, and some big lightweight ones with holes in them. They create great ankle flexibility; much better than sitting in front of the TV stretching them. My backstroke kick all through the 60s, 70s, 80s would not have been great without my kicking with fins. I find that fins help to develop quad and hamstring strength.

I need a new pair for Christmas. Anyone else use fins?

Donna

SwimStud
December 23rd, 2006, 02:09 PM
"We don't need no stinking fins!"

:rofl:

I don't. I guess it's choice.

islandsox
December 23rd, 2006, 02:12 PM
Rich,

I guess I misspoke :rofl:, I should have clarified non-breastrstrokers, after all, where would you put them, on your hands, or maybe your ears so you would look like Rudolph in the water!!! LOL.

islandsox

laineybug
December 23rd, 2006, 02:17 PM
I used them right after I started back to swimming. They improved my strength and helped me with increasing my endurance. The stronger I got and the more I could swim the less I used them. But I can see where they will become addictive. Swimming with fins does feel good. I see some of the "I'm-just-in-the-pool-to-swim-a-few-aps-swimmers" using them 100% of the time." I will still do dolfin kick drills with them.

CreamPuff
December 23rd, 2006, 02:21 PM
No way.
I don't use 'em.
They make me feel heavy and mess up my timing in my freestyle.
Until there's an event that uses fins, I will avoid them.
:dedhorse:

islandsox
December 23rd, 2006, 02:27 PM
Kristina,

Uh-oh, I have to presume from your beating your dead horse that this has been a thread in the past? Oops, didn't know that; oh well, bah-humbug. If someone gives you a pair, can you send them to me? mine are worn out:rofl:

donna

The Fortress
December 23rd, 2006, 02:29 PM
"We don't need no stinking fins!"

:rofl:

Rich:

What the heck are you talking about? I just bought my daughter the new speedo breaststroke fins for xmas!!!


Kristina: You might change your mind if you ever get swimmers shoulder.:thhbbb:


Warren/Gary Hall: Fins are great for explosive speed. Love that post!!

And I want a monofin. I am told they are fabulous.
Here's what I said about them on the "Monofin" thread:

My understanding of the monofin is that it can improve streamlines, body alignment, underwater dolphin kick technique, kicking efficiency, and that they provide a good core workout. Monofins are particularly beneficial in short course as opposed to long course where turns take on a heightened role. I have heard that the finis "shooter" monofins are very good for encouraging fast feet and high cyle rate as opposed to just long slow dolphin kicks. When you're underwater, you want to kick fast.

Monofins can be used in all 4 strokes. Freestyle, especially for the turns. Backstroke for the 15 meters you get underwater on the start and turns. Fly to help with the recovery and undulation and SDKs. (You will see Misty Hyman training with the on the Go Swim fly video.) And breast for rapid recovery and fluidity.

Monofins are also useful for race pace work. But you should not use them entirely in lieu of kicking. You've got to kick fast without them too, unless you're completely TI-ing, then you might not be doing any kick sets.

I'm sure someone will disagree, but I'd like to try them.

Warren
December 23rd, 2006, 02:34 PM
fins are great. They improve strength and ankle flexibility.

SwimStud
December 23rd, 2006, 02:47 PM
OK Maybe I should rephrase my view. I don't use them because right now I am only doing breast and trying to get freestyle to work.

I was encouraged to get fins to "learn" fly. This approach is not good for me.
It will teach me to leanr to swim with an aid and then I will have to climb another hurdle when the time comes to dispense with them.

Would I use fins on a stroke that I am decent at in order to develop strength and other aspects. Possibly.

Donna...you know, I have my fins on in the hot-tub...you never know when you might want to go snorkelling!:rofl:

OMG did I just really type that lol

islandsox
December 23rd, 2006, 04:02 PM
Rich,

After that hot tub comment, you need to move your meter to Clark Griswold; that's something he would have said :rofl:

Donna

Caped Crusader
December 23rd, 2006, 04:22 PM
I have been told by the ladies that fins are very good for enhancing the fastskin look and their summertime beach appearance. Something about the posterior area being improved. I do not use them myself, as I am generally paddling in the OW. But I do believe and have read that fins have some uses. They can help with SDKs, strengthen and increase ankle flexibility, help with explosive speed and give the shoulders a break if needed. Most USS kids seem to use them for certain sets and drills.

Allen Stark
December 23rd, 2006, 04:45 PM
I use fins a lot. After swimming breaststroke for so long I have to limit how much full stroke breaststroke I do or my knees hurt.The solution,lots of breaststroke pull,dolphin kick with fins. I use fairly big fins as the smaller ones mess up my timing. Fortress I haven't used the breaststroke fins,are they hard on the knees?

The Fortress
December 23rd, 2006, 05:01 PM
I use fins a lot. After swimming breaststroke for so long I have to limit how much full stroke breaststroke I do or my knees hurt.The solution,lots of breaststroke pull,dolphin kick with fins. I use fairly big fins as the smaller ones mess up my timing. Fortress I haven't used the breaststroke fins,are they hard on the knees?

Allen:

I don't know yet. The only masters breaststroker I know, Wally Dicks, uses them sometimes, but of course his knees area a mess at the moment from so many years of swimming breast. I've never tried them. When my "rude" daughter does, I'll ask her (and her coaches). But I believe they were the ones who encouraged her to get some. I've been working on that breaststroke pull with dolphin kick and big fins that Kristina told me to do. I kinda like it. I'll let you know the results of the breaststroke fins once she tries them.

KaizenSwimmer
December 23rd, 2006, 05:43 PM
Until there's an event that uses fins, I will avoid them.

It won't surprise most of you to learn this is more or less my philosophy... but with some exceptions.

I think there's a good deal of wishful thinking -- none supported by a single study -- in using fins, as is often true with most other swim aids.

I've seen a fair number of swimmers and triathletes use fins to tag along in the 1:30-per-100 lane, when their unshod abilities place them in the 1:45 lane. They believe they're somehow getting better training. But as soon as they shed the fins, they're no faster than previously. Wearing fins to be faster is like wearing platform shoes to be taller.

Many teams and swimmers don fins for kickboard training sets, thinking that increases the value of kick sets. I think it mainly trains you for races that may involve pushing a kickboard down the pool while wearing fins. Until they offer such races...well, what Kristina said.

The potential negative of using fins is you usually end up emphasizing power-kicking rather than integrating the kick and "tuning" it to your overall stroke. Just another manifestation of the traditional training emphasis on "building the engine" (more miles, work, power) rather than "reshaping the vessel" and maximizing economy.

I've used fins in coaching with positive outcomes in a few instances:
1) for helping those with a non-propulsive kick do drills that may be more kick-dependent, allowing them to control effort, maintain flow and minimize distraction so they can concentrate on more precise movements.
2) teaching SDK to a few swimmers who had poor kinesthetic awareness. I had them do some underwater 25s counting dolphins, trying to reduce the number required to complete 25. When they reached a reasonable level of efficiency, I began to time them and turned it into a swim golf exercise -- seconds + # of dolphins = score.
3) very infrequently I've had swimmers practice various streamline positions with a strong fin-aided kick, using the extra speed to heighten their awareness of drag-increasing or -decreasing positions.

chaos
December 23rd, 2006, 06:41 PM
i like doing "shooters" with a monofin, but i never do any swimming (w/arms) with it. i don't like any device that will make me feel slower when removed.
and shooters with surgical tubing....good wholesome family fun.

islandsox
December 23rd, 2006, 07:01 PM
Terry,

I am just surprised that you would not endorse the use of something that would isolate a muscle group so that it could be taxed thus improving strength. Kicking with fins with increased drag due to body position and no aid of the upper body isolates muscle groups. It would be similar to swimmers working out in a weight room for added strength, the strength that full-body swimming won't give them.

I don't swim with fins to "keep up"; I use them to isolate my legs so my legs are doing most of the work against the forces of water. And when I remove the fins, sure, it is weird for 100 yards or so, but my legs have gotten a much better workout than if I hadn't used them. It doesn't take much yardage after removing them to get back in the groove. Adding strength to a swimmer's body should be a very good thing.

I'd like to know how you think that a swimmer who only swims and does nothing to aid his/her strength level would be better off. Unless you have a pool that has a 3-knot current which would be impossible for any swimmer to swim in.

Do you think strength is important for swimming? or am I old school here.

Donna

CreamPuff
December 23rd, 2006, 08:16 PM
Kristina,

Uh-oh, I have to presume from your beating your dead horse that this has been a thread in the past? Oops, didn't know that; oh well, bah-humbug. If someone gives you a pair, can you send them to me? mine are worn out:rofl:

donna

Hi Donna,

Sorry for any confusion on my dead horse. Let me explain.
(And, I think you ask a great question/ bring up an interesting topic with the fin thing.)

1. I like the dead horse symbol. I'm trying to use it more. However, I see that it is confusing when I use it randomly.

2. I used the symbol for this reason - Only my teammates and coach know this but I used the "beating a dead horse symbol" b/c every time coach says we've got a set w/ fins, I will be the only swimmer to always, always complain (and I'll usually swim the set w/out fins if at all possible.)

So basically, everyone on the team knows I hate fins.
Kristina = Fin Hater/ Fins Stink/ Icky Fins/ Fins Dead Weight :dedhorse: :dedhorse:

(I think I hate them b/c my age group team never used them so I never learned how to swim efficiently w/ them.)

And as for isolating muscle groups for building strength - I like weights and kicking (no fins) w/ and w/out a board. BUT, I am a STINKY kicker, so take this with a grain of salt!:2cents:

Great topic though Donna!

fanstone
December 23rd, 2006, 10:06 PM
When swimming without my coach (twice weekly) I use fins. I use them to keep my rear end higher as I hardly kick. With or without fins, unless I am doing a 50 meter freestyle race, I just pull ahead with my forearms and the legs keep me balanced. Or doing fast freestyle intervals. I also use them to feel my legs kicking on my side or doing backstroke drills. It seems this drill would strenghen my legs. Sometimes I use them to feel powerfull when swimming butterfly or when doing a dolphin like movement beneath the surface. I use Speedo fins, the smaller ones. If I am snorkeling I use the "normal" fins, so as to be able to come back from the snorkeling place without drowning (speedo fins won't help you much in treading water). I also have cheap fins to lend to cheap friends who haven't yet bought their own.

Fortress: I see your are back in Virginia (well, your avatar is back), so here is the connection: my mother lived in Richmond for a couple of years back in 1942-44, going to some college, after finishing Belhaven in Jackson, Ms. I also have been to and liked an outlet up there, the Potomac Mills place, somewhere in northern Virginia.

Donna: I misbehaved myself and did a google search on you. I am a alien ignoramous from Brazil, with no idea of the celebrities I meet here. You once held several swimming backstroke records and other tidbits. You are also going to swim from somewhere to another place (I guess it would be from the island to the mainland?) when you turn 60 (oops, it is there on the internet).

Take care all, billy fanstone

The Fortress
December 24th, 2006, 12:54 AM
It won't surprise most of you to learn this is more or less my philosophy... but with some exceptions.

I think there's a good deal of wishful thinking -- none supported by a single study -- in using fins, as is often true with most other swim aids.

I've seen a fair number of swimmers and triathletes use fins to tag along in the 1:30-per-100 lane, when their unshod abilities place them in the 1:45 lane. They believe they're somehow getting better training. But as soon as they shed the fins, they're no faster than previously. Wearing fins to be faster is like wearing platform shoes to be taller.

Many teams and swimmers don fins for kickboard training sets, thinking that increases the value of kick sets. I think it mainly trains you for races that may involve pushing a kickboard down the pool while wearing fins. Until they offer such races...well, what Kristina said.

The potential negative of using fins is you usually end up emphasizing power-kicking rather than integrating the kick and "tuning" it to your overall stroke. Just another manifestation of the traditional training emphasis on "building the engine" (more miles, work, power) rather than "reshaping the vessel" and maximizing economy.

I've used fins in coaching with positive outcomes in a few instances:
1) for helping those with a non-propulsive kick do drills that may be more kick-dependent, allowing them to control effort, maintain flow and minimize distraction so they can concentrate on more precise movements.
2) teaching SDK to a few swimmers who had poor kinesthetic awareness. I had them do some underwater 25s counting dolphins, trying to reduce the number required to complete 25. When they reached a reasonable level of efficiency, I began to time them and turned it into a swim golf exercise -- seconds + # of dolphins = score.
3) very infrequently I've had swimmers practice various streamline positions with a strong fin-aided kick, using the extra speed to heighten their awareness of drag-increasing or -decreasing positions.


I know you are expecting me to respond, so I couldn't possibly disappoint you. :rofl: :hug: Remember Dartmouth has a great pool and the Mets and Yankees suck.

First, as you know, I use no swim aids except fins. So I am very TI that way. I do not kick with fins either. I don't see how that improves kicking. (Although I do believe that fins help build leg strength, which in turn can help kicking.) I do sometimes use fins for SDKs or underwater SDK 25s. I may have to go purchase that shooter monofin that my daughter wants and your teammate uses. Since I'm limited with swimming aids, I might as well have some bloody fun. What's the downside of fun? I also believe monofin racing is a actual sport in other countries.

Second, fins have a beneficial place for certain groups of the populace with shoulder or knee rehab/injury issues, as is the case with Allen and myself. Fins are affirmatively good for taking the load off sore downtrodden shoulders and help you carry on with some restorative swimming instead of simply becoming a runner or couch potato. If you have sore/problem shoulders, fins can also help you swim long sets (like long free or fly for me) that would normally send me to the ice bag and ibuprofen, which I like to avoid if possible. I want to have a :drink: and not damage my liver and kidneys by overdosing on NSAIDs afterward.

Third, I never use fins to lane jump to a faster lane. Who cares what lane you're in? I've never understood that. Is it a macho thing? Swim in the lane that best suits your abilities and stroke preference with or without fins. Sometimes, I want to swim back instead of free during free sets, so I'll adjust my lane accordingly. And sometimes (very seldomly unfortunately) at my practices, we actually have sprint vs. distance workouts, so I'm not in the same lane as those distance guys. But it's not very nice to say alleged lane jumpers and tris have "unshod" abilities. Some tris are quite swift in the water. Just like some fin users are swift once the fins come off. Plus, I always wear high heels or wedged boots to be taller. I'd rather much be taller than 5'4". So I'm all for height enhancing shoe devices. Except when I'm being Allen Stark's twin on our 100 IM. :rofl: Then I'll stay short.

Fourth, I do believe you are correct in saying that excessive fin use can cause your kick to be insufficiently integrated with your stroke. But I believe that applies somewhat more to the longer distances that you yourself are doing. It has less applicability to sprinting, which is what I'm doing. (Not that I don't wish I could do the 200 fly. But I think that is left in my youth unless my shoulders undergo a miraculous tranformation after I go to Lourdes.) Power kicking is also important for sprinting. No sprinter is using a 2 beat kick. So if you have stronger legs from finning, it might help sprinting. It might help your starts and turns as well. My starts have been much more peachy these days. Plus, I do believe that fins are good for working on exposive speed. Donna tells me that I am low in the water in backstroke, an obvious TI influence. But I think most sprinters are a little higher. I'm higher in my 50s and I have a higher SR there too.

Fifth, uh, is there a fifth? I train a lot with fins. When I take them off, I definitely can feel that negative deflating effect. But I do not feel it particularly when I go to a meet and swim 50s and 100s. So because of my shoulder, I train a lot with fins. But I go to meets and beat a lot of folks who may not be training with fins. :thhbbb: (Although we must all agree, musn't we, that Karlyn Pipes-Nielsen, a fin user, is unbelievably fast and accomplished. I also note that I saw a lot of fins in the pre-meet warm ups at nationals last May.) So, isn't it then a good compromise for me and others with shoulder issues to use fins? Now, it may keep me out of the 500 free, but I don't want to swim that thing anyway. Never have, never will. Whoops, swam one in a aquathlon once, but that doesn't count. Not a swim meet. And I think I gotcha in the 50 fly/back/free ;) just like you've got me in the 200 butterfrog and any distance over 200. So cannot we peacefully co-exist, you with your pain free recovered acute injury and me with my more chronic injury?

So, in sum, there are some definable great uses for fins. Better to confine fin use to specific uses. Better not to get addicted and use them all the time. But definitely better to use them than not swim at all.

Kristina:

You're lucky to be on a team with fin lovers. I'm on a old school team of fin haters. No one likes my fins, except a fellow runner with shoulder issues. :rofl: When we do fin sets, everyone looks at me and says "now the playing field is even." But I can still beat them underwater. Which leads me to a theory that us short folks might like fins more because it makes us "swim tall" and we go even faster underwater. I don't think my baby sister agrees with me on this, but I have noticed it. Taller folks are much more dismissive of fins, just in my personal experience of course. ;) Terry, you are much taller than me.

KaizenSwimmer
December 24th, 2006, 06:54 AM
I am just surprised that you would not endorse the use of something that would isolate a muscle group so that it could be taxed thus improving strength. <snip> but my legs have gotten a much better workout <snip> Adding strength to a swimmer's body should be a very good thing.
<snip>
Do you think strength is important for swimming? or am I old school here.


Donna
You might have missed a number of posts I made some months back on a thread I began about kicking sets.

The principle of "isolating muscles to strengthen them" is one of those sacred cows of swimming I referred to in the infamous swimming theories thread, that I do not believe stand up to greater scrutiny.

One of the central principles of weight-lifting and strength development is that hypertrophy (increased size of a muscle) contributes far less to increases in functional strength in a weightlifing program than does nervous system adaptation to the task that promotes better integration of multiple muscle groups.

I spent 25 or 30 years trying to strengthen what was always an ineffectual kick with all the traditional means. What did I get for that? Leg muscles that were better adapted to those tasks (i.e. I used to be able to kick a pretty mean 50 with a board or fins) but never contributed anything -- except fatigue -- to my swimming.

In my late 40s I finally realized all the "muscle isolation" was getting me nowhere (I've always been a slow learner) and decided to give its opposite, "muscle-integration," a try. Ever since, my kick has improved literally every year. Not the kick I might have while using a kickboard or fins -- that's now ineffectual from disuse. The kick I employ when swimming is now stunningly better.

Though I've been working on integration continually for 8 or 10 years I'm still not completely satisfied, so I continue to work on it with focal points. But I can only do that with whole-stroke swimming. Nothing promotes skill integration as much as good 'ol whole stroke.

I related to Dave Barra the other day that when I did my 3000 Postal swim on Nov 13, I focused the entire time on synchronizing left leg drive with a "light, patient" right hand catch and vice versa. Because that focus created steadily keener awareness I descended all six 500s in that swim. Not because I was trying to swim them faster, but because the operation of several muscle groups became steadily more harmonized throughout that swim.

I apply the same principle in all sets and races with the result that I can outsplit virtually anyone in my speed/peer group -- Bruce Gianniny being one exception.

Do I believe in strength for swimming? As a middle-aged person I believe in strength for living which in turn has a beneficial effect on my swimming. I do dryland "instability" exercise several times a week - mostly stuff with a balance ball, some dumbbells and a medicine ball. I like instability exercise (rather than conventional weightlifting) because it's particularly good at promoting integration of core and stabilizer muscles with prime mover muscles. I do no "muscle isolation" in my dryland training because muscles never work in isolation in life.

You may have seen several posts here referring to the negative correlation between raw power and swimming. E.G. both Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin are the weakest members of their teams and the research staff at USA Swimming has noted that elite swimmers generally produce less "stroking power" than most of their slower peers. Why? Because they're so economical that they don't need power to swim fast. Thus their muscles get less of a "workout" when training or racing than do their less-efficient peers, which leads to unimpressive results on the conventional measures of strength. And by the way this has been shown to be true in all manner of skill-centric sports. The best skiers for instance are less muscled than middling skiers on the world cup circuit. The less gifted skiers develop quite a bit of strength by using muscle to recover from countless small miscues at high speed The most gifted skiers are usually so graceful and efficient they need -- and therefore develop -- less muscle. And swimming, as a skill performed in an environment that limits our ability to use power (no stability, no real traction), ought to reward "accurate and effective" application of power even more than "maximum" application.

Is there an exception? There's always an exception. In swimming the noteworthy exception is short-course sprinting, which is more of a starting and turning race than a swimming race. The Auburn Univ sprint group, for instance, does sets in which they try to max power over short distance repeats by swimming at ultra-high speed (i.e. maximizing resistance) with both paddles and fins. I think those sets are instrumental in their being able to average 18+ (men) and 21-plus(women) in the 200 scy Free Relay. But in races that are over in a fraction of a minute, the massive fatigue produced by massive power demands is minimized as a factor. As soon as you move that 200 FR to a LC pool you're much more rewarded for efficiency.

The recommendations I post here aren't for athletes like that. They're for Masters swimmers whose priorities are health and fitness -- and pleasure as well. I've always found the mental stimulus of integration training to be far more enjoyable than power training in the pool.

I should also acknowledge Leslie's mention of the value of fins to underload a rehabilitating shoulder. After my shoulder surgery, I did exactly that myself. After several months of drills, as I returned gradually to whole-stroke, I swam with fins and a 6-beat for several weeks, to be able to do the stroking movements in a minimally-loaded state, gradually reducing the kick over that time, to return to normal loads on my shoulder.

And there might be some value in that kind of swimming for those swimming to lose weight or fat. Lower body muscles metabolize fat for fuel while upper body muscles tend to metabolize glycogen -- because for eons our primary means of locomotion was walking/running so the legs required a higher-endurance fuel source, while the arms were used in shorter more intense bursts.

This is why chickens, which spend their days walking around the barnyard, have dark meat in legs and thighs. While game birds, which migrate by air, have dark meat in breast and wings. Dark meat is "slow twitch" and metabolizes fat. Light meat is "fast twitch" and metabolizes sugar. So if you want to metabolize more fat in training, it might help to swim at low effort levels with a light pull and a slight overkick and fins. Not proven, but inferred.

islandsox
December 24th, 2006, 07:53 AM
Terry,

Now that was a thorough reply that explained many facets. Thank you a bunch. And I now know and realize your position.

The Phelps/Coughlin connection was an interesting one about their efficiency, but low in the muscle strength area. Maybe this is part of the reason that although I swim many, many miles and hours on end, I do not burn as much fat as another; I swim efficiently thereby conserving energy along the way.

The main reason I chose to lift weights (pulley-bricks my dad made in our garage) back in the early 60s was this: I was seeded 32nd in the USA in the 100 yard back and after using his homemade weights, I went to the Nationals at Kerr-McGee in Oklahoma and placed 2nd. I shaved something like 9 seconds off my 100 in a short amount of time. The only thing I had done differently was I added upper body weight lifting prior to that. Just for fun I will add I broke a finger on the last turn--yes, that's when we had to touch the wall and do that spin turn. My dad said I was in 1st place right before that happened, but I don't even remember it at the time.

But I truly do think, for me, that small fins used for my backstroke kicking, not swimming, developed my quad and hamstring strength. I can, to this day, "feel" the load on the down kick portion when using them. And maybe because I was using them specific to what I swam, they helped add strength.

So for my purpose, only backstroke, I feel they are a necessary part of my training. I don't use them now for freestyle since I am a distance free-er with a 2 beat kick; I prefer body balance at all times focusing on stroke. But when I get in and decide to backstroke and go down memory lane, I use them.

Cheers,
Donna

The Fortress
December 24th, 2006, 09:42 AM
Do I believe in strength for swimming? As a middle-aged person I believe in strength for living which in turn has a beneficial effect on my swimming. I do dryland "instability" exercise several times a week - mostly stuff with a balance ball, some dumbbells and a medicine ball. I like instability exercise (rather than conventional weightlifting) because it's particularly good at promoting integration of core and stabilizer muscles with prime mover muscles. I do no "muscle isolation" in my dryland training because muscles never work in isolation in life.

Is there an exception? There's always an exception. In swimming the noteworthy exception is short-course sprinting, which is more of a starting and turning race than a swimming race. The Auburn Univ sprint group, for instance, does sets in which they try to max power over short distance repeats by swimming at ultra-high speed (i.e. maximizing resistance) with both paddles and fins. I think those sets are instrumental in their being able to average 18+ (men) and 21-plus(women) in the 200 scy Free Relay. But in races that are over in a fraction of a minute, the massive fatigue produced by massive power demands is minimized as a factor. As soon as you move that 200 FR to a LC pool you're much more rewarded for efficiency.


Terry:

I like bosus and stability balls too. We have a lot in common here except the Mets and preferred swim stroke and distance ...

I just want to point out that some of us "fast twitch" chickens don't like it all that much when sprinting is called a "start and turn sport" rather than part of the sport of "swimming." To be sure, one must be expert at the starts and turns to swim good 50s, although my turns are sub-par and I manage to survive. But it is still "swimming." Sprinters still spend plenty of face time in the water training and swimming. They just train somewhat differently and swim one of the myriad different races that are available in the sport of "swimming." So they are not just "turners." You know that my personal perference, despite my short stature, is for LC sprints. And personally, not to mock my kind, but I'd rather be decent at some longers events too. But sprinters are still participating in the sport of "swimming." Last I checked, I was registered with US Masters "Swimming" and "swimming" in USMS meets. I wasn't going to "start and turn" meets, although I am a stroke and turn judge. Even Donna has come around and admitted the 50 back is now an "accomplishment." ;)

I would also like to agreed with Caped that fins are good for the glutes.

The Fortress
December 24th, 2006, 09:52 AM
Fortress: I see your are back in Virginia (well, your avatar is back), so here is the connection: my mother lived in Richmond for a couple of years back in 1942-44, going to some college, after finishing Belhaven in Jackson, Ms. I also have been to and liked an outlet up there, the Potomac Mills place, somewhere in northern Virginia.

Donna: I misbehaved myself and did a google search on you. I am a alien ignoramous from Brazil, with no idea of the celebrities I meet here. You once held several swimming backstroke records and other tidbits. You are also going to swim from somewhere to another place (I guess it would be from the island to the mainland?) when you turn 60 (oops, it is there on the internet).Take care all, billy fanstone

Billy:

Richmond is in the "southern" part of Virginia. There is a great divide in the state of Virginia. There was recently an article in the Washington Post entitled "So close, yet so far apart." The fault lines run deep. I have been to that Potomac Mills place, but it requires one to get on I95, which is usually to be avoided at all costs. I'm right here in the Tysons area stuck in traffic. Hey, I've been to Brazil many years ago. Quite a great place.

Donna is a true stud.

islandsox
December 24th, 2006, 11:34 AM
Fanstone,

Ah, yes, the ole Goggle searchie thing. Because I now live in the western Caribbean, I can no longer participate in swim meets and I miss the competition.

So, since I swim in the ocean lots here, and I took a look at the island of Utila just sitting over there, my lightbulb went on. Why not give it the ole college try the year I turn 60?

Gee, should I fin my way over there or not fin my way over there? I realize no record can truly be set if I swim with "devices", but I am doing it for Alzheimer's to raise money and do it for myself. Entering the last 1/4 of my life (probably), so I wanted to do something big for me.

Donna

Caped Crusader
December 24th, 2006, 12:03 PM
The principle of "isolating muscles to strengthen them" is one of those sacred cows of swimming I referred to in the infamous swimming theories thread, that I do not believe stand up to greater scrutiny.

I spent 25 or 30 years trying to strengthen what was always an ineffectual kick with all the traditional means.

I related to Dave Barra the other day that when I did my 3000 Postal swim on Nov 13, I focused the entire time on synchronizing left leg drive with a "light, patient" right hand catch and vice versa. Because that focus created steadily keener awareness I descended all six 500s in that swim.

Do I believe in strength for swimming? As a middle-aged person I believe in strength for living which in turn has a beneficial effect on my swimming.


Weight lifting works fine for me and I use it for both swimming and living. Maybe it works for some and not others like some of those other "sacred cows." Now I would like to improve that technique that I bolded above. I find it difficult, but I know people who say it gives them great cruiser speed.

Allen Stark
December 24th, 2006, 12:57 PM
I think intellegent.stroke specific weight lifting will definitrly help at distances of 200 and below even LCM. I doubt Terry is disagreeing with that. Yes neural-muscle integration is important,but muscle is definitely part of that equation. Terry,I'm afraid your dark meat/light meat analogy is overly simplistic and can lead to an inferance I believe to be inaccurate. It is my understanding that there are 3 main muscle fiber types(with sub-types) Fast twitch,Slow twitch,and an intermediate type that can become more fast twitch or slow depending on training. All fibers metabolise carbohydrates and fat. Fat gives more energy per gram,but takes more oxygen per gram. When there is plenty of oxygen fat metabolism predominates. Speed up so that there is not enough oxygen available at the muscle to burn fat and carbohydrate metabolism predominates.Slow twitch fibers have a better blood supply and twitch slower so they will change to predominantly carb metabolism later. Long slow swims will burn more fat during the swim,but recovery will be quick. Fast swimming will burn more calories is the swim and in the recovery and the fat burned in total will be greater.

thewookiee
December 24th, 2006, 01:26 PM
Billy:

Richmond is in the "southern" part of Virginia. There is a great divide in the state of Virginia. There was recently an article in the Washington Post entitled "So close, yet so far apart." The fault lines run deep. I have been to that Potomac Mills place, but it requires one to get on I95, which is usually to be avoided at all costs. I'm right here in the Tysons area stuck in traffic. Hey, I've been to Brazil many years ago. Quite a great place.

.
\

Fortress,

That is soo true. When I lived in DC, I hated it when teammates would ask me to take them to Potomac Mills. Besides having to deal with I95, parking at PM was also a pain. But, as a college swimmer with no job, when they offered to pay for gas and food, it was too good to refuse.
Where do you swim masters? I swam masters in the Tyson's Corner area right after college, the pool we used was right off of Dolly Madison.

John

KaizenSwimmer
December 24th, 2006, 01:57 PM
I just want to point out that some of us "fast twitch" chickens don't like it all that much when sprinting is called a "start and turn sport" rather than part of the sport of "swimming."

You've taken a reference that was highly specific -- to NCAA finals-level SCY sprinting -- and broadened it to all of sprinting. Indeed, in that same post I took pains to note that this characterization would not apply to the same event swum in a LCM pool. As well it would not apply to those who don't have the kind of physical development one sees in those Div I sprinters.

And I also had an experience like the one Donna cited in my freshman year of college. I'd never lifted weights. I began lifting weights. I saw an immediate payback in performance. My point wasn't that strength gains play no role in performance. It was that the "build the engine" tendencies of mainstream training practices result in devoting an awful lot of training time in activities intended to "isolate muscles" and not much on activities that integrate them.

KaizenSwimmer
December 24th, 2006, 02:04 PM
Terry,I'm afraid your dark meat/light meat analogy is overly simplistic and can lead to an inferance I believe to be inaccurate.

Thanks for contributing better info. I wasn't intending that to be taken as serious science but as an engaging way of suggesting a fairly broad principle.
Another unscientific illustration:
Runners exercise the legs most heavily. They're usually not hungry after exercising - perhaps because they tend to metabolize more fat?
Swimmers exercise the upper body to a far greater degree. They tend to be ravenous after a workout - perhaps because they're sugar-depleted more than runners?

And you're right that I was not suggesting that weight training is of no value. My aim is to stimulate more critical thinking on things that are widely accepted but ill-supported.

The Fortress
December 24th, 2006, 04:46 PM
Terry:

I was merely objecting, and not very strenuously, on a general definitional level to calling sprinting a "start and turn" sport instead of part of the sport of "swimming." A lot of distance folks say this about sprinters, and it gets a little tiresome, that's all. I'm sure you understand the tiresome point.

So I don't think I misread or misinterpreted your post. Maybe you did mine. Or maybe we missed each other's points. I just quoted your description of sprinting and noted that swimming includes sprinting. I wasn't attempting anything more in depth. As you noted, you then proceeded to mention your target audience - - health and fitness swimmers. But I wasn't really refering to them at all. I was just making the very minor and narrow point that sprinters are swimmers too --whether they are NCAA Div I or age group sprinters or USMS sprinters. Personally, I enjoy the power training as much as integration training. Everyone finds "pleasure" in swimming in different ways. Integration training isn't per se more pleasurable; it depends on your own perspective and preference. Also, I know many sprinters who train extremely hard. Others who grow up and take to the open water, etc.

Us poor sprinters just take it on the chin a lot. But as a former distance runner, I never denigrated the sprinters I saw at masters running events. Some of them were unbelievable. Not to say I don't enjoy watching longer races and triathlons more...

But it's good to know that I'm supposed to be using fins when I'm sprint training.

poolraat
December 24th, 2006, 04:49 PM
Runners exercise the legs most heavily. They're usually not hungry after exercising - perhaps because they tend to metabolize more fat?
Swimmers exercise the upper body to a far greater degree. They tend to be ravenous after a workout - perhaps because they're sugar-depleted more than runners?


Interesting. When I was a runner I was not hungry right after a workout, but within an hour I was ravenous. The same is true now, after I swim. Eating immediately after running/swimming results in an upset stomach. After drinking water (rehydrating) and waiting 30 min. to an hour I am very hungry.

islandsox
December 24th, 2006, 05:14 PM
This thread is certainly moving right along. Terry, your comment below is rather interesting:

"The principle of "isolating muscles to strengthen them" is one of those sacred cows of swimming I referred to in the infamous swimming theories thread, that I do not believe stand up to greater scrutiny."

What I find interesting about it is most people who are stronger just perform better and this has been proven over the years. I am talking about athletes in general. I cannot think of one athlete that I knew in the past from Doug Russell to Don Schollander to Jenny Thompson who did not truly believe they were improving their overall muscular strength; muscular strength that could aid them in swimming even faster given they had perfected their strokes. Power and efficient swimming is the cream on the cake. So, even though most of us are swimmers who compete and have families, or people who just want to improve their fitness level, I would have a little difficulty if my coach did not endorse weight bearing training to better my sport. As well as the use of fins on kicking sets.

I think a coach/sports educator should present all the options to his/her students and let them research it, talk to their doctors, talk to others, and choose. But if an athlete is not given that info, their choices are limited.

I know that spending years kicking backstroke, arms over head, hands clapsed together with fins on my feet, contributed to my thigh power. And in backstroke, one has to have a kick.

So, if you honestly feel that mainstream has been wrong about weight training for adding swimming power, or that fins provide no use, that is your obvious right.

And sometimes, when something does not work for us (me, or you), we have a tendency to not advocate it. But there is always that possibility that it may help others. And now we have Karlyn Pipes-Nielson coming out with a new set of very lightweight fins to help swimmers. And I simply cannot make the statement that she is doing it for monetary reasons; she believes in them, and that gal has had a fantastic swimming career.

I didn't "buy" into mainstream, it just worked for me.

Donna

Caped Crusader
December 24th, 2006, 05:33 PM
Y"build the engine" tendencies of mainstream training practices result in devoting an awful lot of training time in activities intended to "isolate muscles" and not much on activities that integrate them.

Why is "build the engines" necessarily associated with muscle isolation activities? Doesn't it just mean cardiovascular work? And can't swimmers both "build their engine" and do integration-type training? Or are they mutually exclusively? Doesn't seem like they should be.

KaizenSwimmer
December 24th, 2006, 09:42 PM
I was merely objecting, and not very strenuously, on a general definitional level to calling sprinting a "start and turn" sport.

And I was clarifying that I didn't call sprinting a start and turn sport. I referred to a very narrow group of athletes -- totaling a few dozen at most -- as participating in what is essentially a start-and-turn event, a description with which their own coaches agree.

KaizenSwimmer
December 24th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Why is "build the engines" necessarily associated with muscle isolation activities?

In referring to the "build the engine" paradigm of swim training I'm referring to a distinction defined by Bill Boomer when I first met him. He said that mainstream swim coaching seemed most focused on "building a swimmer's engine." More yards. Harder yards. Weight training. Boards and buoys and paddles. All the core content of swim training is directed at "building the swimmer's engine." When Boomer came on the scene, streamlining (other than on pushoffs) was very much relegated to secondary attention.

Boomer, coming into the sport with a beginner's mind -- the first meet he ever coached was the first he ever saw -- and a strong background in movement science, was not wed to the belief systems of most coaches, who had come out of programs where engine building was emphasized. Watching swimmers he felt that, as in nautical and aeronautical engineering, vessel shaping ought to be given more prominence -- and at the very least equal emphasis. TI was strongly influenced by that from the start, and nothing I've seen in the 18 years since I first met Boomer has changed my mind.

If you notice, most of the debates that arise on this Forum over things I post have to do with this basic dichotomy: Is vessel-shaping or engine-building the more important aim of training? The principle of "isolating muscles to strengthen them" is one of the manifestations of engine-building training theory.

Muscle integration is clearly an engine building action, but -- like vessel-shaping -- seldom gets much attention in the hormonally-charged training philosophies that still predominate.

The Fortress
December 25th, 2006, 03:45 PM
i like doing "shooters" with a monofin, but i never do any swimming (w/arms) with it.

Dave:

I just got one from hubby for xmas. So what exactly are you doing with yours? Besides drinking shooters, I mean. Underwater SDKs?

Terry:

Well, that's good. I could have sworn you said that "short course sprinting" was a "start and turn race." I thought I was doing more in practice and meets than starts and turns. Everyone else seems to think I'm a swimmer. Maybe I'm really just a sprinter-runner who occasionally gets in the pool.

islandsox
December 25th, 2006, 07:28 PM
Fortress:

So you got a big fin for Christmas; I'm jealous. I want you to know that I think you are swimmer because when people make the USMS Top Ten like you have, stats say so. I just think that some here, and they don't mean to, inflame people with outrageous comments sometimes that are meant to be more geared to a general population but can come out negative all the same.

I have been super-gluing my red Zoomers for over a decade now, I think I need to order a new pair.

I am proud to be a Finner because they have worked for me in my quest to develop a better kick.

Donna

The Fortress
December 25th, 2006, 08:26 PM
I am proud to be a Finner because they have worked for me in my quest to develop a better kick.Donna

Aw, thanks Donna. :smooch: I knew people were gonna start tracking me down ...

But all hubby cares about are the abs and the glutes. He agrees with that GoodSmith fellow apparently. :rofl:

I was swimming with my fins at my health club on xmas eve next to a tri fellow I used to see at the little league field. He said "you must be a swimmer" as we were chatting during a break. So I guess I am.

Caped Crusader
December 25th, 2006, 09:09 PM
I was swimming with my fins at my health club on xmas eve next to a tri fellow I used to see at the little league field. He said "you must be a swimmer" as we were chatting during a break. So I guess I am.

I bet that tri guy was a swimmer too. Everyone who is regularly swimming for either fitness or competition in either the pool or the open water would seem to qualify as a "swimmer." Doesn't matter what distance they're doing. Sprinting or doing Gull workouts. Although OW is best.:thhbbb:


Terry:

What if you had a weak efficient swimmer and a strong efficient swimmer. Assume their efficiency is equal. Wouldn't the strong one be faster than the weak one in non-sprint events as well? (Assume they're of equal size in every respect as well, so that physical factors don't play a role in the analysis.)

I don't know anything about Boomer. But I have chatted briefly with one of the head coaches on my kids' team. He purports to be "building the engine" to get them ready for college. (I personally don't care if my kids swim in college. I would just like them to get an education. Although I think athletics are good for discipline and efficiency in school work.) But I don't see them using swimming devices much. They do some drylands for core strenth and scapular stabilizing. He doesn't focus on weight lifting virutually at all except for his most senior swimmers. So how is this bad? It sounds like something reasonablely close to TI except they're doing some yardage. Can you swim a decent 400 IM ot 1650 without yardage? I don't believe the "effortless" stuff will work for those events in an elite setting.

KaizenSwimmer
December 26th, 2006, 05:14 AM
What if you had a weak efficient swimmer and a strong efficient swimmer. Assume their efficiency is equal. Wouldn't the strong one be faster than the weak one in non-sprint events as well? <snip>I don't believe the "effortless" stuff will work for those events in an elite setting.

The first question is a bit too vague for a definitive answer. How weak? How strong? How efficient? Without quantifying those it would be impossible to say at what point greater strength could compensate for less efficiency.

I will say this though. It takes a LOT more strength to overcome a SMALL advantage in efficiency, for this reason: Water resistance is monumental (to understand this more profoundly try running in the water, rather than swimming, next time you visit the pool) and increases exponentially as you push on it harder. Your strength, on the other hand, remains constant.

Please read "effortless" as "less effort" rather than "no effort."
Given that power and energy are limited resources, there's no downside to accomplishing the same action with less effort. For me, the compelling argument in favor of "shaping the vessel" over "building the engine" is that the former always reduces effort. The latter, even if done efficiently, virtually always requires more effort.

jaegermeister
December 27th, 2006, 12:04 AM
Its been my experience that though fins improve leg strength, it is particularly in the lower legs. A strong flutter kick really starts in the hip flexors, and of course dolphin should start from the core. So while there is some benefit, we can't overlook using our core- and I'll include the hip flexors in that unit as well.
I have no beef with the notion that fins are good at specific situations- saving shoulders, working SDK, and working at a fast tempo.

Caped Crusader
December 27th, 2006, 12:28 PM
The first question is a bit too vague for a definitive answer. How weak? How strong? How efficient? Without quantifying those it would be impossible to say at what point greater strength could compensate for less efficiency.

Please read "effortless" as "less effort" rather than "no effort.".

Is it really so hard to answer? I said assume equal efficiency and equal physical qualities, so we wouldn't have to define those. If they're equal, isn't it a law of physics that the strong efficient swimmer would beat the weaker efficient swimmer?

Everyone has their strengths in the water. Some have a great "vessel." (I don't, my arms are too short.) Others are strong, some have a great feel for the water. It seems a simple idea that everyone should use their strengths and attempt to correct their weaknesses.

I like "less effort" better.

Oh, I don't use fins. But I know lots of people who do, and seem to enjoy them. If it's pleasurable to them, can't they continue?

islandsox
December 27th, 2006, 12:28 PM
Hi Tom,

Gosh, I feel differently when using my fins. I only feel it in my hips/thighs, not my calves, maybe it is the type of fin or the person's body type that may cause us to feel the difference. But I also feel the ankles stretching which is also good; we need so much flexibility. Sometimes I wish I were a rubber band:rofl:.

Donna

swim4me
December 27th, 2006, 05:46 PM
My quads have gotten really hard and defined using fins, but it it easy to get addicted and then feel naked without them! :eek:

m2tall2
December 27th, 2006, 08:49 PM
I typically don't use fins for flutter kick just because that's not what I am focusing on these days.

However, I do use fins for a couple things regularly...

1. Breaststroke and Butterfly Drills where I want to focus on pull technique.

2. Gaining core strength.

I find certain fin sets give my core a serious workout. I am a bit suprised no one else mentioned this.

Does anyone else use fins to train their core rather than their legs?

islandsox
December 27th, 2006, 08:56 PM
Michelle,

I am glad you brought up the subject of core development. I also use my little fins and do a lot of back-dolphin. I prefer it to crunches or situps because I am in the place I love, water.

Donna

~Wren~
December 28th, 2006, 10:01 AM
I typically don't use fins for flutter kick just because that's not what I am focusing on these days.

However, I do use fins for a couple things regularly...

1. Breaststroke and Butterfly Drills where I want to focus on pull technique.

2. Gaining core strength.

I find certain fin sets give my core a serious workout.
I am a bit suprised no one else mentioned this.

Does anyone else use fins to train their core rather than their legs?

Michelle, care to be more specific? I'm doing a lot of core work right now to try to stabilize a damaged hip, so any suggestions would be really helpful. Thanks!

m2tall2
December 28th, 2006, 01:00 PM
Michelle, care to be more specific? I'm doing a lot of core work right now to try to stabilize a damaged hip, so any suggestions would be really helpful. Thanks!

For example, I'll put on fins and do a dolphin kick, usually in short intervals like 25's or 50's. However, I don't really work the legs. Instead I'll try to get through the water pretty much by just using my core/abs. Like I think islandfox said, it's a lot like doing crunches. I focus on the undulation and as a side benefit get to work my streamline. The fins seem to make my core muscles work harder than without them.

Here are some variations of the same thing that feel to me like they're working different parts of the core (although I have no evidence to back it up)...
- 25's dolphin kick on my back
- 50's on my side. down on right side, back on left side.
- 25's dolphin kick underwater
- 25's on my back. Dolphin kick but rather than straight up and down, kick alternating to the right and left. Try to get through the water using your core and rotation.

The key for me is to pretty much forget I have arms and legs (except that streamline) and work like I'm trying to wave through the water.

m2tall2
December 28th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Although one thing I forgot to note, I have no idea whether any of that will hurt or help your hip.
But it should get your abs burning.

~Wren~
December 28th, 2006, 02:03 PM
Thanks Michelle! If I'm really working from the core, I don't see where any of that would be a problem. I have the okay to do dolphin kicks, and got the "listen to your body" lecture for flutter - no breaststoke kicking, and go to pull-bouys if anything hurts. :blah: I don't do injured well.

FlyQueen
December 28th, 2006, 02:13 PM
I like fins, I just don't think they help if they are worn 24/7 and I only use zoomers, because I think the big ole fins (think scuba) help too much. I have zoomers and medium length fins from when I hurt my shoulder and I zip across to the other side in world record time and feel nothing in my legs - zoomers make you work, especially the red ones.

I'm not an advocate of using fins to learn fly, only because I didn't learn that way, but the kick was never a problem for me - I have a really strong fly kick and I've never used fins while doing it ...

I love using zoomers on backstroke and when kickin on my back I feel the legs big time then and after awhile they burn ... we did a set of 100s back and for every second we got under our goal time we got a point and for every second we were over we lost a point, they were on something like 2:30 and I don't remember my goal time, but I got to use fins and the first one was fast, the next one a bit slower, by the third my legs were dead ... I killed them dolphining off of all the walls on the first few to try and get the set over and ended up going over on #7 when I only needed a few seconds, then making it on #8 ... I believe bad words were said after #7 ...

So basically, fins are good in moderation and for shoulder rehab ...

lapswimmr
December 28th, 2006, 07:53 PM
I like my new blue Zoomers . My old ones were 10 years old and I can't believe how stiff they are compared to the new ones. I also use the TYR Flex Fins. They are designed for swimming but dont last but a couple of years then they rip in the foot pocket. I am on my 3 or 4th pair. Several of us have had the same problem with them but they are good so I figure on 2-3 years out of a pair.I just saw some new intresting fins from Speedo called the Triathalon Fin. Its shorter then a standard fin, longer then the Zoomer with a wide slight curved blade. I am going to try them soon. I swim half my laps with fins then the other half without so I am not dependent on them.. At 52 I swim for fitness.

FlyQueen
December 29th, 2006, 09:13 AM
I must confess that I used fins last night and it was fantastic ... just for 4 x50 sprint, but wow ... so nice ...

The Fortress
December 29th, 2006, 09:48 AM
I must confess that I used fins last night and it was fantastic ... just for 4 x50 sprint, but wow ... so nice ...

Were you doing fly, FlyQueen? I love me some fins for race pace 50 flys.

From reading the posts, it appears that fins are helping a lot of body parts: calves, quads, core, glutes ... At least we're all going to look better from our fin use. :rofl:

FlyQueen
December 29th, 2006, 10:01 AM
They were all free ... maybe I'll use them for fly tonight or tomorrow ... since I've been on my own this week I get to do all sorts of fun stuff ... like never swim more than 200 yards consecutively ....

Muppet
December 29th, 2006, 10:03 AM
"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'" - Muhammed Ali

AMEN!

nice signature!

FlyQueen
December 29th, 2006, 10:23 AM
AMEN!

nice signature!

Thanks ... it's one of my favorites ...

The Fortress
December 29th, 2006, 10:29 AM
Thanks ... it's one of my favorites ...

Baby sister:
Ha, ha, ha. That signature has absolutely nothing to do with vessel shaping!! :rofl: :dedhorse: It speaks of torture and pain and sufferring. I think you're an endorphin junkie... That's what comes from marathon training... Keep up the creative holiday training! I want a report on those 50 flys. I have to live vicariously since I'm stuck in the wilds with no swimming pool nearby. I feel for Poolraat now...

FlyQueen
December 29th, 2006, 10:37 AM
Some pain from time to time is good for ya' ... at least I think so ...

As for the 50 flys I did last night ... (4 x 50 on 1:00) the first one was great, nice and long, relatively fast ... after that though ... the second one was okay, still strong, but definitely slower, the last two were pathetic my usual form feel to pieces and I was in crisis management mode (or so it felt) ... The point is I did them, easily made the interval on all 4 and have a new set to work on and push myself on ... it might be a weekly test set, when I can get them all faster with better form I'll a fifth ... and maybe one day a 6th ... I'll go :banana:

jaegermeister
December 29th, 2006, 07:53 PM
I've found a new use for my fins: They work really well as a holder for my glasses.
Being severely nearsighted, I can be a hazard without them. So I can just plunk them into one of my fins, then have them nearby when I'm jumping out of the pool. This may seem trivial, but I am really clueless without my specs. :eek:
If I do a fin set, I have to find someplace secure for them. Not always easy!:shakeshead:

Shaman
January 1st, 2007, 10:29 PM
After moving to a new club where we had fewer people in the water and more fins I was able to use them more often. I developed a strongish six-beat kick, which I'd never swam with before. That doesn't mean you should always use them, especially because you can really be lazy with your stroke with fins, but they seemed to work for me somewhat.

islandsox
January 1st, 2007, 10:52 PM
Shaman,

Well, there you go. They are only to be used as a training tool to aid us along the way and not to be replaced for actually using our legs and feet. But they do have benefit; core development, maintaining stroke when we are physically weak, increasing quad strength in our legs. But, and there is always a But, they are no replacement for actual swimming even though they can help in our training. I use them about 75% of the time in training, but always drop them about 2 weeks before a swim event.

Donna

The Fortress
January 2nd, 2007, 12:03 AM
You know, after reading some comments, I think I've been using fins somewhat incorrectly. I notice on freestyle, if its a long non-sprint set (not explosive speed training), I just use them to keep my legs afloat and take the burden off my weary shoulders. I use a little 2 beat kick. Whereas, if I use them for backstroke, I kick more vigorously and really work the turns and SDKs. I think maybe I should be kicking more on freestyle if I have happen to have my fins on ....

FlyQueen
January 2nd, 2007, 10:42 AM
Big sis - I don't think you are using them incorrectly, at least if you are I use them the same way. They make relatively little difference in long free swims other than helping my legs stay afloat, I use the same pathetic little kick still. When I swim back my legs are burning rather quickly because I kick like crazy. You use fins to take pressure off of your shoulder, if that's what you are doing then you are using them right.

I just started to use them on sprints to help remind myself to get the kick going and to feel the speed with them, as it is close to the actual tapered off the blocks speed I want to get. I only do 4 x 50 with them, too.

Paul Smith
January 2nd, 2007, 11:20 AM
I think they are a great "tool".....I have two pair; short zoomers which I use for power work (with small paddles).....and a longer pair of split fins which I use for some kick sets....or on a long pull set with a snorkel (no buoy).

My only "issue" with fin use is if someone (an elitist?) uses them to move up to a faster lane which they otherwise would not be able to make the intervals.

SwimStud
January 2nd, 2007, 11:29 AM
I think they are a great "tool".....I have two pair; short zoomers which I use for power work (with small paddles).....and a longer pair of split fins which I use for some kick sets....or on a long pull set with a snorkel (no buoy).

My only "issue" with fin use is if someone (an elitist?) uses them to move up to a faster lane which they otherwise would not be able to make the intervals.

I don't use them, but I agree that to use them to hop up a lane seems a bad idea. Better to go without them in the slower lane until you can naturally keep up in the fast lane. Unless of course everyone is using them in the fast lane. I presume though, that you mean when 1 person is using fins in a fast group while the others go without them.

fanstone
January 2nd, 2007, 11:32 AM
Let me state the obvious (dangerous, considering the company we keep here): there are different types of fins. Of course even the smaller Speedo blue fins will make you swim faster than not using fins. But, when using these made for swimming fins versus the bigger made for scuba or snorkeling fins I feel that there is a huge advantage (in the smaller fins). Plus the fact that some of the larger fins will even get in the way of proper swimming. Now, before I go any futher, let me say this, when doing actual snorkeling I use the snorkeling fins, first because they are better for that activity, second because they are more powerful to get me out of trouble, currents and so forth. However, if I am at a beach goofing off and want to do some "swimming" I will use the smaller Speedo fins, and even the goggles, although sometimes the mask plus snorkel is better choice to avoid drinking to much salt water (smile). When swimming long easy freestyle swims I use the fins to keep my body high and I hardly kick (like George mentioned somewhere way back) so I am giving my upper body a workout. If I want to give my legs a workout I will do leg drills sideways (?), on the back, and the perennial dolphin kick. I might do some fast 50 meter freestyle repeats using the fins, but mostly for the sheer power I feel and to get my whole body sincronized. Of course when I do the 50 repeats I go all out and kick strongly and fast. I also use the fins for butterfly training, although I feel they do interfere with my eventual timing the stroke without fins. My fins are size 12-13 and it says on the back 280-285 mm which I believe would be 11 inches long.
Concluding: for the average swimmer the fins would be useful to swim long freestyle with a better style or trying to focus on style, do leg drills, strenghening the ankles(?), as an aid in developing the butterfly, or as an alternative to the practices where your coach isn't there. I probably use fins once a week. When I am alone I'll do a medium paced 1,000 meters freestyle with fins, then do some leg drills, and lately I've started using a snorkel to do the dolphin kick drills. I might use them to do some butterfly drills on my own. Finally, at my cheapo swimming facility, they have fins for the eventual workout with fins, that the coach will prescribe. These are the big black snokeling or scuba fins. My partner of lanes, who is way slower than I, has his day at swimming as fast or faster, as I use my small Speedo fins. A few swimmers buy their own swimming fins. Sorry for the long post, just another perspective from a slow, thrice-weekly swimmer. billy fanstone

The Fortress
January 2nd, 2007, 11:43 AM
My only "issue" with fin use is if someone (an elitist?) uses them to move up to a faster lane which they otherwise would not be able to make the intervals.

According to an earlier post, it's just the "unshod swimmers and tris" that do this evil deed. Wouldn't an "elitist" risk de-deifying themselves if they used fins to lane jump?

Rich:

Sometimes I'm the only one in the fast lane using fins if I'm using them because my shoulders hurt. But if I went to the "proper" lane I would belong in without fins, I would disrupt everyone there. So sometimes it can't be avoided... The other swimmers usually get revenge by making me lead certain non-freestyle sets, and then I'm exhausted trying to stay ahead ...

SwimStud
January 2nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
According to an earlier post, it's just the "unshod swimmers and tris" that do this evil deed. Wouldn't an "elitist" risk de-deifying themselves if they used fins to lane jump?

Rich:

Sometimes I'm the only one in the fast lane using fins if my shoulders hurt. But if I went to the "proper" lane I would belong in without fins, I would disrupt everyone there. So sometimes it can't be avoided...

I understand. you however are using the fins to prevent further injury so that is an exception. Also if you're just too fast and would disrupt the rhythm that too is an exception.
I think I mean it more as if using them to hop up was for an ego thing. Ocnce in a while to work the torso, or to try and break the barrier into that speed group then yes it's fine IMHO. If it's being done to just keep up with the big boys and girls. I think that is a bad habit to get into.
Opinion only. I am sure all the fin users here would whoop me on any stroke without fins anyhow.

The Fortress
January 2nd, 2007, 12:05 PM
I understand. you however are using the fins to prevent further injury so that is an exception. Also if you're just too fast and would disrupt the rhythm that too is an exception.
I think I mean it more as if using them to hop up was for an ego thing. Ocnce in a while to work the torso, or to try and break the barrier into that speed group then yes it's fine IMHO. If it's being done to just keep up with the big boys and girls. I think that is a bad habit to get into.
Opinion only. I am sure all the fin users here would whoop me on any stroke without fins anyhow.


Maybe if I steal my daughter's new breaststroke fins, I'd getcha on breast!! :groovy: That would be good for my ego.

SwimStud
January 2nd, 2007, 12:09 PM
Maybe if I steal my daughter's new breaststroke fins, I'd getcha on breast!! :groovy: That would be good for my ego.

You're going to race backwards then? /snicker

FlyQueen
January 2nd, 2007, 12:59 PM
I tried using fins on fly a couple of days ago and hated it. It threw my timing off ... actually on my fly my legs are the first thing to go - I'm not sure if this means I'm overusing my core or underusing my core and over using my legs ... can you overuse your core in fly? Am I underusing my arms? I think I have a decent pull ...

fatboy
January 3rd, 2007, 01:27 PM
Michelle,

I am glad you brought up the subject of core development. I also use my little fins and do a lot of back-dolphin. I prefer it to crunches or situps because I am in the place I love, water.

Donna

Other than being able to breathe easier, is there a reason to do back-dolphin vs front dolphin? Is there an additional benefit?

islandsox
January 3rd, 2007, 03:48 PM
Other than being able to breathe easier, is there a reason to do back-dolphin vs front dolphin? Is there an additional benefit?

I sure do think there is a reason; I use back dolphin with arms over my head hands clapsed together and swim this particular kick in place of doing situps in front of the TV set. Also, it wears me out so I do need more air to breathe; it also improves my quad strength and foot flexibility; but primary is the stomach (core) development. And after looking at the size of my stomach after Christmas, I'll be doing lots of this in the ocean.:rofl:

Donna

SwimStud
January 3rd, 2007, 03:56 PM
I sure do think there is a reason; I use back dolphin with arms over my head hands clapsed together and swim this particular kick in place of doing situps in front of the TV set. Also, it wears me out so I do need more air to breathe; it also improves my quad strength and foot flexibility; but primary is the stomach (core) development. And after looking at the size of my stomach after Christmas, I'll be doing lots of this in the ocean.:rofl:

Donna

Donna does this work without fins?? You know all about my bad back so this mutant backstroke/fly kick drill might be just the trick for my abs...I'll do a set tonight.

TomBrooklyn
October 18th, 2007, 03:50 AM
I've used fins in coaching with positive outcomes in a few instances:
1) for helping those with a non-propulsive kick do drills that may be more kick-dependent, allowing them to control effort, maintain flow and minimize distraction so they can concentrate on more precise movements.
When I started practicing body dolphins as a first step to learning the core movement for Breaststroke and Butterfly, I was hardly moving. I tried some Blue Zoomers and I got moving. Then when I took them off, I was still moving. I think they helped me get the feel of the motion.

I think they have to be helping to make my ankles more flexible too, although I haven't measured the angle or anything.