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Thread: Backstroke finish

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    Active Member chlorini's Avatar
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    Backstroke finish

    I have been watching some underwater footage of fast backstrokers, and I noticed that most seem to finish each underwater arm stroke with their palm facing their leg. I think I finish with mine facing the bottom of the pool. Is this a sign of a stroke flaw or is it just a quirk? Thanks for any insight!

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    Re: Backstroke finish

    Yeah, I've been doing it with palm down since the 70's.

    I was at a clinic with Lenny Krazleburgh (sp) about a month ago and he showed us that exact thing.

    He had us finish the pull with the palm facing toward the thigh. This keeps the hand from going outside the "body cone". The idea is to have the body as compact as possible without disturbing the surrounding water. Also, when you think about it, if your hand is pressing down towards the bottom, your body is responding upwardly and why would you want that.

    I seem to remember a David Marsh and Kim Brackin video saying the same thing.

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    Back is faster than Fly poolraat's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    I also finish palm down. I tried the palm to the thigh and noticed that you get a quicker recovery and the hand naturally exits the water thumb up. It also feels like a little better propulsion in the final part of the stroke.
    I have entered the snapdragon stage of my life (Part of me has snapped and the rest of me is draggin ).

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    Wow. I was taught palms down as a youngster and never changed it. In fact, I exaggerate the consequent shoulder roll -- as the palm goes down it causes my shoulder to pop up -- because I feel that it gives me a good stretch and better leverage on the next arm pull. And maybe just a little more power on the finish of the stroke. The cost for me is a somewhat reduced stroke rate; I don't believe I do it as much on sprints.

    I'm not saying this is the best way to do it, just how I do it and why. I confess that I do not keep up with all the latest stroke mechanics stuff and all this palm-to-thigh stuff is news to me.

    (Sort of reminds me when I first started swimming occasionally with a USS club last year...the coach took one look at my breaststroke -- a pathetic sight, I will admit -- and stated "I haven't seen that stroke in 20 years!" Well, duh...!)

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    Quote Originally Posted by chlorini View Post
    I have been watching some underwater footage of fast backstrokers, and I noticed that most seem to finish each underwater arm stroke with their palm facing their leg. I think I finish with mine facing the bottom of the pool. Is this a sign of a stroke flaw or is it just a quirk? Thanks for any insight!
    Many of the fastest backstrokers have developed a 3 peak stroke in the past couple of decades.
    The majority of us old schoolers are doing a single upsweep and then a strong downsweep.
    Palm faces down at the end of the stroke.



    But as you noticed on YouTube...there's something new at work.
    The motion is...

    upsweep
    downsweep
    upsweep.

    Palm facing the hip on the 2nd upsweep...but more often it's facing up.
    In a 3 peak stroke...the idea is to get one more swish of propulsion as the hand and arm are exiting the water.

    In this clip... watch the swimmer in the black jammers next to Lenny.
    A typical 3 peak stoke at work. His hand is getting one final push on the water while it's exiting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RK36MhPGZ0

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    This diagram from "Swimming Fastest" illustrates the upsweep~finishing motion quite well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Very Active Member Slowswim's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    Looking at the attached diagram, it appears that the elbow is locked. Is that correct or should the elbow be bent on the down stroke?
    I keep telling my coaches, "I am a sprinter" and "they keep saying you swim short races, but that is not the same thing." - Some Girl

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    Quote Originally Posted by Slowswim View Post
    Looking at the attached diagram, it appears that the elbow is locked. Is that correct or should the elbow be bent on the down stroke?

    That's correct. Meaning elbow bent on the downsweep, until the arm is ready to start the upsweep.

    The 3 peak stroke is very close in comparison to the traditional 2 peak with the exception of the finish.
    The hand enters the water and goes through the initial catch phase...it does the upsweep...and does the down sweep.


    The difference is....is that at the end of the downseep, the hand begins a transition into an almost palm facing up position.
    And with the arm heading into a near locked elbow position...it directs water towards the feet. One last hurrah before the exit.


    I experimented with it for the past year now...and it still feels foreign. But it has proven to be faster.
    That being said, there are still some incredibly fast backstrokers using the 2 peak stroke pattern. (as proven with Ande and Chris)

  9. #9
    Active Member chlorini's Avatar
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    Re: Backstroke finish

    So interesting. Thanks very much, Quicksilver and everyone! I am going to play around with it more and see if it is faster for me. Thank you again!

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