I use it, but I don't think it affects shoulder problems one way or another.
How many use the early vertical forearm method?
How many believe it is less prone to shoulder injuries?
I tried it for the first time today and it wore my butt out! I did feel like I had more surface area to pull with and the force felt more horizontally directed toward my feet. I have a lot of work to do if I continue to adopt this stroke method.
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I use it, but I don't think it affects shoulder problems one way or another.
I just copied this from a previous post. Hope this helps.
Every swimmer who moves with a hint of decent propulsion is using a vertical forearm position. EVF runs on a continuum from late vertical (a dropped elbow) to the earliest vertical (a high angle rotation like world record distance swimmer Rebecca Adlington). Every swimmer wants to avoid using a late vertical forearm or dropped elbow.
This next statement is for everyone; a cookie-cutter definition of an EVF is simply not possible. Every swimmer wants to improve the early vertical position of their hand / forearm. How early and to what degree your shoulder muscles can achieve that critical propulsive position is dependent upon the swimmers physical limits.
So the continuum of a vertical forearm will vary from swimmer to swimmer. On one end of the continuum is an Alain Bernard stroke and on the other Rebecca Adlington. The key point to improving swimming speed is to find the position that allows you to maintain peak drag force (leveraging or pressing water) for the longest time. The "S" shaped pattern is an iatrical part of maintaining peak drag force but cannot and should not be the focus for coaches of beginning swimmers.
When you time yourself for 25 yards and find that a certain stroke pattern gives you the most bang for the buck (energy expenditure efficiency), you’re on the right track. Less strokes and faster times is the way you'll find your best pulling pattern. Once you've found the best pattern, duplicate the pattern very slowly in drills so muscle memory can be developed (usually 6 to 8 weeks).
You're using a vertical forearm position right now (every swimmer is), how early you can put that forearm vertically is something you'll want to improve without compromising shoulder health. There’s an EVF position out there for everyone and you’ll never have to compromise your body even a little. Good luck and I hope that answers your question.
Remember that EVF isn't about pulling, it's about setting up the hand and forearm vertically. If you watch my youtube (type in EVF + Swimming) you'll see some great exercises designed to accelerate an earlier vertical position of the bent or straight arm. Remember, you and every swimmer on the planet that moves forward, uses a vertical forearm/hand to propel themselves. Just how early you set your forearm/hand vertically is the thing you should be trying to improve.
Yes, I can see that now.....I was dropping my elbow, creating lift, and have been searching for this more efficient method. I think it will transform my swimming.
Even a small change in your stroke pattern will take time. Try to do isometrics that mimic the change you want and do them for 20 seconds at 80 percent of maximum effort and you'll accelerate your improvement. Good luck.
OK I have done about 4.5 hours working almost exclusively on using a early vertical forearm technique over the last 3 days. It does feel like I'm learning freestyle swimming over again. I am using different muscles and it takes full concentration just to stroke and keep my elbows up. I already know this is the right thing and makes so much sense. I can't believe I haven't encountered it before now. I believe basic laws of physics apply here and this technique is far superior to the "dropped elbow" and straight arms most, formerly including myself, swim with.
My right arm seems to be learning faster than my left. I use a pull bouy alot, concentrating only on my strokes and only taking a breath when necessary. My motions feel very "robotic" at this stage which I know will smooth out with a rhythm soon. The best way I can describe the freestyle stroke motion I'm making, is my arms feel like a robot spider's legs walking on an imaginary surface, a forearm and hand's depth below the water surface!
Think of yourself standing with one arm fully extended in front of you and how little force it would take for someone to push up on your hand. Now bend your elbow at a 90 deg. angle and imagine how much more force your hand would resist. By measuring my arm motions, the cantilever distance of the hand position alone is cut in half, making application of force much less effort!
I will be in the water at 5:30 am tomorrow and again at 4:30pm to work on it for about 3 more hours. It's supposed to be in the mid 50s tomorrow morning, considered quite brisk here, so it should be a great swim!
(Incidentally "spellcheck" doesn't seem to work so I hope there are not too many errors!)
Last edited by Georgio; September 29th, 2009 at 10:52 PM. Reason: spelling
It was about 60 deg. and eerie arriving at the pool this morning with Black Sabbath playing. Got in a good 60 min. more work on new stroke. Right shoulder is complaining a little from the new range of motion. I couldn't imagine trying to gradually work on getting the elbows higher....so I just hiked them all the way up...it's feels a little like paddling a canoe on both sides. Enjoyed swimming with the high school team, although I didn't follow their workout. Coach treated us to some delicious home made cinnamon buns! Hope to go again at 4:30.
I get this message when I try spell check:
vB Spell installation problem, please notify the webmaster.
The range of motion from swimmer to swimmer is different and that means you need to use a swimming pattern that fits you. All I'm saying is that you may have to compromise and find a pattern that's suits you. A pulling pattern should never hurt and when you hear sounds, clicking and such, that isn't a good sign. Working on improving your pulling pattern is a never ending story. Good luck!
My right shoulder shortened my second workout yesterday to 30 minutes. There is no clicking or popping, just a painfull resistance in the joint. I had the same thing earlier this year when I began daily swims/workouts. I only did what didn't hurt and it went away. I'll have to resort to that again, which may mean a lot of kick sets and dry land work for a few days...hopefully no longer. It looks like an overnight transition to the new stroke technique is more than my 58 yr. old shoulder joint will allow me...duh. It looks like I will need to briefly rehab my shoulder, work back slowly to where I was, then gradually introduce a higher elbow stroke in smaller increments. To recover I plan to limit my swimming and weight training to what isin't painfull, ice and advil.
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
My left shoulder has fully dislocated about a dozen times. First time was in 1993, the last time was in 2002. At one point it was so bad it actually fully dislocated in my sleep. After two emergency room visits, I eventully learned to reset it myself. Never had surgery, but in my experience weight training has helped my left shoulder termendously. "Knocking on wood" no major problems for over 5 years and I started swimming 1.5 years ago. Before, I would never be able to such an activity. I am very cautious with the stroke and movements and probably will never be able to backstroke, but what allowed me to try swimming out were several years of resistance conditioning. Without it I would have never attempted a freestyle stroke.
First, even though weight training is nessesary for my shoulder health, there are several movements I avoid totally - dumbell/barbell military press, and bench press. If I did a set of these, I am certain the next swim would result in shoulder inflammation. For me, shrugs have seemed to keep the shoulder supported, and lateral raises with very light weights are good too as well as other dumbell/cable exercises. I also watch footage of Popov until movements are memorized to the point I recognize them when I get close. I do this in the mirror -shoulder position, rotation, everything but the kick. I think I found an EVF position for me that doesn't hurt or makes noise, but most importantly, as my form developed more (EVF), there was less shoulder irritation. Like it was more natural.
Now this is working for me, my shoulder problem could be very different than yours - needing something else. But you may find it helpful to step back and evaluate what specific movement is aggrivating, lift weights cautiously avoiding bench and upright presses, and get some feedback on your stroke. I also avoid pain medication while working out to keep me from injury, unless something does go wrong and I need to decrease inflammation.
I had some shoulder pain last spring, 6 months into my swimming comeback after a 25 year hiatus.
I found the exercises for shoulder injury prevention on the USA Swimming website very helpful:
I still do them -- Take a look and see what you think.
So here is a little light on the anatomical make up of the EVF stroke. By popping up your elbow before you take your pull, you engage your lats and then use them along with your pecs for your power. This is a great relief for the shoulder since you are using bigger muscle groups in addition to just your deltoids.
Continue to practice this technique and you'll find yourself getting stronger and pulling more water.
I've been coaching for over 30 years and have inherited swimmers with shoulder problems. One of my distance swimmers had "swimmer's shoulder" so bad that he couldn't swim without pain. Anyway, George Block, the past president of the American Swimming Coaches Association put on a clinic and helped the swimmer alleviate his pain. George told him to exit his hand from the water so he could see his palm. It looked awkward (he could enter it normally) but the pain disappeared. The impingement or pain was created when his hand exited the water and by changing the exit strategy, the pain disappeared. My swimmer had to practice the new exiting strategy and he often lapsed into the old style of recovery that caused the pain but I knew that my swimmer could swim pain free if he desired (sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't???). Think about how your hand exits the water and see if some changes might alleviate the pain totally. No one should swim with joint pain. Good luck!!
I wasn't sure I would be able to swim today, but after applying hot and cold, 8 advil and this rotator cuff exercise: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjA0YNAQI7U"]YouTube - Rotator Cuff Exercises for Pain Relief / Shoulder Pain Relief[/ame]
I was able to swim very ez without discomfort with a stroke more like I'm accustomed to. I will continue the same routine and gradually over a period of weeks engage an earlier forearm. My theory is the extra load I was applying (added efficiency) with the new forearm position (extreme) was loading up my shoulder more than it was accustomed to. I expect a speedy recovery and don't think I will miss a workout!
I will try the palm exit technique and will post later progress. Thank you all for your valuable advice!
Awesome video! I've never seen it done quite like that. I'd like to use this video. Do you think you could get me in touch with the author. Thanks Tom
Here you go:
7 Minutes to a Healthy Shoulder and Rotator Cuff by David Wicker at Ko Olina Hawaii.
I am continuing to do these exercises and combined with alternate heat and cold, and 4 advil 2X 4 hours apart before swim, shoulder is much better.
I started having shoulder and arm pain last May and had to take some time off. Since returning, I've been making a big effort to avoid the overuse problems. A big part of my strategy is adjusting my stroke. I've been working on my EVF. I believe that one of the main causes of my pain has been related to my position at entry, so EVF goes right along with that. It has taken me a while, but I'm starting to "get" it. For me the key word in EVF is EARLY. I have to focus on the word early, on getting that vertical forearm sooner!
Anyway, it has been helping me a lot as far as avoiding pain as I work to get back into shape!!!!
For Tomtopo can - we do EVF if the arm is entered when completely extended. My experiment in the 60's after injuring both shoulders. When the arms were extended I would let the hands go to the catch position with out applying force. I called it dropping in to position. When at the catch I would then apply force with the hand and forearm making sure the elbow did not drop during the catch phase.
Keep it simple
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I tried this at practice wed night, it takes somr thinking as to when to start the pull.