Archives for category: Technique

220 Magazine tweeted this week with a link to one of their older articles by Darren Smith about the importance of using your core in swimming (with some good tips that are worth re-reading).  I’ve spoken about this before in a previous post Cutting to the Core and thought it would be a good time to focus on this again.

Using your core is only really effective if you have a good anchor with a high-elbow catch but once you have that high-elbow a strong rotation from your core can make a massive difference in the power you can generate for much less effort.  So this week we will be some more work to focus on the your core by doing some of the drills Chloe Sutton recommended so please do watch her video again here and especially the hip-connector drill, which we haven’t done before.

After the drills we will be doing the ratchet set.  This type of set is a great one to allow you to practise using your core in the first half of the set, swimming with maximal efficiency, so saving some energy for the tighter turnaround times at the end!

See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done to everyone for your efforts last week during the longer sessions.  And special kudos to Alex, Simon and Edda who did a the full 3 hours (I hope I didn’t miss anyone else that did the full monty)!  This week is back to normal with our 7-8 and 8-9:15am sessions and we will be doing some aerobic paced 150s as the main set.

For technique this week we will be working on stroke rate after several weeks of focusing on the high-elbow underwater pull with a pause.  This is especially important when swimming in open water where a slightly higher stroke rate, and straighter-arm recovery, is often more effective (and efficient) to help overcome the additional resistance in the shoulders from the wetsuit.  So this week there will be a chance to practice it in the pool with some head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery drills.  Try and do these drills to increase the stroke rate above the water (and not worrying about how pretty or careful your hand-entry is) but keeping that good high-elbow underwater pull we have been working on over the last few weeks.

See you tomorrow,

Rob

This week we have the pool for 3 hours so will be doing two 1.5 hour sessions from 7am till 8:30am and 8:30am till 10am.  We will be doing a long set of 100s in both sessions giving you the opportunity in each session to do 5km in lane 1, 4.5km in lane 2, 4km in lane 3 and 3.5km in lane 4.  Or why not double up for a really monster set of distance training!?

Three things I’d like you to do tomorrow, please:

  1. Bring a drink and appropriate nutrition for the length of set you are planning to tackle.
  2. Focus on efficiency in your stroke and good technique – especially maintaining the high elbow catch – when you are starting to fatigue.
  3. Enjoy both the personal challenge and sharing it with everyone else in your lane, too.

See you tomorrow,

Rob

 

Well done for all your efforts last week on the USRPT 50s.  It was good to see some good times from those pushing the pace and also some great consistency from those swimming at a more comfortable pace in preparation for racing on Sunday.

This week we will keep pushing the pace with some fast 100s.  I’d like you to aim to swim them at double your USRPT 50 pace plus 3-5 seconds.  So, if you were swimming each 50 last week in 50 seconds, I’d like you to aim for 1:43-1:45 for each 100 this week.  There will be a reasonable amount of rest plus a few Brucey Bonus rests to ensure you can keep the pace high.  To help keep the pace going throughout the 100 please focus on the second half of each 100 and think about the “Hinge” (2) of your 1-2-3 on each stroke to ensure you are maintaining your strong catch.

See you Saturday,

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts over the last two weeks.  You have completed two of probably our most intense sessions, on some very tight turnarounds, with the Ratchet Set and Post-Easter Swim.  We are going to take it a bit easier this week to give you a chance to think about the high-elbow catch.  Simon shared with me a video of a great underwater shot of one of the world’s leading 1,500m swimmers demonstrating this and you can see it here.

To help practice this we will be doing some more of the drills Chloe Sutton demonstrated that I posted a few weeks ago with special emphasis on counting 1 – reach, 2 – hinge, 3 – push with each stroke.  If you need a reminder please see my previous post on this.

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

When I grew up no-one talked about using your core but now it is widely accepted to be a really important part of your strength and conditioning for many sports, and especially in triathlon.  I will be honest that I’ve struggled to find a good way of working on your core for front crawl but one of Chloe Sutton’s recent videos, shown below, is one of the best I have come across and I would strongly recommend watching it here:

I have been trying to improve engaging my core in my own swimming recently and I must admit that although it has felt like quite a subtle effect I do think it has made me more efficient and less reliant on arm and shoulder muscles for the power at the back-end of my stroke.  And I have been swimming pretty quickly recently, off very little swimming training, so although it is difficult to pin it exclusively on improvements in my core I am happy enough to recommend giving it a try and seeing if it could work for some of you, too.  So this week we will be doing three of the drills that Chloe talks about in her video:

  • Stabilized single-arm front crawl, which we have done before and is single-arm with the stationary arm on a kick-board
  • Unco, which Chloe calls One Arm with Rotation, and
  • Power Rotation with Kickboard, where you swim using a kick-board between your legs instead of a pull buoy

In all of these drills I think it is best to focus on engaging your core and using it to rotate your hips in the back half of your stroke once you have got into the high-elbow catch.  And as I always say with drills, the most important thing is taking the focus on your core from the drill set into the main set, which will this week see the return of the ratchet set.  The ratchet set always looks scary when you look at the final set of turnaround times but that is the whole idea.  It is a challenge.  And as part of a challenge I would expect many of you not to make the final set of turnaround time and so be swimming continuously.  Don’t panic – keep calm and relax in the first half, engage your core, and see how far you can get through the set before it turns into a continuous swim

See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts at the time trials last week.  This week we will go back to some steadier-paced swimming, with time to focus again on your technique, together with some pursuit swims to add a bit of speed and racing tactics at the end.

We will start with some aerobic-paced 150s this week, half of them pull with paddles, and I’d like you to use this to focus on the high-elbow catch that we worked on a few weeks ago.  Please watch Chloe Sutton’s excellent video on this if you need a reminder.  Then we will be doing a short technique subset to focus on increasing your stroke rate, with some golf stroke, where I’d like you to focus on quick breathing as we again have been practising recently.  And to finish off we will do some pursuit swims for a bit of fun and fast-pace practise.  Try and mix it up a bit this week and try some different tactics.  Remember, you don’t have to wait until the “live” 50 to go fast if you want to get away from the swimmer behind, so long as you’re not being held up by the swimmer in front!

Also, I’ve been contacted by TYR, the swimsuit manufacturer, with some free samples of a really interesting new spray-based Lycra swim suit they’ve developed that was used with great success in the Rio Olympics.  It is FINA approved and helped swimmers achieve some of the incredible times many of you will have watched.  Drop me an email if you want to try it out this week for some extra speed in the pursuit swims and I will bring some samples along.  You can find more details about on this website.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We will be doing time trials again this week as we follow the usual schedule through the Winter of doing it every 2 months.  I know some of you love time trials and others hate them but I do genuinely believe everyone can learn and benefit from them.  You can use the learning suggestions I talked about last time (Time Trials – What do you want to learn?) or focus instead on an aspect of technique we’ve been working on and see what difference that makes to your times, splits, stroke rates or just how it feels.

It has been great to hear how much some of you have found the breathing drills we did last week.  I know some of you are still finding it hard, though, to keep one goggle in the water and don’t yet have confidence that it is possible to keep a goggle in the water and still breathe effectively.  So please watch another of Chloe Sutton’s videos below if you want to see why it is possible if you keep your head in the correct position.

So if you are unsure about whether or not to do the time trials this week why not come along and focus on the breathing instead as an experiment and see what effect it has?

See you Saturday,

Rob

This week week we will be doing some focus on breathing drills and the Will Clarke set of fast and steady 50s to provide some more speed work.  Key things to think about:

  • Please watch the video I posted last week from Chloe Sutton about how to breath well in front crawl.  You will have chance in the technique set this week just to focus on quick breathing and keeping one goggle in the water as she demonstrates really well in her video.  A quick breath will also help you maintain a good tempo with a quick stroke rate.
  • Please try and make sure you get a good pace variation in the 50s, even when the turnaround is tight, to get the most from the Will Clarke set of 50s.  Re-read my previous post on this for some ideas to help

See you all Saturday!

Rob

Well done for your efforts last week on the new “stabilized single-arm” drill and “catch-up with a pause” drill we did from the Chloe Sutton video to work on the high-elbow catch.  We will be doing them again this week during the warm-up to give you some more chance to practice the high-elbow catch before we start the main set.

The main set this week will be a set of speed endurance 100s where you should be swimming fast on a short recovery but with breaks after every few 100s to recover before the next block.  During this set I would like everyone to think about breathing quickly and correctly, keeping one goggle in the water, as I think a short and quick breath really helps with both good technique and, most importantly, having a good quick stroke rate.  You can watch another great video from Chloe here to see how to breath really well and quickly.

Please watch especially closely how quickly Chloe breathes 1:24 into the video and try and emulate that speed of breathing when you swim on Saturday.

See you then,

Rob

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