The Arni - QT2 Systems

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The Arni - QT2 Systems
VERS ION a1.2
THE ARNIE
version 1.0
GUIDE INDEX
1. Swim Types Introduction
Pg. 3
Development Session 2
Pg.14
2. Introd'n: The Arnie In Water
Pg. 4
Development Session 3
Pg.16
3. Stroke Correction Process
Pg. 6
Development Session 4
Pg.19
Development Session 1
Pg. 10
[1]
4. Tools For Arnies
Pg.21
Disclaimer:
Before undertaking any exercise program you must ensure you
are fit and healthy to do so by consulting with your doctor.
Swim Smooth is not responsible for any injury or loss sustained as
a result of using this training guide or any advice given herein.
All persons using this guide do so at their own risk.
www.swimtypes.com
[2]
© Swim Smooth 2010
1. SWIM TYPES
INTRODUCTION
Welcome to Swim Smooth's
Swim Types System!
By now you will have explored the Swim Types
website, read the type profiles and watched the
example videos. The profiles, together with the online
questionnaire and observation sheet have allowed you
to accurately determine your type, perhaps with the
help of a friend or coach.
Congratulations, you are now taking the second and
most important step of working to refine your swim
stroke based on your individual needs as a
swimmer.This guide will show you how to improve
your speed and efficiency in the water and feel a
whole heap better as a result.
Most swimmers and triathletes have trained or been
coached to conform to an 'ideal' irrespective of their
sex, build characteristics, previous swimming
experience and personality. That approach is very
much one-rule-fits-all. For mass market swim
coaching, a simple message was sold - make your
stroke long and gliding. As we'll explain below, this
overly simplistic approach limits the achievements of
most swimmers and makes things harder than they
need to be for that majority.
Meanwhile, the very best coaches in the world have
taken a very different approach - tailoring the strokes
of their swimmers and triathletes to their own unique
attributes. This is why many of the best swimmers in
the world swim with significantly different strokes and all move very efficiently through the water.
Our Swim Types System is a much more complete,
authentic way of developing a swimmer's stroke
technique. The system provides you with an ideal
development pathway for you, by recognising you as
an individual within a more specific group, or Swim
Type.
The Six Types
If you study swimmers of all abilities, initially it
appears that everyone swims completely differently to
each other with their own unique style. Strictly
speaking everyone's stroke is unique, however when
you study a lot of swimmers you soon see how stroke
characteristics clump together into classic styles making up the six Swim Types.
YOUR
INDIVIDUALITY
EXPLAINED
You too have a level of experience, personality and
physical characteristics that contribute to your style.
By emphasising your natural strengths in the water
whilst systematically tackling your weaker areas you
will improve at a much greater rate, to a higher level,
than if you simply wipe the slate clean and start trying
to conform to a so-called 'picture of perfection'.
Most swimmers never get anywhere near this perfect
stroke - and these days most coaches agree it doesn't
actually exist - there is no one perfect stroke!
Doing What's Right For You
The power of Swim Types is that it gives you an
overall blueprint for your stroke - showing you how it
fits together as a whole. The system shows you your
strengths and weaknesses, to get you very focused on
what you need to do to improve.
Many swimmers and triathletes have tried to improve
their strokes and haven't become as fast or efficient as
they would like. Some haven't improved at all and
have become very frustrated as a result!
For each Swim Type there are individual reasons for
this frustration and underachievement - and unique
pathways to improvement that might not work for
other swimmers. Swimming technique really is all
about the individual. Let's take one classic example so
that you can see what we mean:
The Bambino And The Smooth
Take Lucy, a classic Bambino. She's quite short, has a
light build and has only been swimming for three
months. Like all Bambinos she lacks a little
confidence in the water.
Lucy has joined a swimming group and like many
swimmers we know has been told by the coach that
unless she can swim 40 strokes per 50m she may as
well give up! This is equivalent to about 18 strokes per
length in a 25m pool - taking account of the push off.
Lucy tries to swim with a longer stroke, reaching out
and gliding but with her limited feel for the water and
short arm length finds this nearly impossible.
Maybe you've had this experience too in a group or
squad - it's dejecting isn't it? For Lucy, with her low
swimming confidence, this experience is shattering.
For the tall, skilled Smooth Swim Type, 40 strokes per
50m is a realistic goal and could be an ideal stroke
length for them. However, the pathway to
improvement for a Bambino is a lot different:
Rather than slowing their stroke and trying to glide, a
Bambino benefits greatly from adding a little punch
and rhythm to their stroke. Lifting their stroke rate
gives them a sense of stroke timing - and the faster
movements create more pressure on their hands and
limbs - letting them feel what's going on. This builds
their confidence and allows them to become attuned to
their environment.
With her shorter arm length, Lucy is unlikely to ever
swim at her optimum at 40 strokes per 50m but by
improving her feel for the water and stroke rhythm,
there's no reason why she can't become a very
competent, fast swimmer.
This is just one example of how each swim type needs
to approach their swimming in a significantly different
way. Are you confident that the time, energy, drills
and money that you have invested in your swimming
is best suited to you as an individual?
If not, you are in the right place now - finally!
[3]
2. INTRODUCTION: THE ARNIE IN WATER
Let’s get this straight
right away, you - Arnies
and Arnettes - are
athletically talented and
just because swimming
feels frustrating right
now, doesn’t mean that
it’s always going to feel
that way.
Of all the swim types you have the potential to
progress at the highest rate, if we can just work to
control that burning desire to be good yesterday!
Think of your competitive nature as a true
advantage but learn to tame that at times when
stroke technique development is the area you are
targeting.
You have strength and athletic prowess to spare
(even if you don’t necessarily realise it) and this has
probably served you very well with land based
sports. In a nutshell, for you to improve we need to
tone-down this power and improve your control and
finesse in the water.
When done correctly, you really can improve out of
sight, however you need to learn to embrace
swimming and not see the water as your enemy and
something you need to plough through. In fact, one
of the biggest hurdles you will face is simply
learning to enjoy being in the water. Learn to take
motivation from the fact that whilst this might not
be your favourite sport or your best discipline that
you actually have much more room for
improvement here.
Are all Arnies male? Absolutely not! Whilst we
encounter more male Arnies than female, if you are
a late starter in the swimming world and tend to
grab the bull by the horns with most things then it's
likely you are an 'Arnette'. Many Arnettes have
athletic talent, being good at a range of sports rather
than anything specific.
This is totally fine and despite our attempt to be
humorous with the caricature of that well-known
Hollywood movie star, you too stand to progress in
a similar manner to your male counterparts.
One of the key things to remember about swimming
is that it is very much a skill-based activity whereby
going harder doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go
faster.
There is no overnight solution to suddenly
becoming a good swimmer but by being diligent
about your practice and objective about what is
working and what is not, you’ll certainly be well on
your way to developing your stroke. As it happens,
a goal-driven focus is one of your real key
personality attributes and is something that you’ll be
able to really use to your advantage. Being openminded enough to try a few new things,
experimenting with a variety of specific drills and
techniques and accepting that the development of
your stroke is a process will stand you in good
stead.
So, what exactly holds you back in the water? Drag
- pure and simple. The biggest challenge for Arnies
is overcoming drag from low-sitting legs in the
water. We call this 'sinky leg syndrome':
Monitoring your progress can be very inspiring and
rewarding in its own right. As we often say at Swim
Smooth, the path to getting faster isn’t always the
most obvious and this is no more true than with the
Arnie swim type. For you, getting faster often
means taking things slower (at least initially) to
enhance your efficiency in the water as there's a real
tendency to try and muscle things and fight the
water:
with the legs dropping down low. This boils down
to the following four factors, all of which affect you
as an Arnie or Arnette:
Breathing
Your tenacious nature often sees you setting off
quite quickly with most things and wanting to get
the job done. Unfortunately in swimming 'the harder
I try, the faster I’ll go' mentality doesn’t work and
often sees you tensing up and holding onto your
breath as a result.
Breath holding:
Holding onto air when your face is in the water is
public enemy number one for attaining an efficient
freestyle stroke. Firstly it adds to that feeling of
tension and turns what should be a very aerobic
activity into a very anaerobic one (i.e. a sprint).
You’d never hold your breath when you’re
performing your land-based sports otherwise they
too would feel very challenging.
Secondly, holding onto your breath adds buoyancy
at the front end of your stroke (chest and torso)
whereas you really need that buoyancy in the hips
and legs. A buoyant torso lifts you up at the front
but sinks your legs down.
Without taking a step back and developing the skill
of exhalation under the water, your legs will always
be more sinky than they should be.
Due to your relatively low body fat percentage and
high lean muscle mass, you’re always going to sit a
little lower in the water than another swimmer
carrying a little more body fat. Your strong, athletic
physique is a real strength on land but in the water
can be a bit of a hindrance – unless we know how to
make it work for you!
To do this we must understand what causes the
human shape to be negatively buoyant in the water
[4]
As simple as this sounds, if there were only one
modification you made to your stroke technique it
should be this – learning to exhale better and be less
focused on rushing through your stroke.
Aside: as we'll show you, your exhalation should
feel like a sigh rather than trying to force it out.
continued on next page.
Head Position
Head position is a very individual thing within
the freestyle stroke. No type is more suited to a
deeper head position looking straight down to
the bottom of the pool than the Arnie. This will
immediately help to lift your hips and legs a
little higher in the water.
We need to be careful not to force this point
though as just by correcting your exhalation in
point 1 can be enough to see substantial
improvements in body position alone.
look at why someone is kicking inefficiently –
why are their legs scissoring so far apart? Why
do they bend so much from the knees when they
kick? Why are their ankles so stiff and
seemingly act like anchors?
However, being able to switch your core on and
hold this part of your body strong whilst you are
working on relaxing the rest of the body can be
quite tricky. If you don't you'll flex through the
We’ll address these factors in the main section of core as you swim:
this guide but often the biggest cause of leg kick
drag is from the legs scissoring apart and acting
like a parachute to drag the swimmer back and
down:
Trying hard to submerge your head in the water
and actively pushing your chest down in the
water will not help either as you’re likely to
overdo this and still be in a similar, tense
position as before. Totally submerging your head
can also have repercussions on your hand entry
into the water as we’ll see in the next point. This
This normally has nothing to do with pure
can then cause major issues with the leg kick.
kicking technique but as a response to the hand
Leg Kick
entry crossing over the centre-line. This crossover throws the hips off and ultimately requires
It is very easy to look at the way a swimmer is
the legs to scissor-kick apart for balance and
kicking and say that this a major source of their
stabilisation.
inefficiency in the water. That swimmer might
then be encouraged to go and spend countless
hours working on their kicking propulsion for
very little gain indeed (even the world’s best
freestylers only generate about 15% of their
entire propulsion from their kick).
If you are an Arnie or an Arnette and have tried
this before, you’ll appreciate that kicking harder
is a lot of very hard work! What we need to do is
being strong here is useful for all sport.
Remove the cross-over and you go a long way
towards fixing the kick.
Core Stability
If you are a true Arnie or Arnette, chances are
you feel pretty confident that you have a strong
core, i.e. abdominals and lower back muscles.
You may have already targeted the fact that
We have put a lot of effort into making this guide as easy to digest and
as visual as possible. However, sometimes you can't beat seeing these
things on video.
Holding yourself strong through the core when
you swim is important to your body position.
Stretching through your core will help to slightly
tilt your pelvis anteriorly which in turn will lift
your bum, hips and legs a little higher in the
water. This all helps to reduce drag.
The challenge here is to do this without tensing
up the whole body – especially the breathing!
One Final Tip
You no longer feel negatively about swimming or even hate it! Just like any sport you turn your
hand to, you can become good at this one too
with a little patience and diligent practice.
So let's get started!
If you haven't yet done so, we highly recommend downloading our
animated swimmer Mr Smooth to your computer:
If you are serious about improving your swimming we'd highly
recommend purchasing the Swim Smooth DVD Boxset. Three disks
packed with explanations, drills, training methods, demonstrations by
Olympic Gold Medallists and open water technique. The ultimate
stroke correction resource when used in tandem with this guide:
This amazing visualisation is supplied to you completely for
free. The download allows you to view his 'ideal' freestyle
stroke from any angle, clearing up any questions you might
have about how the stroke should be performed.
Get it now at: www.swimsmooth.com
Find out more at: www.swimsmooth.com/dvd
[5]
3. ARNIE STROKE CORRECTION PROCESS OVERVIEW
STEP 1: BREATHING
Stroke Correction Introduction
As explained in the previous section, Arnies have a tendency to hold onto your breath under the
water which is one of the lead causes of:
a) feeling like swimming is a lot harder than it should be
b) your legs sinking and dragging behind you (due to your chest being too buoyant - lifting you
up at the front and sinking your legs, an action like a see-saw)
To fix this we need to work on some specific breathing exercises in the development sessions in
the following section. These will be focused on getting you to relax in the water and feel more
comfortable in it. It will also result in raising the hips and legs higher in the water due to a more
even distribution of the body’s buoyancy. Adopt the mantra “breathe-bubble-bubble-breathebubble-bubble-breathe” where the “bubble” coincides with a non-breathing stroke when your face
is in the water. This will remind you to exhale at this point rather than holding your breath.
STEP 2: SYMMETRY
In line with developing a better breathing technique will be developing a more balanced,
symmetrical stroke. This is greatly assisted through bilateral breathing. However, developing
bilateral breathing itself can feel like quite a hard task especially if you’re still holding onto your
breath under the water!
What also makes bilateral breathing quite tricky is the feeling that breathing to your nondominant side just feels so awkward. This can be fixed by better rotation to this side and this will
be addressed in the later steps.
It is very likely you'll feel like skipping this step - but don't! Bilateral breathing is very important
to the Arnie's stroke development.
STEP 3: HEAD POSITION
We need to investigate whether your normal head position is too high. For Arnies, looking
straight down will normally help to lift the hips and legs higher, though every swimmer will need
to experiment a little with this. The adjustment to breathing in Step 1 (exhaling) may result in
enough body position improvement to make a change in head position unnecessary. The height of
head position to choose is very personal - even within this swim type. Having the head higher is
more comfortable and better for open water navigation if body position can be maintained.
In this section we look at the common pitfalls
facing your swim type and how to go about
fixing them. Specific drills and methods will
be explained later during each stroke
development session.
If you’re a Classic Arnie who has had very
little swim coaching, or are new to
swimming in general, then you’ll identify
with this whole guide very strongly.
However, if you have studied stroke
technique or have received some coaching
then you may well have experimented with
some of these areas before.
The thing to point out here is that this guide
is a process as opposed to just trying to
tackle a host of individual aspects of the
stroke and throwing them all together in a
haphazard way. It’s always worth at least
going through this process like a check-list
and ensuring that you feel competent with
each stage before rushing forward to the next
step.
We always need to be mindful of making as
few adjustments as possible to your stroke to
simplify the process. Too many changes and
you will feel inundated with tasks to work on
and things to think about!
The stroke correction steps are in the order in
which we recommend they should be
addressed for your type. Follow the process
and stay centred on just that one area. It's
almost guaranteed you’ll start asking
yourself if everything else is holding up or if
you’re forgetting to make sure you’re still
doing a previous step. Don’t do this, stay
focused on what you are working on and
everything will come together much better.
It is very common to see swimmers being
able to skip quickly through some of the later
steps of this guide because of the positive
impact of the earlier steps on your stroke.
Remember the freestyle stroke is a
continuous chain of kinetic events all linked
together – find the best place to start on
correcting your specific issues and we
simplify the whole process.
Diligently following this guide and getting to
the root cause of an issue rather than just
fixating on the effect will save you much
time and frustration down the line.
continued on next page.
[6]
STEP 4: KICKING TECHNIQUE
STEP 3: HEAD POSITION CONT.
When breathing, Arnies tend to lift their heads too high out of the
water, resulting in their legs dropping down even lower.
Much of what holds Arnies back with your leg kick inefficiencies is due to
Step 5 below (hand entry). However, it is worth briefly looking at how to
improve your general leg kick technique even before we look at hand entry
and alignment in the water. What we can work on here is developing a
straighter leg kick action (rather than bending excessively from the knees)
and also addressing your ankle and foot position.
A straighter leg kick can be easily fixed by focusing on squeezing your
gluteus muscles (i.e. your bum) gently and thinking about kicking more
from the hip. This doesn’t want to be stiff or rigid but the pivot point should
definitely be from the hips and not the knees.
We will fix this through a sequence of drills which teach you how to
rotate your legs, hips, shoulder and head / neck as one complete unit
when you go to take a breath. This head / neck roll will ensure that
your head stays low in the water and your hips and legs stay high.
The cause of lifting your head in this manner is the anxiety or even
desperation to get air in. Because of this, getting better at Step 1
(exhaling and relaxing) will impact positively on Step 3.
Getting better mobility in the ankle to allow you to point your feet out
behind you in a more streamlined position will take a little more work. Much
of this ankle stiffness is related to the Arnie's previous sporting background
(land based sports) which tend to require good ankle stability. Better ankle
flexibility can be achieved here with some specific stretches that you can
perform prior to each session. Also, the use of fins (flippers) during training
sessions will actually assist in stretching your ankles and so improve you
kick efficiency. Some coaches believe the opposite, that fins are bad for
swimmers because they mask an inefficient kick - in the case of the Arnie
this is not true.
STEP 5: HAND ENTRY
Nearly all Arnies will have some degree of cross-over in their strokes, especially if you only breathe to one side, resulting in a lop-sided stroke. This asymmetry
then causes a lack of balance in the stroke – the hips are thrown off, your body bends in the middle (like a banana) and the result is a significant scissoring of the
leg kick which results in a huge amount of drag:
To fix this issue we need to work on ensuring that the middle finger of each hand extends directly forward in front of the same shoulder. We’ll work on this by
addressing your general posture in the water and remembering to keep your shoulders back and chest forwards which will improve your alignment automatically.
Better hand entry will then result in less snaking of the hips, less “banana-rama” through the core and less scissoring of the legs. The
result: a much better profile through the water reducing your drag. You can further keep tabs on this scissoring of the legs by ensuring
that your big toes brush gently past each other with each kick – if you can feel this happening every time they pass then you know
you’re not scissoring!
We highly recommend the use of Finis Freestyler hand paddles to work on your hand entry and alignment in the water. As we'll show
you, they will fall off if you’re still crossing over and will really help you to develop your alignment.
Crossing-over at the front of your stroke is also bad for the shoulders and can often lead to significant shoulder pain if left uncorrected.
The cross-over is almost always connected with a thumb-first entry into the water which is one of the leading causes of shoulder
impingement so it makes sense to be pre-cautionary and correct this at an early stage.
Finis Freestylers In Action
[7]
STEP 6: BODY ROLL
Arnies tend to be a little flat in the water, using their strength to muscle their way through the
wet stuff. As we work to correct your hand entry into the water with some specific postural
drills we'll simultaneously be introducing and developing your body rotation (or roll) at the
same time. Improving this aspect of your stroke will ensure that each stroke becomes longer
and smoother so that breathing to your non-dominant side feels that much easier. This in turn
will ensure better balance and more symmetry in the stroke which can only be a good thing for
swimming straighter in the open water!
For Arnies, Swim Smooth highly recommend the use of the Finis Tech Toc body roll tool which is a
unique device that is worn around the waist / hips and features a cylindrical tube containing a large
ball bearing. The ball bearing moves from one end of the tube to the other (on every stroke) if the
hips are rotating well enough, making a loud audible click which you can hear and feel. This
instantaneous biofeedback on whether or not you are rotating well enough (no noise = not enough
roll) is excellent for Arnies who may find body rotation feels quite alien within their stroke at first.
Finis Tech Toc
STEP 7: ARM RECOVERY
Being quite strongly built, it is likely that your upper body flexibility might not be all that it could be. Enhancing your body rotation in Step 6 will ensure
that your arm clears the surface of the water each time quite well but you can also improve on this further with some dedicated stretching, targeting the
upper back and shoulders.
We will also apply a new drill called 'Broken Arrow' that is targeted very much towards the Arnie and Arnette Swim Type to assist development of better
mobility in the upper back and shoulders.
STEP 8: INITIAL CATCH AND PULL
For the undeveloped Arnie, due to the cross-over within your stroke, as your hand enters the water the elbow will be hitting the surface at the same time as
your hand enters. This is undesirable as it means that as you start to catch the water and pull through you'll still be over the centre line with quite a straight
arm. A good catch involves bending the elbow early on and pressing the water back behind you. Hopefully by now you've gone a long way to correcting
this cross over within your stroke but it's still likely that your arm will still be in the habit of catching and pulling through too straight.
The issue caused by a straight-arm pull is that it presses down on the water and this results in a lifting of the front of the body upwards. Because of the
see-saw effect, this is another source of the legs dropping down.
You probably relied on this lifting motion in your stroke to get the head out of the water to take a breath. So if Steps 1, 3, 5 and 6 are solidly in place then
you are already less likely to be pressing down with that straight arm.
To develop your initial catch and pull we will use some dedicated sculling exercises to enhance your feel for the water and have you pressing water back
behind you rather than down. This should never feel like a hugely powerful movement but more of a caress. It seems a little strange because you’d think
that your power and strength would be of use for your stroke. However, pull too hard and it’s likely your arm will just slip through the water without ever
really feeling it. Toning down this need to pull hard will pay real dividends - it’s all about control.
As we'll see, using a Pull Buoy to isolate the front of the stroke and develop your bent elbow catch will really help with this.
www.swimtypes.com
[8]
© Swim Smooth 2010
STEP 9: STROKE RATE
Due to that rushed "I’ve got to get there now” attitude that you may
have had when you first started swimming, it’s likely that your stroke
rate is a touch on the high side – like you’re spinning your arms through
the water without any real catch and feel for the water. By addressing
Steps 6 and 8 above you’ll already have started to slow your stroke rate
down a touch in favour of a slightly longer, smoother stroke. Getting
the right balance between stroke length and stroke rate is always
important but in the short-term the focus should be on slowing things
down a slightly and getting a little more reach with each stroke.
If you own a Wetronome, an excellent way of achieving this is to set the stroke rate function at 5 to 8 SPM (strokes per minute) slower than
you’d normally swim.
STEP 10: PACING
One thing you’ve probably already noticed is how you have a pretty decent
ability to swim fast for a short distance - even when you were first learning the
freestyle stroke. This is due primarily to your athletic ability. However, for
longer distance swims, taming this power in favour of a more even-paced effort
will be very important.
All of the points above will already help assist you with this change to your
stroke and attitude towards your swimming but it’s always worth keeping a
check on this. Practicing some specific pace-awareness sessions will really help
you here. The damage that you do to yourself in the first 25 to 50m of a swim
when starting off too fast should not be underestimated – it can have a huge
impact on how well you are then able to back that up with subsequent laps.
An excellent way to develop this is to use a Wetronome pacing device set to the lap interval function at a pace per 100m you’d like to be able
to maintain, say for a longer swim of 1000m.
STEP 11: OPEN WATER SKILLS
By addressing all of the previous steps you should be well placed for swimming well in the open water:
- You should be more relaxed with your breathing and not feeling quite so anxious.
- You will be more symmetrical through your improved ability to breathe bilaterally and better hand entry. This will really help you swim
straight in open water.
- Your body position will be higher in the water and more horizontal, therefore creating less drag.
- Your ability to pace yourself over longer distances will be much improved, which will be especially useful during a triathlon event where
you’re trying to manage your efforts appropriately for the subsequent bike and run disciplines.
www.swimtypes.com
[9]
© Swim Smooth 2010
Arnie Development Session 1
This is a great short technique session you can repeat as often as you like. It's not hard
swimming but it's very important for your stroke. Fit it in during a work lunchtime!
The session kicks off with breathing technique
exercises. Really relax and let go of all the
stresses of the day during this gentle start.
WARM-UP:
3x Sink-Downs
200m or 4x 50m Freestyle of Breathe-Bubble-Bubble-Breathe
3x Sink-Downs
Steps 1 & 2
200m Pull Buoy Or Fins Freestyle Bubble-Bubble-Stretch
'
'
THEN:
4x100m Freestyle
(1) Breathing 3/2/3/2
(2)
reathing left side only
reathing right side only
(3) Popeye Drill
means up the pool
means back down
the pool
Step 3
(4) Eyes looking straight down at
bottom of pool.
NEXT:
2x 20 seconds Ankle Stretches
4x Torpedo Push offs and Swim Back Toes-Tapping
200m Pull Buoy
Bottom
Toes Pointed Behind
Toes Pointing To
Step 4
100m Super Smooth Freestyle - simply feeling streamlined
OPTIONAL:
2, 3 or 400m Freestyle using Fins and Excellent Posture shoulders back, chest forwards.
If owned, swim with Freestyler Paddles and point the way
forward with the paddle's spear tip.
All of these methods and drills are
described in detail on pgs 11-13.
www.swimtypes.com
Step 5
Finis Freestyler Paddles are an
amazing tool for Arnies - unlike
normal paddles they really help you
become straight in the water.
[10]
© Swim Smooth 2010
sink downs
Most people think that buoyancy is a good
thing for freestyle swimming. It is, when it is
evenly distributed along the body, allowing
them to lie horizontally in the water without
their legs sinking. Many swimmers have a
problem with their legs dragging low in the
water, which is very inefficient. When
looking for the cause of this, the first port of
call is whether a swimmer is holding their
breath under the water. We see this in at least
90% of the swimmers that we analyze - many
having been taught to swim this way.
However, when do you ever hold your breath
in any other sport? You don’t. Doing so
creates tension, adds to anxiety and panic, and
causes the chest and torso to sit high whilst
the legs drop down low.
All Swim Types will benefit from this Sink
Down exercise because it lifts your legs up
and helps you feel more relaxed, comfortable
and aerobic when you swim. You may put
down the fact that swimming feels aerobically
challenging to be due to lack of swim specific
fitness - which it could be of course.
However, we should first address how well
you exhale in the water before making any
judgment calls on that.
How To Sink Down:
Ideally for this exercise you need to be in a
pool with a depth of between 1½ and 2½m (5
to 8 feet). If you are a little nervous of deeper
water, perform this exercise within reach of
the wall. If you are totally comfortable then
just scull or tread water about an arm's reach
away.
method that works well for you and helps you
increasingly relax, do three or four Sink
Downs in a row. Never hold your breath
doing this exercise - either inhale above water
or exhale underwater - no pausing!
Now set off for a few steady laps of freestyle
and think only about your exhalation - exhale
in the same manner as during the Sink Downs
whenever your face is in the water.
What If I Feel Panicky Doing This?
In this case employ the services of a partner
or 'buddy' who is in the water with you and
can support and assist you. Also hold onto the
side of the pool during the first few attempts
as your face goes under the water. Blow out
and as you start to get rid of some of that air,
you should feel like it’s easier to keep your
head down in the water as you’re starting to
lose some buoyancy. When you feel less
buoyant, recognize the point at which that
occurs and keep blowing out for just a few
seconds longer. You may need to blow out a
little quicker but all the time keep it smooth
and relaxed like you are sighing.
Once you feel comfortable with this tipping
point between buoyancy and sinking, let go of
the wall and see if you can sink down without
holding on. Progress to doing the exercise
without holding on.
If this exercise does feel challenging for you,
it shows that this is an area of your stroke that
needs some attention. Don’t give up - it will
get better and even if you feel very buoyant to
begin with, you should be able to sink down
to the bottom of the pool once you have learnt
to exhale efficiently enough.
Take a big, deep breath of air in and then let
out a big, relaxed sigh and see if you can sink
down to the bottom of the pool. Remember to
simply relax your arms down by your side, go
all limp and avoid the temptation to keep your
head above the water. Just relax and sink
down - it's a bit like collapsing on the sofa at
the end of a hard day.
Once you developed your exhalation,
you can now look at building the
rhythm behind an efficient bilateral
breathing stroke. Bilateral breathing is
where you breathe to both sides,
usually every three strokes.
What stops most people breathing
bilaterally is the feeling they’re going
to run out of air and that it feels
awkward. That awkward feeling is
caused by a lack of body roll to the
non-breathing side.
This simple little exercise requires you
to literally say “BUBBLE” very
loosely in the water each time your
hand enters. This sounds very basic but
by saying “BUBBLE” you’ll be
exhaling on each stroke (especially
important on the first) and also helping
yourself with the timing of the stroke.
Push-off for a lap of normal freestyle,
take a breath in (to either side) and then
say “BUBBLE” as soon as your first
hand enters the water after the breathe,
“BUBBLE” on the second hand and
then rotate your head to breathe in
again on the third stroke. This forms
the “BREATHE-BUBBLE-BUBBLEBREATHE” mantra that you repeat to
yourself as you swim.
After trying this a few times you
should start to find it unnecessary to
say “BUBBLE” into the water, so once
you have the rhythm set, just think it.
Remember, keep that exhalation like a
steady sigh! This exercise is
particularly useful for those developing
their bilateral breathing and remember,
if you take in some water to that nondominant breathing side, ensure you
are rotating well to that side and it will
soon feel easier.
Keep that long, steady stream of bubbles
going and then rise back up to the surface by
pushing off the bottom of the pool. Don’t stay
down too long and avoid gasping for air when
you come back up - just make it a nice, easy
inhale. Experiment by exhaling just through
your mouth (like you’re sighing), just through
your nose (like you’re humming) or a
combination of the two. Once you find a
www.swimtypes.com
breathe-bubble-bubble-breathe!
[11]
© Swim Smooth 2010
breathing as 3/2/3/2...
A nice stepping-stone for those who struggle with bilateral
breathing is the 3/2/3/2 exercise. Push-off for a lap of normal
freestyle, take three strokes and breathe on the third, then two
strokes and breathe on the second, then three strokes and breathe
on the third etc.
pull buoy - or 'pull'
Place a foam pull buoy between your legs (up as high into your crotch as is
comfortable) and then swim normal freestyle with your legs held straight and toes
pointed. Don't kick with a pull buoy - that is cheating - instead allow the buoyancy
of the pull-buoy to lift your legs up.
By doing this you reduce the average time between breaths versus
breathing every three strokes every time. You also get to work on
your non-dominant breathing side by taking two breaths to that
side in quick succession.
As you perform this exercise, emphasize your body roll to the
non-dominant breathing side. Practising this exercise regularly
should gradually make bilateral breathing much easier for you.
Another version of this exercise is to pick a side of the pool that
you always have to breathe to. For example, on your way down
the pool you might be just breathing to your left but on the way
back you have to just breathe to your right.
Developing your non-dominant side breathing - as hard as it
might be initially - really will pay dividends in developing your
symmetry in the water.
popeye drill
or 'sneaky breathing'
How does Popeye chew his spinach? With his mouth angled
strangely off to one side. Shape your mouth like this when you go
to take a breath in and you’ll be able to clear your mouth out of
the water much more easily and without lifting your head so high:
Whenever swimming with a pull buoy it's always good to focus on maintaining
good body roll. This is because most swimmers become flatter when 'pulling'.
The added buoyancy of the pull buoy will lift your legs higher and you should feel
much less aerobically challenged.
Arnies and Arnettes tend to love pull buoys as it masks their poorer body position
in the water. Kicktastics find it frustrating that they are suddenly slower as they
cannot use their leg kick. If you are a Kicktastic, try looking a touch further
forward in the water to balance out your body position and avoid any feeling of
being off balance or uncoordinated.
For all Swim Types, avoid being too aggressive with your catch and pull through,
doing so will cause you to slip and lose some of that feel for the water that we’re
trying to develop.
Use the pull buoy in combination with the sculling and doggy paddle drills to
isolate your arms as the sole source of propulsion.
sea anchors
Use this drill to test how much a lack of ankle flexibility may be holding you back
when you swim.
Lifting your head just causes your bum and legs to drop down
low. Think of this as quite a quick, almost 'sneaky' movement and
aim to keep one eye in the water and one eye out, breathing
across the pool.
Your head creates a bow-wave as you cut through the water and
doing so creates a small trough behind it which you’re aiming to
breathe into. Lift your head too high and it disappears:
Using your pull buoy, swim with your toes pointed back behind you as streamlined
as possible. This is called plantar flexion and is akin to how a ballerina might point
her toes. Swim like this until you reach the halfway point of the lap and then
purposefully point your toes down to the bottom of the pool. This is called dorsi
flexion and is the position your feet would be in if you stood flat on the ground.
Whilst this dorsi-flexed position might seem extreme, many swimmers with teamsports backgrounds have a severe lack of flexibility in their ankles. As you’ll
experience when your legs immediately drop down in the water, this creates a huge
amount of drag:
Try a few laps and find that point with your ankles and feet where you feel relaxed
and streamlined and then aim to swim this way normally.
www.swimtypes.com
[12]
© Swim Smooth 2010
ankle / calf stretches
torpedo push-offs
+ swim back
Ankle and foot flexibility is very often a problem for Arnies. Introduce
these three stretches to gradually improve your ankle / calf flexibility:
An efficient kicking technique doesn’t have to be overly propulsive. This
exercise is great at developing the balance between propulsion and
reducing drag.
1) Place a cushion or mat under your knees and kneel on the ground
(barefoot) with your toes curled underneath you. Sit gently back on your
heels. You should feel a stretch under the foot along your arch. If this
stretch is too extreme and results in cramping, don’t sit right back on your
heels. Equally, be careful with your knees as well if you have issues there.
This stretches the plantar fascia connective tissue in the sole of the foot
which is often tight in those with poor ankle mobility:
Push off the wall, one hand on top of the other in a torpedo position and
really stretch out about 50cm under the water. Aim to kick as hard as you
can and as fast as you can until you run out of breath and then stop:
2) Keeping a similar position as Stretch # 1, place your feet flat down on
the ground with the top of your foot flat and tucked under your butt. This
stretches the front of the shin and works antagonistically with Stretch # 1
to ensure better mobility for pointing your toes. If you find this
comfortable, try very slowly lifting one knee off the ground with your
hand and you should feel a subtle increase with the stretch:
Your focus should be on long, straight legs with your toes pointed back
behind you and turned slightly in (pigeon-toed) so your big toes rub past
each other with each kick. You should be able to cover 7 to 20 meters like
this. When you stop you’ll notice how hard you are now breathing and
how rapidly your heart is beating. Kicking like this with normal freestyle
is very fatiguing indeed and would only suit a sprint event.
3) Perform a standard calf stretch against a wall with one foot back and
one foot close towards the wall like you’re trying to push it over. Keep the
heel of your back foot down on the ground and feel the gentle stretch
through the calf muscle. Swap over and try it on the other side.
Now turn around and swim back to the wall with normal freestyle and just
focus on very minimal effort from the legs but feeling like the big toes are
still brushing past each other. Brushing your big toes is a very simple
physical cue to recognize when your legs are staying together.
When you push and drive off the wall in a torpedo position, you should
feel like the stretch goes through the whole body (thinking of being
stretched out like a stick of liquorice) particularly in the core region of the
abdominal muscles and lower back.
As soon as they start swimming, most people tend to forget this stretch
and go back to a ‘slumped’ mid-section, which results in articulation in
the middle of the body - snaking. Focus on maintaining a good stretch in
this region and at the same time slightly tilt the pelvis and squeeze your
bum. This will cause you to sit much higher in the water and dramatically
reduce your drag.
www.swimtypes.com
[13]
© Swim Smooth 2010
Arnie Development Session 2
This session contains a mix of technique work focusing on lengthening out your stroke and
aerobic swimming working on your efficiency over distance.
The same warmup as Session 1 - if
you did 4x50 last
time, aim for the
200m this time.
WARM-UP:
3x Sink-Downs
200m or 4x 50m Freestyle of Bubble-Bubble-Breathe
3x Sink-Downs
Steps 1 & 2
200m Pull Buoy or Fins Freestyle Bubble-Bubble-Stretch
THEN:
4x100m With Fins
Kick on Side: Left
Kick on Side: Right
200m normal freestyle (no fins) feeling streamlined
4x100m With Fins:
6/1/6
Freestyle
Steps 5 & 6
If you have an empty lane, try 6/1/6 with your eyes closed!
MAIN SET:
4 or 5x 200m using a Wetronome at 5 SPM less than your
natural stroke rate. If you don't own a Wetronome, focus on
long smooth strokes.
Steps 9 & 10
COOL DOWN:
3x Sink Downs
Step 3
100m swimming like Mr Smooth!
New methods and drills are described in detail on pg 15.
A Wetronome sits by your ear
and beeps a stroke rate to time
your strokes.
Remember: Focus On Getting Air Out, Not In
Whether you exhale from your mouth, nose or a combination of the two is not
important. What is essential is that you exhale the whole time your face is in
the water. If you hold your breath and then suddenly and forcefully exhale,
you will still be exhaling when you should be inhaling and so receive a much
smaller breath of fresh air than you need.
Deceptively powerful, this little
marvel lets you take control of
your rhythm & timing.
www.swimtypes.com
[14]
© Swim Smooth 2010
bubble-bubble-stretch
kicking on side
Much like the breathe-bubble-bubble-breathe mantra but this time place
more emphasis on what you are doing with the lead-arm when you go to
take a breath in.
This drill involves kicking on your side - perfectly at 90° with your lower arm
outstretched and the other arm by your side:
If someone’s stroke is going to fall apart it’ll do so when they go to breathe
in. At this point in the stroke all you’re thinking about is “give me that
air!”. However, if you place more emphasis on holding the stroke together
at this point by stretching forward, this will keep the rhythm of the stroke
together. Plus you have a subtly longer window to breathe in for, making
the whole stroke that much more relaxed.
Most people’s rhythm when they swim bilaterally is “stroke-stroke-dropstroke-stroke-drop” where the “drop” coincides with the lead arm
collapsing as they go to take a breath. This lack of support makes breathing
much harder than it needs to be.
By thinking “bubble-bubble-stretch” instead you will ensure that the lead
arm provides support whilst you’re breathing in.
This simulates the position the body will be in when you go to take a breath,
albeit exaggerated to 90° as opposed to the norm of 30 to 45°.
This is best done with a pair of fins on, providing you with propulsion and
allowing you to stay relaxed. If kicking with your left arm outstretched, your
right arm should be down at your hip like it’s resting in a front pocket and your
chest and stomach looking perfectly across the pool. Your eyes should be
looking down past your armpit (even though your body is rotated) and you
should be blowing a long stream of continuous bubbles.
To breathe in, just tilt your chin to the side enough to clear your face out of the
water and then return to looking down and exhaling.
We are looking to improve the support from the lead hand, to make breathing
much easier. To do this, think about improving your posture as you kick by
drawing your shoulders back and pushing your chest forward. This will
immediately straighten you up and is a great exercise for those who cross-over
at the front of the stroke when they swim.
6/1/6
Rather than feeling like you are leaning on that lead arm and dropping your
elbow - which would result in it sinking - aim to keep the elbow higher than the
wrist and the wrist higher than the finger tips:
You can advance the Kicking On Side exercise one stage further and start
to build the freestyle stroke back-up by swapping sides with one arm stroke
every time you need to take a breath.
This is a great exercise for working on body rotation and also for the
timing of your stroke. With timing, the challenge is to keep the lead arm
extended until the recovering arm catches it up. If you find this difficult,
try holding a Vitamin tablet tube or something similar out in front of you
with the lead arm. Use it as a relay baton making sure it always stays out in
front of your head as you swap from hand to hand.
Bambinos and Arnies will find the
Vitamin Tube useful as will the
more unrefined Swinger types
who struggle with good stroke
timing.
This is a great position to be in to set up for a good catch and pull through.
Try doing one lap on one side and then another lap on the other side. Work out
which side feels best and then aim to mirror what you’re doing with this side
with your non-dominant side.
As simple as this exercise is, it can work wonders for your body awareness in
the water. If you’re really confident you can try doing it with your eyes closed so long as your posture and alignment is good, you should still be able to keep
straight. Be wary of walls, lane ropes and other swimmers when doing this!
www.swimtypes.com
[15]
This drill is called 6-1-6 in Swim
Smooth World as you kick on the
side for six kicks, take one stroke
and then kick on the other side for
six kicks.
It's a great drill for alignment - if you start zigzagging down the pool
you’re probably not thinking about your posture and allowing that lead arm
to drift across your centre-line.
© Swim Smooth 2010
Arnie Development Session 3
Some faster swimming in this session. As an Arnie you have raw-power to spare over the
100m reps. Pace these so that you can maintain the same speed throughout the set!
WARM-UP:
200m Easy Freestyle in Fins Breathing 3/2/3/2
100m Pull Buoy: Bubble-Bubble-Stretch
1 or 2x
Steps 1, 2 & 3
100m Easy Freestyle: Popeye Breathing
200m Pull Buoy or Fins Freestyle B-B-Stretch
THEN:
4x Torpedo Push offs and Swim Back Toes-Tapping
3x Sink-Downs
Step 4
CHOOSE ONE MAIN SET:
Set 1:
3x 100m + 30s recovery
2x 200m + 30s
Whichever
1x 300m + 30s
main set
you choose,
2x 200m + 30s
swim each
2x 100m + 30s
repetition at
100m + 30s
the same
200m + 30s
pace per
300m + 30s
100m!
400m + 30s
200m
1 or 2x fast
Set2:
2x fast
Set 3:
1x fast
Steps 9 & 10
COOL DOWN:
200m fins
Broken Arrow
Pause for two
seconds and
then break the
arrow by
bending your
elbow. Then
spear in.
Pace Judgement
One of the keys to improving your swim speed at any
distance over 100m is to develop an innate sense of
pace judgement. It's amazing how easy you have to
swim over the first 25, 50 or 100m of a set to avoid
blowing up further on. Keep an eye on the pace clock
at your pool and make sure you don't set off too fast.
It's very easy to do and a bad habit to get into.
Full
description on
page 17.
www.swimtypes.com
Step 7
asy Freestyle
[16]
© Swim Smooth 2010
broken arrow
The Broken Arrow drill is a new drill that we’ve designed to help those swimmers who tend to have limited upper body flexibility, especially in the neck,
shoulders and upper back. We recommend you use fins and kick on your side as you would do with the 6/1/6 exercise. As you’re doing this, slowly raise
your arm straight up so it points to the sky:
Pause here for 1 or 2 seconds and then “break the arrow” of your arm by allowing the elbow to now bend and the arm to then spear into the water in a nice,
smooth and controlled manner. This straighter arm recovery allows those with poor flexibility to get more arm clearance over the top of the water and is
especially useful for open water swimming when developing a straighter arm recovery for wearing a wetsuit and getting through chop.
Perform the exercise in a similar fashion to the 6/1/6 drill, with the emphasis being on what the recovering arm is doing more than on body rotation. When
you go straight into normal freestyle after this drill, feel a sensation of looseness in the shoulders and upper back as you swim with a slightly higher arm
recovery.
scull #1
In order to better feel the water at the front of the stroke we can try some sculling. This is simply an exercise to build up your proprioception for what the water
feels like. Once you have this feeling you’re then better set for catching the water more efficiently as you go into your stroke.
Perform Scull #1 in a prone position (head up), arms out-stretched as though hands have just entered the water at the front of the stroke. The legs trail behind
with a small flutter kick or better still using a pull buoy without kicking. Gently scull the hands in and out together as though mixing hot and cold water with the
hands about 30cm (1ft) beneath the surface.
Try to raise your chest and shoulders up in the water. Always keep your finger-tips below your wrists and your wrists below your elbows to create forward
motion. If you don’t move anywhere (or even go backwards) the chances are you’re dropping your elbows and wrists - pushing the water away from you and so
pushing you backwards. Many people drop their wrists in this manner in their full stroke - especially when trying to glide.
Remember, this is not breast stroke - you don't scoop the water back behind you. By changing the angle and pitch of your hand you can generate forward motion
simply by moving the hands left and right.
We normally perform sculling drills for a short distance, such as 15m, then immediately start into full stroke. Tune into that feeling of the water on the palms
and fingers during the drill and then maintain it when transitioning into swimming.
www.swimtypes.com
[17]
© Swim Smooth 2010
3x upper body stretches
Some swimmers and triathletes are very stiff in their neck, upper back and shoulders. Exercises which develop the chest muscles (e.g. bench press in the
gym) would be better replaced by exercises that improve the ability to retract the shoulder blades together and back (i.e. seated upright rowing or lateral
pull down). These exercises ensure a better balance between the muscles at the front of the shoulder and the muscles at the back, thus improving posture.
These muscle groups can be improved for mobility with these three simple stretches:
Pectoral Stretch
Standing close to a wall, bend your elbow to 90 degrees and press your elbow and forearm
up against the wall. Slowly turn your upper body away from the wall and think about
drawing your shoulder blades together and back. Don’t force this stretch, but feel the
stretch down through the front of the chest, repeat on both sides and hold for
approximately 20 seconds.
Latissumus Dorsi Stretch
Kneel down on the ground and then reach forward with both arms and lay your
hands on the ground with your head bowed down like you are praying. Gently
lean back on your heels and feel the stretch under the arm pits. Hold for
approximately 20 seconds, sit up and shake off and then repeat.
Upper Back Stretch
This requires co-ordination but is brilliant for those with stiff upper backs. Lay on your front with both arms reaching up above your head. Keeping your
left hand reaching forwards in front of your head, move your right arm to your side so that it creates a right angle with the left arm. Now, curl your toes
under and then starting with the right arm, peel this off the ground and roll it back over to the over side whilst keeping the left arm down and the feet
where they are:
This will create a twist through the torso. Now balance this by bringing the right leg up to 90 degrees as well and feel the stretch running from your right
biceps and shoulder, through you upper and lower back, down through the glutes, hamstrings and calf - it really is a great exercise.
Hold for 30 seconds and take some nice, deep breaths in this position feeling like you are sinking into the ground. Slowly return to your starting position
and then try again going the opposite way. Be very careful with this exercise if you have a bad back - if in doubt, go without!
www.swimtypes.com
[18]
© Swim Smooth 2010
Arnie Development Session 4
Some open water skills development is included in this session to prepare you for racing
without a black-line! You'll benefit from this even if you don't intend to race in open water.
WARM-UP:
500m Continuous Swim. Aim to pace this evenly.
Focus on exhalation the whole time and relax!
Steps 1, 2 & 3
THEN:
4x 50m as 15m Scull #1 + 35m Freestyle
2x 100m Front Quadrant Freestyle - Long and Smooth
Steps 2, 8 & 9
200m Steady Freestyle, Long Strokes
(Wetronome set to natural stroke rate less
5 SPM if you have one)
MAIN SET:
Swim this with a partner if possible:
2x fast
300m drafting - start quickly and then settle
in, controlling breathing. Learn how quickly
you can go and still be able to settle in.
Tricky for an Arnie to get right!
Step 9, 10 & 11
4x 50m as 25m fast + 25m easy
(take 15 seconds rest between each 50m)
COOL DOWN:
200m Fins
6/3/6
Step 6
Freestyle
25 Fast + 25 Easy
Front Quadrant Swimming is the best stroke timing for the vast majority
Simply perform 25m fast off the wall and follow
immediately with 25m nice and easy for recovery.
Don’t go eye-balls out, just maintain your form and
technique as you do it.
of swimmers.
Front quadrant means both arms pass in front of the head - one above and one
below the water. It doesn't mean they fully catch-up at the front of the stroke as
many people believe - that would cause a loss of efficiency from the large
deadspot it creates.
www.swimtypes.com
[19]
© Swim Smooth 2010
6/3/6
finis freestylers
One step along from 6/1/6 is 6/3/6 . It's as simple as copying all
the elements of the 6/1/6 drill up until you go to take a breath
in. At which point take three continuous strokes of normal
freestyle and pause on the other side to take a breath and stretch
out again.
This is a great exercise for developing rotation, allowing you to
start to transfer this rotation in to the normal stroke and to
always feel like one hand is supporting you in front of your
head. That's especially important when you go to take a breath.
By working on your alignment with the side kicking exercises and then visualizing
your middle finger extending forward in front of the same shoulder you should be now
starting to rectify that cross-over.
It’s always nice to know just how well you’re doing with this in real time. The Finis
Freestyler Paddles were made with this very idea in mind. They are a technique paddle
which will fall off as your hand enters into the water if you are anything but straight
and aligned:
Don’t cut yourself short of breath on this exercise and if needs
be, shorten the kicking proportion slightly so that you don’t
have to rush through the three strokes before breathing.
This immediate biofeedback lets you make 'on the fly' adjustments to your stroke
while you swim. Don’t cheat and grip the outside, just keep the palm flat and aim to
spear into the water with a slight emphasis on keeping the nose of the paddle down by
applying a subtle bit of pressure underneath the fingertips.
If you can do a lap and keep them on, you know you’re heading in the right direction.
Because these aren’t a power paddle and they help you correct your cross-over
technique, they should reduce stress on the shoulder rather than increase it like a
conventional paddle. As such they are great for those swimmers trying to correct their
stroke to avoid injury.
wetronome mk2
A Wetronome is optional to the successful completion of this guide but is of such value to Bambinos it's
worth covering how to use one here. The Wetronome Mk2 helps you work on the rhythm and timing of
your stroke and also your pacing per 100m.
The device has two modes: 1) Stroke Rate Mode where it beeps to you every time you should take a stroke. 2) LapInterval Mode where it beeps every time you should hit the end of the pool, to help you pace the speed of your swims.
Find out two things before using your Wetronome:
1. Your Natural or Base Stroke Rate
To find your natural stroke rate, you need to swim continuously for approximately five minutes at a moderately hard speed (fast but not quite flat-out). Ask a
friend or coach to count how many strokes you take in fifteen seconds (counting each arm as a stroke). Now multiply this value by four to give you a Strokes
Per Minute (SPM) value.
Every swimmer will see some variability in their stroke rate depending on the intensity and distance of their swim, however the test above will give you a good
base rate to work from to develop your distance freestyle stroke technique. The Wetronome can be used to experiment with stroke rates above and below your
base rate to define your most optimal balance between stroke rate and stroke length. Find out more here: www.swimsmooth.com/strokerate and take the stroke
rate ramp test here: www.swimsmooth.com/ramptest
2. Your Threshold Pace
Your lactate threshold pace is the key determinant of performance in distance swimming speed - or in plain English: the higher your lactate threshold pace, the
faster you will swim in races. If you know what this pace is, you can target it and improve it, to move you up the field. Since taking blood samples is expensive,
invasive and very tricky in a pool, we take this concept and define another way to find this threshold pace.
At Swim Smooth we define a working threshold at the pace you can swim 1000m to 1500m in a time trial - we call this Critical Swim Speed (CSS). A long
time trial like this is tiring and mentally challenging, so we suggest using a special calculation based on shorter 200m and 400m time trials to calculate CSS
speed. For the calculation and test method see: www.swimsmooth.com/css (if you swim in a yard pool, simply enter your 200/400yd times and it will return
you pace in time/100yd)
To improve your threshold, swim your quality sets at this speed with short recoveries. It's easy to set off faster than this, or swim quicker with more recovery
time but this trains different energy systems and isn't optimum for your distance freestyle development. Find out more and see some sample sets at:
www.swimsmooth.com/css
www.swimtypes.com
[20]
© Swim Smooth 2010
FINIS FREESTYLER PADDLES
4. SWIM
SMOOTH
TOOLS
FOR
ARNIES
These unique paddles are a fantastic tool to help get you straight in the water
and avoid crossover - arguably the Arnie's biggest stroke flaw.
For more information and to purchase: www.swimsmooth.com/freestyler
WETRONOME Mk2
Slow your stroke rate a touch in a controlled manner to lengthen out your stroke
and become more efficient. Use the new Lap-Interval mode to improve your
pacing skills and keep your ballistic tendencies under wraps!
Arnies and Arnettes are in a position of
responding well to many of the Stroke
Development tools on the market. We'd
highly recommend these special tools to
help you develop your freestyle stroke.
For more information and to purchase: www.swimsmooth.com/wetronome
SWIM SMOOTH DVD BOXSET
FINIS TECH TOC
If you are interested in more information about the freestyle stroke and how
A neat tool for Arnies to tune into an alien
to perform it, our Swim Smooth DVD Boxset is the Gold Standard resource on
concept for them: body rotation. Receive
the market. Full of clear explanations about the freestyle stroke and great
immediate bio-feedback in the form of an
visuals - includes demonstration swims by Olympic swimmers.
audible click if you rotate sufficiently. Helps
lengthen out your stroke and make you
more efficient through the water.
Includes demonstrations of most of the drills described in this guide.
For more information and to purchase: www.swimsmooth.com/dvd
For more information and to purchase:
www.swimsmooth.com/finis_techtoc
www.swimtypes.com
[21]
© Swim Smooth 2010
5. GET MORE FROM SWIM SMOOTH
Swim Smooth offers you many other ways that you can improve your swimming.
OUR BLOG: WWW.FEELFORTHEWATER.COM
Feel For The Water is our hints and tips blog which is delivered straight to your email inbox. Subscribe to it and once a week we'll send
you advice on how to develop your swimming. With a readership of over twenty thousand, it's a fun and easily digestible way to learn
more about fast efficient swimming: www.feelforthewater.com
As a free joining gift to the blog you'll receive the very cool Mr Smooth Animation for your desktop. Understand an ideal freestyle stroke:
OUR TRIATHLON TRAINING PLANS
OUR INTERNET FORUM:
Need a structured training plan to get your swim ready for your
WWW.SWIMSMOOTHFORUM.COM
triathlon season? Use one of our Waterproof Training Plans to
Our forum is a communal site where you can ask
take poolside every session:
questions and chat with other swimmers. You'll also get
access to Swim Smooth coaches who will answer your
questions directly and give you the benefit of their
expertise.
Check it out here: www.swimsmoothforum.com
Each training plan contains 35 Sessions to develop your stroke
and swim specific fitness training for your perfect race. Find out
more: www.swimsmooth.com/trainingplans
FEEDBACK
This guide is written and published by
Swim Smooth © 2010.
This guide, or any part herein, may not be reproduced, copied
or distributed in any form, electronic or otherwise.
Swim Smooth, Isfryn, Llangernyw, Abergele, LL22 8PP, UK
www.swimtypes.com
www.swimsmooth.com
If you have any comments or feedback about this
training guide or anything Swim Smooth, please send us
an email to: [email protected]
We're always looking to improve and would love to hear
from you.

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