Will This Animated Swimmer Injure You? + HUUB Sphere Shorts Now On Sale!

Back in June last year, together with our partners at HUUB Design, we released the 3/4 length HUUB Kickpant. If you purchased a pair we're sure you are loving swimming in them. Not only do they keep your legs high in the water (simulating wetsuit swimming in the pool) but with their unique design features they also allow you to kick naturally while actively promoting your legs into a straighter position.

BUT we've heard from some swimmers who would prefer a conventional above the knee buoyancy short and so we have developed the new HUUB Sphere short:

As they are cut above the knee, the Sphere shorts obviously don't contain the active knee control of the full Kickpant but they do still feature the X-O Skeleton stiffening system for improved kick alignment and contain full NBR panels for much greater wetsuit-like buoyancy than a conventional neoprene short.

We have the new Sphere shorts in stock and on sale on our website here:


Start simulating wetsuit swimming and improving your stroke technique in the pool today!

Will This Animated Swimmer Injure You??

If you've been hanging out on any swimming groups on Facebook recently, you might have seen this animated swimmer:

First up, whilst you might see a semblance of our own animated Mr Smooth freestyle visualisation (available as a free app on our website) we'd like to assure you that this animation is nothing to do with Swim Smooth!

Your first impression might well be that he's a little jerky compared to Mr Smooth and that's certainly the case. But that jerkiness aside, the animation contains a number of elements which you definitely don't want to copy in your own swimming - in fact some might even give you a shoulder or elbow injury as a result.

Shoulder Injury

When it comes to shoulder injuries in swimming, there are two classic causes. A thumb first entry into the water (with the palm facing outwards) and a crossing of the centre line in front of the head (a "crossover"):
However, there is another major cause that is harder to diagnose, especially without in-depth video analysis. However (somewhat ironically) this new animation does demonstrate this stroke flaw really clearly (and therefore so should definitely not be copied). Take a look at this position with the lead arm fully extended out in front of the head:

Notice how the lead hand is reaching slightly outwards (in this case with the palm facing slightly outward too) and shoulder is collapsing inwards towards the chin - technically "protraction of the scapular".

Here's a real swimmer Christopher BernestrĂ¥ doing just the same:

This can happen on any arm stroke but it most commonly happens when a swimmer is breathing. Notice how Christopher's lead hand and fingers are turning outwards slightly as the shoulder collapses inwards. The problem with this position is that it can pinch the structures at the front of the shoulder, resulting in inflammation and/or injury.

Swimmers most susceptible to doing this are those who are aiming for a long smooth stroke style. That means our Smooth swim type of course (Christopher is indeed a Smooth) but Overgliders can also be prone to this stroke fault as they too are trying to "go long". A long stroke can be a good thing but try not to overly focus on stroke length and be too "greedy" with it - it can cause you to over-reach and as we see here, possibly even create a shoulder injury.

So how should the hand extend? Straight forwards of course, with the shoulder blades remaining retracted and supporting the shoulder joint. Here's our very own Mr Smooth demonstrating that position:

To understand this in a bit more depth, take a watch through Paul Newsome's analysis of Christopher's stroke, which we've just released onto Youtube. There's plenty to gain here for your own swimming as Paul explores tuning up Christopher's catch and pull technique:

Interesting in having your own swimming analysed in this way? You need to see a highly trained Swim Smooth Certified Coach:

Also see the list of their camps and clinics below.

Swim Smooth!

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Jonas said...

I agree with Swim Smooth, but I've seen videos of many professional swimmers moving their hands slightly to the side outwards to catch water when the arm is extended in front: is that really bad for the shoulder?

What do you mean by the shoulder been protacted or retracted? I don't understand it well: could you explain it a little bit more?


schulaura said...

Hey! what about how this swimmer's elbow drops and his arm goes completely under his body? Should the elbow always be facing up?

Cyndy said...

You are correct. The virtual swimmers arm is too bent at the elbow. A good catch has the hand coming under the shoulder not under the body with the elbow bent between 100 and 120 degrees. He is past 90 degrees in the arm bend.

Cyndy @swimsmooth said...

Jonas, you can see the shoulder drops in towards his chin instead of staying stable with the shoulder pulled back putting pressure into the armpit and pinching the shoulder joint.

As for some of the big guns catch pressing to the side; just because someone is a professional swimmer doesn't mean their stroke is absolutely ideally perfect as can be created on a computer like Mr. Smooth. Some people can get away with little different nuances in their stroke and not have a problem. If you are experiencing any shoulder pain then these are the things to look at. So a move out to the side adds pressure to the shoulder and could be the cause of any pain. Always think good posture when you are swimming just as you would when standing, shoulders back chest out. Employing the large muscle groups to do the bulk of the work.

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