Friday, March 13, 2015

Over-Rotation And Taking A Sneaky Breath

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It's fair to say that if something is going to go wrong with your stroke technique, it will probably go wrong whilst you are breathing. One very common problem you might be experiencing in your own stroke without realising it is over-rotation whilst breathing.

On a normal stroke you might rotate your shoulders and hips to around 45-60 degrees, which is the correct amount:

#adam: i will add graphics showing angles tomorrow#

When you breathe you tend to rotate a little more on that stroke and if this goes much beyond 60 degrees you are over-rotating. In fact it's common to see swimmers rotating to 80 or 90 degrees at this point in their stroke:

Over-rotation is a problem because it causes you to lose balance in the water, the result being a scissoring of the legs to regain your stability, creating a lot of drag:

Over-rotation also harms your stroke rhythm because it takes longer to rotate to such an extent and then all the way back again, so the breathing stroke takes longer than a normal stroke. If you’ve used a Tempo Trainer Pro you might have noticed that you get behind the beep on a breathing stroke.

Correcting Over-Rotation

If you are over-rotating when you breathe it’s unlikely you will be aware of this in your stroke or the accompanying scissor kick. With that in mind, try the following tips to see if they improve the sense of rhythm and flow in your stroke:

- Try rotating your chest and hips a little less than normal on a breathing stroke. It’s unlikely you will under-rotate whilst breathing so there is little risk to trying this.

- Make sure you are exhaling under the water constantly as you swim so that when you rotate to breathe you only have to breathe in. This takes less time and speeds up the breathing action.

- Speed up the breathing action as a whole, this might feel like taking a quick or ‘sneaky’ breath to the side without interrupting the rhythm of your stroke.

- Use a Tempo Trainer Pro set to your current stroke rate and focus on keeping your stroke timing to the beep, even when breathing.

- Think about keeping your legs straight and tapping your big together as they pass. Reducing your rotation whilst breathing is likely to remove any scissor kick in your stroke all by itself, however the habit may be in place so a little focus on good kick technique is worthwhile.

The result you are looking for is for your stroke to feel much more rhythmical and flowing with much less interruption from breathing. Give it a try!

Swim Smooth!

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