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Thread: The Breaststroke Lane

  1. #1081
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    I am not a physical therapist,and I don't know any specific exercises to strengthen that area.I think that the general leg exercises (squats,lunges etc.)should help.In squats,make sure you don't bend your knees past 90 degrees.
    The way I look at it,swimming BR kick is a very unnatural movement that places extreme strain on the knee joint,much like pitching a baseball does on the shoulder.I warm my knees up very slowly for each swim,going very,very slow BR to slow BR to moderate BR for at least 250 yds before I do any race pace work. Then I have the equivalent of a "pitch count"for swimming BR.I never do more than 85 BR kicks at race pace in a workout.85 kicks is my goal stroke count for 200M so that seemed like a necessary limit.I do the rest of my race pace BR as BR pull with dolphin kick(with or without fins) and leg work as eggbeater kick.I find eggbeater puts less strain on my knees.If my knees are feeling especially twitchy I will narrow my eggbeater until it is basically a bicycle kick. If my knee is a little twitchy I ice it after the workout.If it is sore,I wait until it isn't before I swim BR(at least I should,if I have a taper meet coming I'll skip BR for a couple of days,but then I get paranoid about losing my timing and "damn the torpedoes,full speed ahead"figuring I can rest after the meet.This is probably a very stupid thing to do.)
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  2. #1082
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Looking at the tapes again,I agree with swimspire that your hips get a little low in the 200 pace.It looks to me,however that the main problem is that in the arm recovery,you are angling down with your hand instead of shooting them directly forward.Your body follows your hands getting the hips a little low.This is a problem I frequently have.The best drill I know for that is recover with your thumbs up, keeping the ends of your thumbs out of the water.
    Arm recovery has been a problem for me; I see it clearly on the videos. When I work on it during the breast pull/dolphin kick drill, I do just fine with keeping my arms at the correct angle. Swimming full stroke at 200 pace is another story, however. Trying to keep my hips up, AND keep my arms from diving down, AND keep my right foot from catching air on the kick (due to my right-tilted pelvis) , . I definitely need to put a little more bend at my hips on the beginning of the kick to make it all work, so I will give it a try when I get to the pool today. Thanks!
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  3. #1083

    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post
    Arm recovery has been a problem for me; I see it clearly on the videos. When I work on it during the breast pull/dolphin kick drill, I do just fine with keeping my arms at the correct angle. Swimming full stroke at 200 pace is another story, however. Trying to keep my hips up, AND keep my arms from diving down, AND keep my right foot from catching air on the kick (due to my right-tilted pelvis) , . I definitely need to put a little more bend at my hips on the beginning of the kick to make it all work, so I will give it a try when I get to the pool today. Thanks!
    Sorry, I watched the video a bit late. Many things were written about the kick so won't write anything about it. Looks like you are making too small outsweep and during the outsweep you you start the pull and your arms sink, so when you're doing insweep your head is still underwater which causes a lot of front resistance. Try to keep your arms as close to the surface when you make the outsweep, as soon as you start to separate your hands your head should start to lift.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Then make the catch - your hands should go down and the elbows should stay close to the surface.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    From this position you can start the insweep. Try not to press the water backwards but try to push your head and trunk forward-up through one hole in the water in the case you don't need to bend your hips.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Keep the same timing for the kick - this looks fine to me. Just at the recovery try to shoot hand forward close to the surface as Alen told. But even if they sink a bit the correct outsweep should provide enough lifting power to prepare your arms, head and trunk for a good catch.

    Here you may see entire video -
    - I have no idea who's the lady on the video but I like the easy manner and propulsion she makes.

    You also may try to do all the phases separately: the outsweep then the catch and the insweep.
    Last edited by Debugger; October 7th, 2013 at 11:24 AM.

  4. #1084
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Debugger View Post
    Looks like you are making too small outsweep and during the outsweep you you start the pull and your arms sink, so when you're doing insweep your head is still underwater which causes a lot of front resistance.
    Debugger, thanks for posting the photos and video, as well as making suggestions on my stroke. Unfortunately, I am unable to take your stroke advice, due to physical limitations with my shoulders. (I will just leave it at that, because I have written about those issues too many times in too many past posts! )

    For me to train and race breaststroke within my limitations, my coach suggested a narrower pull and basically eliminating the wide outsweep. He has me visualizing reaching across a table and grabbing a large bowl of popcorn with both hands (Ummm; I'll make that chocolate, thank you very much!) and bringing it towards me. Going for a deeper pull was recommended, as well, so I could utilize my pectorals and keep the strain off my shoulders.

    (Note to Woofus B. Loofus: I'm still visualizing scoopin' runaway puppies, too!
    )

    So, Debugger, I will have to continue trying to ifind other ways to mprove my stroke with the shoulder limitations I have. If the trade-off is swimming slower in order to swim for life, it's worth it! (After the stern warning I got from the surgeon who operated on me for thoracic outlet syndrome, it was a wake-up call...)
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  5. #1085

    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Sad to hear. You can make narrower outsweep just about shoulder width and then catch. But still try to make this short outsweep close to a surface and to keep elbows high as well during the catch.

  6. #1086
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Allen - excellent advice re: knees. Especially the "pitch count" strategy. I just read somewhere that pain on the top of the knee, which I get on the other knee when I kick FR or BA, is due from knees too bent during the flutter kick.

  7. #1087
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by Debugger View Post
    Sad to hear. You can make narrower outsweep just about shoulder width and then catch. But still try to make this short outsweep close to a surface and to keep elbows high as well during the catch.

    It's the high elbows (in addition to the wide outsweep) that puts too much strain on my shoulders.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  8. #1088

    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Sorry to hear about your physical limitations . I have some observations. Your kick is very good, check your time for a 50 kick vs.a 50 swim I think it will be close (use a kick board). Stop the first video at the 10 second mark you'll see a problem in your body position I believe this is caused by your inability to get a proper catch (because of your issue). Suggestion would be to develop a short pull which doesn't impact your shoulder as much as a normal pull, but along with this adjustment you can't pull your head straight up because your arms are not pulling your body up with it. Think of breathing forward not up hopefully this will help with your body position. One minor correction do not pop your head up on the push off it hurts your momentum.

  9. #1089
    Very Active Member robertsrobson's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by melinda View Post
    Suggestions from fellow froggers: I have knee pain (inner knee, left only) when I BR kick. What sort of exercises should I be doing to strengthen the muscles supporting that part of the knee? I do have tight hamstrings and inner thighs / groins

    Also, when you froggers K, do you squeeze your glutes at the end of your K? I noticed that I do not actively engage those muscles when I kick BR, and my PTherapist thinks doing so would help with my knee pain. But when I do actively use them, I feel like my legs fatigue faster.

    After about a 2-month hiatus from training due to shoulder injury incurred from a car accident, caused by a pickup truck running a red light and T-boning / totalling our Pilot, I am back in the water - thanks to effective PT! Yea!
    Melinda, does the pain lessen or worsen as you do more breastroke?

    I had something similar earlier this year. Eventually it would wear off - but only after quite a lot of breastroke. This was a hint to the physio that there wasn't knee damage and that the pain was nerve pain, caused by tightness in the IT band, thighs and lower back. How much are you stretching?

  10. #1090
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by secondheart View Post
    Sorry to hear about your physical limitations . I have some observations. Your kick is very good, check your time for a 50 kick vs.a 50 swim I think it will be close (use a kick board). Stop the first video at the 10 second mark you'll see a problem in your body position I believe this is caused by your inability to get a proper catch (because of your issue). Suggestion would be to develop a short pull which doesn't impact your shoulder as much as a normal pull, but along with this adjustment you can't pull your head straight up because your arms are not pulling your body up with it. Think of breathing forward not up hopefully this will help with your body position. One minor correction do not pop your head up on the push off it hurts your momentum.
    Thanks for the feedback, Secondheart; I appreciate it!

    My breaststroke kick with a board for 50 yards comes in at :57 compared to my current 50 breaststroke race time of :42.

    For my breathing on breaststroke, it sounds like I need to develop the same technique as I have been working on in fly: Pull the chin forward while still looking down.

    As for popping my head up on the push off, I seem to have a problem with my head popping up all the time! It pops up on the push off, pull down, and on the stroke unless I really concentrate fully on it. Bad habits are hard to break...
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  11. #1091
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    It seemed odd to me that sometimes the knee pain would go away by end of workout - not always, but sometimes. I have notoriously tight IT band, thighs, hamstrings. My core's not so strong either, apparently. I have only recently begun to stretch my hamstrings in the evenings, using a theraband. I'll add IT band stretches, thanks to your note. What stretches do you recommend?

  12. #1092

    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    I noticed that I feel much better if I do some dry land warm up before jumping in water, some arms swinging, bending and other exercises. The opposite when I have little time for example because of the need to be in the office earlier I don't do dry land warm up sometimes an often after such workouts I often have pain in my muscles and/or ligaments. I also do stretching in the evenings at home but looks it's not enough. Also I had some strain and pain in my knees - they disappeared after I added 400 breaststroke kick to my warmup in the water. I start it very easy and slowly increase the pace during the second half. Never had pain on my knees since I started doing that! Hope that will help you.

  13. #1093
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Br is my weakest stroke. From the clips, if anyone can provide suggestions it would be helpful. Thank you


  14. #1094
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    and

  15. #1095
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    one more . ..


  16. #1096
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    one more . ..

    Hey, Steve, welcome to the frog lane! The first two videos were tough to see, due to the glare on the water. If you could get somebody to record you (rather than having your camera on deck), the angle would be much better for cutting down on glare. The last video was the most helpful, and I'm sure King Frog (Allen Stark) will chime in and give you the best feedback of all the frogs. Although I spotted some things, I will defer to THE frog to give you the best advice. Stay tunes; I'm sure he'll post soon!
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  17. #1097
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Thanks Elaine. I just used my phone, if I better clip is required, I'll see if I can find a volunteer camera operator.

    I have to say this stroke seems the most challenging to pin down, but I think I have some frogness somewhere.

  18. #1098
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    one more . ..

    It is hard to be sure,but this is what I think I see:
    You are raising your head too high,work on keeping your head in neutral position throughout the stroke.
    You are getting stuck between the pull and the recovery in the "prayer position".Work at accelerating through the pull until you have finished the recovery.
    When you recover your kick,you have your knees outside of your feet,which increases drag.Keep your knees no more than two fists apart throughout the stroke.
    Never touch one handed in BR.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  19. #1099

    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Hi __steve__

    1. You have problem with timing, you lift up your head for breath too late. Start lifting your head when your hands reach widest point in the outsweep.
    2. You miss the catch because when you start outsweep your hands go down straight away and your elbows are wider than hands in the widest point - should be opposite. That's why make outsweep close to the surface and only after your hands are wider than elbows start the catch (move your hands and wrists down, keep all this time your elbows close to the surface) and then do the insweep.
    3. You do not engage your shoulders and laterals after the catch on your insweep. Possibly that's because of the incorrect catch. Together with incorrect head lifting timing you just lose the power of the insweep - the most powerful part of the pull.
    4. Your kick is too wide and you kick to the sides instead of kicking backwards. Your feet should be wider than your knees. Try some breaststroke kick with board and a buoy between your hips, this might help to fix the problem.
    5. As Alen told you get stuck in prayer position but even worse is that you kick before your hands, arms, head and trunk are in complete streamline. Try breaststroke separation drill to fix that: pull-stay in streamline count 1, 2-kick-streamline count 1, 2, repeat.
    That's a lot to fix already for the beginning. Continue to share your progress and you'll get more advices.

  20. #1100

    Re: The Breaststroke Lane

    Steve - As previously mentioned, your timing is off. I believe you are thinking pull then kick when you are swimming, if so this is incorrect. To reach the preying mantis position you need to start bringing up your legs when you are starting your catch so that you are in the maximum leg thrust position when your pull is complete. This is not simple to learn, I would suggest to start by just kicking and let your arms gradually work into the timing of the kick ( a breaststroke tape will help understand the timing)

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