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Thread: Straight arm free

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    Straight arm free

    Last night I was up late watching some recaps from 2012 summer games. I noticed in the 50m fr they talked about the "straight" arms of swimmer so and so... in a dead sprint like that do most all out sprinters just swing their arms straight instead of having any real elbow bend?

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Yes, many do. You can get a faster turnover rate with a straight arm recovery. The downside of the straight arm is that for most people it generally less efficient and it puts a much greater strain on the shoulders.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Very Active Member thewookiee's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Yes, many do. You can get a faster turnover rate with a straight arm recovery. The downside of the straight arm is that for most people it generally less efficient and it puts a much greater strain on the shoulders.
    I find it to be less stressful on my shoulders. When I warm-up/down, I have tried to work on the high elbow recovery, but my shoulders start screaming. When I switch to a more straight arm recovery, I have no shoulder stress.

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    Re: Straight arm free

    Ok thanks for the information. I"m looking for a way to get a little bit faster turnover. I'm almost faster using a dang pull buoy then kicking. annoying.

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Quote Originally Posted by thewookiee View Post
    When I switch to a more straight arm recovery, I have no shoulder stress.
    Is your straight arm recovery vertical wind-milling (like Manaudou), or more straight arm over the water surface?
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    I seem to remember Phelps toying with it & it did him no good/bad effects. I think he was just trying something new.

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    Re: Straight arm free

    What the arm does over the water as it recovers (as long as it doesn't sway or move away from the midline) isn't important compared to what happens underwater. Splashing, slapping, throwing arms over the water to speed up the recovery is now a norm in the 50 and 100 (they going to be breaking 40 seconds in the 100 and 17 seconds in the 50???). It takes a lot of energy to throw your arms like that and I suspect we'll see 200 freestylers doing it soon, as times drop.

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    Very Active Member thewookiee's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Is your straight arm recovery vertical wind-milling (like Manaudou), or more straight arm over the water surface?
    Rob, mine is more straight over the water surface, with a high elbow catch under the water.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Straight arm above and below the water works best for me, and the right arm does it more than the left. The straight arm recovery does seem to force my torso to the opposite direction some, and it happens as the other arm is catching

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Straight arm UNDER WATER ? Will this be a really heavy load on the shoulders?

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Quote Originally Posted by orca1946 View Post
    Straight arm UNDER WATER ? Will this be a really heavy load on the shoulders?
    Yes. Huge.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Not perfectly straight.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    That seems to take the biceps out of the stroke. I tried it last night & was not impressed at all, of course, I'm not a sprinter.

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    Re: Straight arm free

    Quote Originally Posted by orca1946 View Post
    Straight arm UNDER WATER ? Will this be a really heavy load on the shoulders?
    Actually it shouldn't be if you're pulling correctly. The load of the pull should really fall on your lats after you catch.

    And really biceps, while certainly used, are not a major contributor to the pull in free.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    Quote Originally Posted by fmracing View Post
    Actually it shouldn't be if you're pulling correctly. The load of the pull should really fall on your lats after you catch.
    The shoulder is the rotation point and must react the moment produced by the arm's pulling action through the water. The straighter your arm is, the longer the lever arm will be, thus increasing the moment. I think you're right that most of that force is going to be reacted by the lats, but I've got to think the small stabilizing muscles of the shoulder are stressed much more with a straight arm pull.
    Last edited by knelson; April 16th, 2013 at 03:42 PM.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    The inward rotation of the upper arm which points the elbow more forward during high elbow catch seems to bug my shoulders more than with a straighter arm, even with the greater load in the joint. Which is probably why I choose shorter events.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Straight arm free

    That makes sense. I have found distance to be my forte. I prefer my high elbow & low fingers.
    something about an "old dog "& turning tricks, or something else like that !!!! L O L

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