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Proper form for using a kickboard



 
 
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  #21  
Old December 1st 03, 07:57 AM
Larry Weisenthal
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

As well, the weakness of Larry's argument is that the same form of
argument...

The argument in favor of kickboard training was not simply that most of the
world's greatest coaches continue to use it. That was simply offered to
counter the assertion of one individual coach that, in his personal opinion,
they were not of value.

The argument for incorporating a lot of kickboard training into the
developement of proficient swimmers was specifically stated (and remains
unrefuted):

1. In the absence of a taut lower lumbar arch, the prone human body is
inherently unstable in the water such that "raising the head even one inch will
adversely affect balance."

2. In the presence of a taut lower lumbar arch, the prone human body if very
stable in the water, such that raising the head (or arms, for that matter) does
not adversely affect balance and, properly timed, even improves it.

3. It takes training and practice to be proficient and comfortable maintaining
the lower lumbar arch while still maintaining an active and effective kick
(crucial for sprinting and helpful for middle distance and even distance
swimming). Kickboard training superbly trains the body to do this, in a way
which is difficult to match otherwise.

- Larry
  #22  
Old December 1st 03, 03:42 PM
Totalswimm
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

hard kicking sets were the only
way to go close to HRmax during my training days. Some will argue that a big
VO2max is not that important in swimming, but I tend to think that it cannot
do harm...


Actually the surest way to maximize physiological demands is by using the
entire body intensely. Which also provides neural training that is entirely
neglected by kickboard sets.

And there's no reliable correlation between VO2max and performance. In both
swimming and running, the most economical elite athletes have relatively
unimpressive VO2max scores. It's the less efficient athlete who NEEDS more
physiological capacity to compensate.

Far better to work on your movement economy. Why?
1) When doing a set, can you sense improvement in your VO2max? You can sense --
and even measure in real time -- improvement in your economy, both by feel and
by counting strokes or using swim golf scores.
2) VO2max capacity is usually reached after about 8 weeks of training. Any
gains after that will usually be trivial. Whereas improvements in movement
economy can be far greater and unceasing, for those who focus on them.
Terry
  #23  
Old December 1st 03, 06:04 PM
Pat
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard


Talking about coaching West Point swimmers and fitness swimmers is apples

and
oranges.



- Larry


I think this discussion has gone a bit afield. I asked the question to help
myself learn and train better. Like *most* people on this newsgroup, I am
neither a collegiate swimmer nor an Olympic caliber swimmer. I just want to
improve. Today, I tried Larry's suggestions and used the kickboard for 2
laps. My legs were stressed and quickly became tired. Strange, I though,
as I could get on a bike and ride 100 miles---but use the kickboard for two
laps and my legs are fatigued! I had just finished swimming a mile + one
lap--and that didn't tire me out---but the kickboard did!

Odd as it may sound, I was happy to learn that using a kickboard is
strenuous (when done correctly). I am looking forward to trying the various
hand positions, and I am hoping to see an improvement (not in the kick,
especially) but in the response of my leg muscles to doing this type of
workout. I want to get stronger.

So, thanks everybody for your opinions. We who have not had any coaching
appreciate your views on even the most rudimentary aspect of swimming. Or
maybe I am only speaking for myself. I appreciate advice on swimming.

Pat in TX


  #24  
Old December 1st 03, 06:25 PM
diablo
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard


"Totalswimm" wrote in message
...

2) VO2max capacity is usually reached after about 8 weeks of training. Any
gains after that will usually be trivial.


Failing to maintain the VO2 will result in trouble however. I recognise
where you're coming from in terms of being a Efficiency Hero of modern
swimming (thats not sarcasm, i truly admire your approach), however, i
believe technical development is secondary to conditioning in the late-post
adolescent swimmer.


  #25  
Old December 1st 03, 08:36 PM
Larry Weisenthal
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

And there's no reliable correlation between VO2max and performance. In both
swimming and running, the most economical elite athletes have relatively
unimpressive VO2max scores. It's the less efficient athlete who NEEDS more
physiological capacity to compensate.

The great debate about training vs. technique. Will reply later regarding
swimming, but the above statement is clearly incorrect with respect to running.

e.g.

1: J Sports Sci. 1997 Aug;15(4):403-10.

The relationship between 3 km running performance and
selected physiological variables.

Grant S, Craig I, Wilson J, Aitchison T.

Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University
of Glasgow, UK.

The aim of this study was to assess the relationship
between a number of physiological variables and running
velocity at 3 km (v-3km) in a group of male runners.
Sixteen well-trained middle- and long-distance runners
(mean +/-s: age 22.4 +/- 4.2 years, body mass 63.5 +/-
6.2 kg, VO2 max 73.3 +/- 6.7 ml kg-1 min-1) underwent
laboratory treadmill tests to determine their maximum
oxygen uptake (VO2 max), running economy at three
submaximal velocities (12.9, 14.5 and 16.1 km h-1 or
14.5, 16.1 and 17 km h-1), predicted velocity at VO2
max (v-VO2max), velocity (v-Tlac) and VO2 (VO2-Tlac) at
the lactate threshold and their velocity (v-4mM) and
VO2 (VO2-4mM) at a blood lactate concentration of 4 mM.
Distance running performance was determined by 3 km
time-trials on an indoor 200 m track for which the
average time was 9.46 +/- 0.74 min. The mean (+/-s)
velocities for v-Tlac, v-4mM and v-VO2max were 16.0 +/-
1.8, 17.1 +/- 1.9 and 20.7 +/- 2.1 km h-1 respectively,
all significantly different on average (all P 0.05)
from that for v-3km (19.1 +/- 1.5 km h-1). Many of
these physiological variables were found to be
individually (and significantly at 5%) related to
v-3km. The best single predictors of v-3km were v-Tlac
and v-4mM (both with a sample correlation, r2 of 0.93),
while v-VO2max was slightly poorer (r = 0.86). Neither
VO2 max nor running economy was strongly correlated
with v-3km. A stepwise multiple-regression analysis
revealed that v-Tlac alone was the best single
predictor of v-3km and explained 87% of the variability
in 3 km running velocity, while the addition of any of
the other physiological variables did not significantly
improve the prediction of v-3km. We conclude that, in a
group of well-trained runners, the running velocity at
the lactate threshold was all that was required to
explain a large part of the variability in 3 km running
performance.

  #26  
Old December 1st 03, 08:40 PM
Larry Weisenthal
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

An additional (slight) correction is that is has been pretty well established
that, following a period of de-training in a technically-proficient athlete, it
takes 14 weeks (not 8) to return to regain the fully "trained" state (muscle
gylcolytic and Krebs cycle enzymes, mitochondria, myoglobin, etc.).

- Larry
  #27  
Old December 1st 03, 10:45 PM
Totalswimm
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

Like *most* people on this newsgroup, I am
neither a collegiate swimmer nor an Olympic caliber swimmer. I just want to
improve.


Pat
I made that assumption when I replied initially. If you'd like to improve your
swimming I'd suggest drill practice, and highly focused work on specific
aspects of skill:
- balance
- neutral head position
- swimming "taller"
- fitting through a smaller "hole" in the water
- more fluent stroking movements
- swimming more quietly
- counting your strokes as a measure of how the above contribute to your
improvement.

Kicking sets will only improve... your kicking sets. With continued practice
you'll be able to kick 3 laps, then 4, then 8, etc. But -- and I can't be more
emphatic about this -- they'll contribute virtually nothing to improving your
swimming in the whole stroke. For an improvement-minded recreational or fitness
swimmer, they're just a very poor use of pool time.
Cheers,
Terry Laughlin
  #28  
Old December 1st 03, 10:48 PM
Totalswimm
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

Failing to maintain the VO2 will result in trouble however.

I'd never dispute that. But that's not a reason to do more kicking sets. It's a
reason to stay in training.
Best,
Terry
  #29  
Old December 2nd 03, 12:36 AM
Larry Weisenthal
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard

"Balance" may be best achieved by developing the ability to effortless maintain
lower lumbar spine tension. Once you can do this, you don't need to worry
about head position. Without a properly tensioned lower lumbar spine "raising
your head even one inch will seriously affect your balance." With the proper
lumbar spine tension, you can raise your head to your hearts content and stay
easily and perfectly in balance. This is a particular advantage for a
triathlete or other open water swimmer, as it allows you to practice swimming
looking forward and elevating the head for frequent sighting over the waves.
It is also an advantage for anyone who needs to swim with other people in the
same lane.

The last time we were discussing this issue was last August; at the time I
received (and posted) the following two e-mails on the same day:

August, 2003 e-mail #1:

As a XX (redacted to protect confidentiality) year old runner trying to pick up
freestyle swimming for the first
time, I have been following your postings in Rec.Sport.Swimming for several
months now. Please accept my apology for the e-mail intrusion, but I am
not comfortable posting directly publicly.

Many thanks for your valuable contributions in swimming and
elsewhere. Your comments on shoulder impingement are especially important
to me.

My own observations as an adult near-novice with a typical male runner's
body [dimensions redacted] are that (1) the TI drills are impossible to
perform,
and (2) consciously maintaining the lower lumbar arch gets me down the lane
with far less expenditure of energy. Ironically, maybe because of lack of
flexibility in my spine, the greatest sensation of speed and power in my
non-breathing (left) stroke comes with my head and shoulders down (press
the buoy?) through the leverage of a fully extended right arm together with
good lower lumbar arch. [Larry's nb: precisely the position of Janet Evans and
Grant Hackett at this point in the stroke cycle].

recent e-mail #2:

Larry,

[info on kick/swim times redacted]

My background [redacted] yrs old, male, did 1st Masters competition last year.
Swim
free sprints and started because I wanted to keep in shape for surfing.
[Height/weight given: tall and trim]

As an aside, I have also done the exercises with the kickboard and the back
muscles and found that it worked for me as you described. It also worked
for me doing freestyle. My butt seems to stay at the surface the whole
time. I also find it an easier method than press down on buoy because I can
immediately tell if I am doing this or not. However, I don't believe that
the low butt/leggs were a big problem for me before because of a relatively
strong kick. I do find that because of my build or lack of it, I do not
float as well as others and slow drills I tend to sink. I have always
played sports that emphasize the lower body i.e. soccer and cycling and
have a relatively weaker upper body. I learnt to swim when I was young and
swam in a swim club for a few years.



I think what I've proposed is consistent with Yanai's research, consistent with
observations from the world of elite swimming, consistent with
self-experimentation, and is reproducible in the real world for anyone
open-minded enough to give it a try.

- Larry
  #30  
Old December 2nd 03, 01:16 AM
Shahin Malekpour
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Default Proper form for using a kickboard


"Totalswimm" wrote
"Pat" wrote:


Like *most* people on this newsgroup, I am
neither a collegiate swimmer nor an Olympic
caliber swimmer. I just want toimprove.


Pat
I made that assumption when I replied initially.
If you'd like to improve your swimming I'd suggest
drill practice, and highly focused work on specific
aspects of skill:
- balance
- neutral head position
- swimming "taller"
- fitting through a smaller "hole" in the water
- more fluent stroking movements
- swimming more quietly
- counting your strokes as a measure of how the above contribute to your
improvement.

Kicking sets will only improve... your kicking sets. With continued

practice
you'll be able to kick 3 laps, then 4, then 8, etc. But -- and I can't be

more
emphatic about this -- they'll contribute virtually nothing to improving

your
swimming in the whole stroke. For an improvement-minded recreational or

fitness
swimmer, they're just a very poor use of pool time.
Cheers,
Terry Laughlin


Hi Terry

In a casual conversation with a fellow athlete tonight at
the pool, I mentioned that over the recent months I have
noticed a shift of focus in performing my drills, probably
due to observing the effects of the law of diminishing
returns. This inescapable law creeps in at one point or
other, irrespective of the level of proficiency or potential.

As an above average swimmer, I do owe my ease, speed
and proficiency in swimming to naturalising the principles
that you have listed above, which I continue to improve after
several decades.

In time however, one becomes increasingly aware that
the art of fluid, relaxed motion in the water at impressive
speed is founded on highly developed breathing. And by
breathing I mean not simply the obviously vital component
of swimming, but actually effective breathing as the highest
technical goal of swimming.

Through introducing specific breathing techniques to my
swimming (some from "pranayama" yoga techniques), I
have become acutely aware that the mastery of breathing
in swimming equals mastery in swimming. As an example:
learning to _exhale fully_ helps to make room for plenty of
fresh air to supercharge the system for high performance
action. Or controlled flow of exhalation/inhalation by training
the glottis muscle at the back of the throat.

Last month, a fellow swimmer who adopted me as a coach
a few of years ago, kindly gave me a ticket to Verdi's
La Traviata performed by a fine English operatic company
at Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Spectacular and entertaining as the performance turned out
to be, I think the shift in my focus was particularly amplified
by becoming aware of how those truly athletic singers used
their breathing apparatus to produce harmonic sounds of
impressive tones, pitches and volumes with breathtaking
mastery. How clearly their singing voices were different
from normal speech!

This made improvement to my already well stimulated
awareness of breathing in my swimming, since the way one
breathes in swimming bears little resemblance to ordinary
breathing; the same way that singing opera is different to
ordinary speaking.

A conscious training of the diaphragm to increase its range;
exercises that stretch intercostals, abdomen and upper body
muscles, and techniques that develop and integrate the
respiratory system must be amongst staple of swimmers who
seriously want to excel in this art. How many swimmers for
example realise that to learn to contract the glottis muscle
will significantly add to the skills of proficient swimmers by
enabling them to calibrate the optimum flow of air volume?

Some of the secrets of the swimming champions will
likely be found not only in the way they roll their hips, lope,
kick or kayak, but their breathing technique. It would be
useful to learn more about advanced breathing techniques
and plan specific drills with that goal in mind; notwithstanding
the inevitable "balance" drills which in this respect does
indeed lead to effective breathing.

Going back to the law of diminishing returns, what I have
found encouraging is that once one eventually masters the
drills you've mentioned above, the mastery of breathing on
the other hand could take a good deal more time before
that law kicks in, since we appear to have an amazing
capacity for improving our breathing, which generally
speaking, suffers from surprising neglect.

Just sharing a thought

Regards,
Shahin
















































 




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