Archives for posts with tag: high-elbow catch

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 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

 

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

Well done for all your efforts last week on the USRPT 50s, which is probably the most intense session we have done so far this year.  We will be doing some more of these again soon as I think they are a great session for increasing the speed that you can comfortably maintain.  However, this week we are going to slow it down with some steadier-paced swimming to give you more chance to think about technique.

As you know, I love to particularly focus on the high-elbow catch as it is the area of our stroke most of us can gain the most benefit by improving.  And there is a great video by Chloe Sutton, a US ex-Olympian, that has a great demonstration of this together with some drills we haven’t done before.  It is a 9-minute video and I highly recommend watching all of it.  But if you just want to know the drills we’re doing this week look at the two drills starting at 6 minutes into the video – stabilised single-arm and catch-up with a pause.

See you Saturday and I look forward to watching some beautiful high-elbow catches both in the technique subset and also continued into the main set!

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts last week in the prime number set.  It was a tough set, especially for lanes 2 and 3, so well done for sticking with it.  Also, well done for coping with the change of lanes.  It can be a little disorienting to have to cope with a different size of lane and turn the opposite way round but it is good practice to mix it up as well as allowing Doug and myself to have a different look at your stroke.

For those of you that follow 220 Triathlon on Twitter you may have seen their tweet this week about Dave Scott’s top tips for improving your triathlon swimming.  It is not a new article, and I have written about it before, but I still like it and I think it is always good to be reminded every once in a while about the basics.  I especially like the comments about keeping your hand entry a little bit wider and the visualisation of the eyeball in your elbow to help you remember to keep your elbows high underwater.  The high cadence drills of head-up frontcrawl and straight-arm recovery are good for practising exactly these and we will be doing them again this week.

The main set this week will be some steady-paced 150s with some 200 pursuit swims to inject some speed at the end of the session.  Please do use the opportunity on the steadier-paced swims to think about that nice high elbow (try Dave Scott’s eyeball visualisation) and also trying to keep that going when you increase your stroke rate on the faster swims.

See you Saturday,

Rob

Now the triathlon season is over for most of us it is a great opportunity to think about improving your stroke as we start Winter training.  Although most of us can improve on many different aspects of our stroke the one improvement that most of us will gain the most benefit from is improving the underwater pull.  And the key to doing that is getting the high-elbow catch, or early-vertical forearm as many people call it.  If you want to see a great example you can watch some of this slow motion video of Ian Thorpe.

So how do we all do swim with a high-elbow better?  This week we will be doing some side-line kicking to help practice the body position for keeping a high elbow even when swimming on your side, so please focus on:

  • Keeping your head looking down and slightly forward when not breathing and checking that your hand is below your elbow.
  • Keeping your palm facing downwards towards the bottom of the pool and when you pull
    • Start the pull slowly and not putting any pressure on the water until your forearm is vertical in the water with your hand pointing down to the bottom of the pool
    • Press the water straight backwards once you start applying the pressure and trying to keep pushing straight to the end of your stroke

And please, please, please take your time when doing drills.  Take extra rest if you need it.  The most important thing is doing the drills well and feeling as relaxed as possible.  Since most drills we do are best done while breathing as little as possible you will need to be rested and relaxed before you start each of the drills.

See you Saturday,

Rob

We will be continuing to focus on some faster swimming this week as we continue building up to the next set of time trials at the end of March.  However, while we work on faster paced swimming it is still really important to also keep working on your stroke.  One of the main areas many of us could improve is to get a higher-elbow catch by getting your hand lower during the entry into the water.  Please watch this short video from Swim Smooth with a comparison of a swimmer with this fault compared with the strokes of Michael Phelps and others.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas of what is really going on here and why it is important.  So if you think it is something you could improve at what can you do?  My advice is:

  1. Lift your head and look slightly forward once or twice per length to watch your hand entry and check that your hand is lower than your wrist and your wrist is lower than your elbow when it enters the water.
  2. Keep your hand moving all the time after it has entered the water.  Your hand and forearm need to catch up with the water that your body is moving past and you will only get significant propulsion when your forearms are vertical and your hand pointing to the bottom of the pool.  Notice how in the clip of Michael Phelps in the Swim Smooth video he has a lovely long stroke but his hands keep moving forwards and downwards after entering the water.
  3. Be patient with the catch.  Don’t waste energy by inefficiently pressing down on the water after the hand enters the water.  Be patient and wait until your forearm is vertical, and hand pointing downwards, before applying pressure on the water.

You will have plenty of chance to think about this during the session this week during the warm-up, technique subset and the steady-paced 50s of the main set so please do practice and show me how well you can do this!

See you Saturday,

Rob

 

I’ve seen and heard about much improved high-elbow pulls over the last few weeks as I’ve challenged you to learn some new drills.  I’ve also been pleased to hear that many of you do feel the difference in your swimming after having practised the drills, which is great to hear.  So the next challenge is to turn these temporary improvements in your underwater pull into more permanent improvements and the best way of doing this is practise.  So please work on your high-elbow catch all session this week, during the warm-up, drill set and especially during the latter half of the main set.  The more you practice this the more permanent the improvements will be!

This week we will be repeating the reverse doggy paddle and hand re-entry drills from last week so please read my previous posts on these if you want a reminder.  We will also be doing some quick catch drill which is a natural progression from these drills to help you think keeping the high elbow catch as you move more quickly through the water.  And for a bit of competitive fun to work on the keeping hold of the water we will also be finishing the session with some 25m pull-back sprints which you can see here.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We’ll be continuing the theme from last week of working on the catch and underwater pull with some more practice of the drills from last week and a new drill to work on hand entry.  One thing I would like everyone to do, though, is take your time on the drills.  Drills are very hard to do correctly if you are tired or out of breath and many of the drills we are doing at the moment are best done with as little breathing as possible.  To do this you will need to be fully recovered and only do short swims – hence the fact that we are doing 25m at a time.  There is a rest after each 25 so please do take it, or longer if necessary.  This will give you the best chance to swim the drill well and get the most benefit.  You will have plenty of chance to work hard during the main set!

We will be doing the sideline kicking with quarter catch and reverse doggy paddle drill as we did last week so please read my previous post, and watch my video, if you are unsure of how to do this.  One thing I did notice many of you doing last week on these drills was sweeping your arm across your body during the underwater pull.  Please try and avoid this and concentrate on pulling in a straight line from the high-elbow catch right through to the end of each stroke.

The new drill we are adding this week is the hand re-entry drill where we you get chance to practice your hand entry into the water.  The way you swim it is as follows:

  • This drill is a variant of normal catch-up front crawl
  • The change from normal catch-up front crawl is that after you bring your recovery arm over and place your hand in the water you should pull your hand back out of the water again and repeat the hand entry for a second time before doing a normal underwater pull
  • You do the same with the other arm and repeat for the whole length
  • When doing this you should focus on sliding your hand into the water alongside the wrist of your extended arm, with your palms facing downwards the whole time and keeping a high elbow
  • Slide your hand forwards and down and keep your elbows high before starting the normal catch and pull
  • Remember not to rush the catch – don’t put the power on until your arm is vertical and your hand is below your head!

If this sounds confusing then you can watch this short video of me explaining it here.

See you Saturday!

Rob

October was the month working on body position and now we’re in to November we’ll be focusing on the arm stroke and especially the high-elbow catch.  On the last Saturday of November we will also start our Winter time trials where we set a baseline for measuring any changes in technique and fitness that you make over the Winter.

This week I’d like everyone to think about the start of the pull with a high-elbow catch so we will be doing some new drills to help you work on this.  The drills will go as follows:

  • Sideline kicking
    • Look down and slightly forward so you can see your hand and elbow
    • Make sure the elbow of your lead arm is above your hand all the time
    • This should be quite hard and you will need to flex your shoulder quite a lot to achieve it!
  • Sideline kicking with quarter pull
    • Same as sideline kick but doing the first quarter of the pull with your lead arm
    • Recover the pulling arm underwater, as you would for puppy paddle or doggy paddle drill
    • Swim it slowly without pressing hard – you are not generating propulsion just practising keeping your elbow above your hand and getting ready to catch
  • Reverse doggy paddle
    • Like normal doggy paddle but starting and finishing each stroke with both arms at your sides (like reverse catch-up)
    • Let your shoulders rotate as you would on normal front crawl and breathe to the side
    • Focus on keeping your elbow nice and high at the start and throughout the pull
  • Full stroke
    • Keep the high-elbow catch you have just been practising
    • Do the catch slowly – don’t start pressing hard until your forearm is pointing to the bottom of the pool so you only push the water backwards

 There’s a video also here of me explaining these new drills if you need it.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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