PDF document to anyone you think will find it helpful or interesting. . Total Immersion coaches and swimmers all began like everyone else—swimming the tradi. (Photo: Shutterhack) Swimming has always scared the hell out of me. He introduced me to Total Immersion (TI), a method usually associated. Total Immersion Tips for Efficient Freestyle Swimming. Hide Your Head. Lead with the top of your head, not your forehead. Feel water flowing over the back of.
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FME Book - Total Immersion - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. recommend our book Triathlon Swimming Made Easy, available from. Nuoto, Swimming - Total presinescinmett.ga - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. In swimming, as in any endeavor, total immersion is a prescription for loving what you do. Easy. Free is nominally intended to improve your Freestyle technique.
Thanks for sharing all these notes and bits of information. I previously borrowed a tri. I never realised how much goggles made a difference until I started scuba diving — the mask made a big difference. Going to get me a pair when I get around to swimming properly.
Tim, again thanks for another very helpful post. Thanks for the tips, Tim. It seems like you would feel the effects of this more in a sport like swimming than, say, weightlifting or judo. I had asthma growing up and steered clear of endurance sports, even though they looked fun to me soccer, swimming, etc. Thanks again, definitely picking this up, in hopes it can help me out before the Malibu and Orange County International Triathlons hit in the next month or two.
I recently was speaking to a friend who trains for open water 10k and hopes to represent Canada in She mentioned her greatest learning when starting out was to double cap: Was a below average swimmer for years when I got interested in triathlons. All my friends were swimming laps and doing sprints while I was practicing Total Immersion.
Just doing the drills. Everyone laughed. The first race I did was a 1 mile bay swim.
Pretty choppy weather, too. Needless to say, I beat them all, badly. I felt great after the swim and they were puking their guts up. Go, Tim! Thanks so much for the great comments!
Here are a few further suggestions for a 1k swim, from Twitter at http: MichaelHiggs check out hypoxic training to build endurance.
Pick a reference point in the distance. Too much kicking power and you will tire early. Know your preference, i. Stops you needing breath. Leg sync with strokes.
If your stroke is already decent, a little gallop can help you get in the zone about 11 hours ago. Malach tferriss Start slow, slow enough that you feel you could swim forever.
Use your legs more than your arms. Breathe deeply and slowly. Note that I have found the flick-like method of minimal kicking to conserve the most energy]. LorenCastillo tferriss if the water is cold use a wet suit, remember to warm up by running and pace yourself. Daley here, the triathlete and winner of your weekend challenge a few months ago. Huge congrats on the swimming man! Like golf, swimming is a technique sport that requires very precise form.
And also like golf, swimming is a sport in which strength and power are not essential for excellence. When I first started swimming with a masters program I was astonished that year old women were beating me up and down the pool despite my superior athletic ability and muscularity. Sadly, these older women still beat me up and down the pool, but I no longer huff and puff after meters.
I could not agree more about learning stroke mechanics first before getting into volume training. A great Olympic event to watch that is coming up is the Marathon swim. These athletes epitomize streamline swimming and energy conservation. Check it out. Thanks for posting this Tim! Next up for me? A week on the play with my kids at Burning Man! Should be a hoot! Hand Entry. Slice your hand into the water right about at your goggle line, and drive it forward.
Head Position. Keep looking straight down when swimming freestyle. Also, as you rotate through the water, try not to move your head with the rest of your body rotation. In freestyle, your hands should pull all the way back past your hips. The last part of the stroke before recovery arms coming out of the water should be an acceleration behind you, and not up out of the water.
Try minimizing your kick as you train for swimming. Most people will kick extra hard to make up for lack of balance in the water.
Minimizing your kick will allow you to improve your balance, as well as conserve energy. Training Intensity. The best way to measure your training intensity is to count your heart rate immediately after each swim. You can estimate your heart rate by counting your pulse rate for six seconds immediately after each swim. Add a zero to this count, and you will have your approximate exercise heart rate per minute.
In open water, every 3 or 4 strokes, you need to raise your head straight up to take your breath. Your goggles can also change as well. Also, go for wider goggles, you use your peripheral alot more in open water. In your wetsuit choice, I would go for sleeveless. Long sleeves can restict range of shoulder motion. Generally, focus on rotation and distance per stroke.
Good Luck! The reason that most folks subscribe to your blog is to hear how to make money. SuperSlow began as a particular strength training protocol back in the Nautilus days that was originally designed for elderly osteoporotic women.
In essence it is a slow motion movement 20 second reps that is done in a circuit style in approximately 20 — 30 minutes about every fourth day. Check it out sometime. Congratulations on finding your inner swimmer. Though I never swam competitively, I rediscovered my love of swimming about 8 years ago myself. I too started with Total Immersion training and have since moved on to other strokes. A 1K warm-up is not unusual now! There are a couple of sites you should add to your swimming favorites.
The first is GoSwim. TV, Glenn Mills has developed the site and it is filled with lots of great swimming information, instructional videos and drills. My profile there has a bit more about my journey that started with swimming. Consider joining a Masters swim team. Being a Masters swimmer will provide a great group of people to swim with all over the world. They list pools all over the world. Tim, That is awesome!!! I have been swimming since I was a baby, and I always try to tell non-swimmers how important of a life skill it is, but it often falls on deaf ears.
I am a coach for an Iron man training group, a swim instructor, lifeguard instructor and played water polo in college, but I still learn more about swimming all the time. I too have come to love swimming the past few months. I have found it effective to breathe every third stroke and to alternate left to right.
Swimming is so refreshing and invigorating! But note how Natalie is kicking and how all the Olympic swimmers kick which lays waste to the silly notion that kicking costs more in energy than it returns in speed. There are some valid suggestions here, but nothing revolutionary.
There are plenty of good swim coaches out there. Nice work Tim. Swimming is definitely something worth conquering for the survival aspect and the fitness of it. Water polo, Dragonboating or Synchronized Swimming. You choose.
Synchronized swimming is by far THE most challenging sport there is. I realize I may get some flack for saying that.
Take away the music, the outfits, the make-up and you have an absolutely insane sport that combines strength, coordination, endurance, breath control, timing, flexibility, focus, and more than an ounce of insanity. Dead on about synchronized swimming. My ladyfriend is an ex-synchro swimmer and she has incredible endurance in the pool. Can outrace me easily and iron lungs underwater.
Only a few men do it and I think because women are better suited for it from the standpoint of endurance. I used them swimming competitively for almost ten years. For open water I would suggest the darkest pair you can find. Even the slightly more expensive metallic pairs would be a good investment to help with the sun. As for the tips, they seem to be great for novices who wish to add swimming to thier training regimen.
However, if you are really planning to participate in an open water 1 km race, you may want to adjust your training. Open water events are an exhausting endeavor. I would recommend swimming longer sets or taking far less rest during your sets. By doing sets of s, s, or better yet s you will build up the necessary endurance for a longer race.
I only mention time since swimming is a sport where to swim fast in a race you have to train far longer than the actual race for months and then taper your training down in order to swim at your very best.
I do not know if you know how to do flip turns or not. If not then I would recommend learning if at all possible. This goes for anyone who wants to swim for exercise.
Not doing flip turns will wear out a swimmer faster than anything else once you start doing longer sets. Even doing sets of s you will save tons of energy by doing flip turns. Which will in turn allow you to do longer sets. You get to practice the rhythm, but with great music and an attractive partner to boot: Oh my god, this is awesome. When I was a kid, I went through numerous lessons, and I sucked big time. While training for my first tri, I was surprised at how nervous people were about swimming in open water and how difficult it was for them.
A few things that make it easy and comfortable for me: Learn to love cold water if that is going to be part of the race. Train in it, learn to think clearly in it. My body checks out once I get in a rhythm and have a pace, breathing is much more important in long-distance swimming than anything else. I once swam two miles across a glacier-fed lake in the Rockies without getting cold or even struggling by just concentrating on breath.
If you associate swimming with a controlled, safe, and sanitized environment like a pool that puts you at a huge disadvantage when facing the unpredictability of swimming long distances outdoors. Take the training outside. As a long time reader of your posts I think it strengthens the point you try to make about being effective. Try http: If there is a chop, it really helps to be able to comfortably turn your head away from the waves to breath. If not, you are choking…not breathing. Open water swimming is fun, but it can be dangerous.
Know if the area gets rocky, shallow, is known for high currents, know for debris see below. Ocean floors can be loose and unstable, thus causing rip-currents. Oceans, rivers and lakes tend to have more debris after storms.
Crossing a river or lake might only be 1, meters, which on land does not look that far. But in a 25 meter pool, it is 40 lengths with no turns to leverage, to walls to grab, and no bottom to stand on. I do it whenever I can. I always tell TI coaches that teaching better stroke technique is their second responsibility.
Sparking passion for swimming in their students is their first. Tim has been most generous in sharing tips on how to experiment with changing your own stroke. These are focal points for Freestyle: Info and sample tips at http: My racing goals are more for 1 or 2 miles to 5k in open water. My health and well-being goals are to be able to swim for an hour or more and finish feeling better than when I started, and to look forward to my next swim.
It takes minimal energy, relies on fatigue-resistant core muscle, rather than fatigue-prone leg muscle and added enough boost to my stroke to allow me to swim And if so, that a more relaxed kick would probably suit their goals quite well?
Happy laps,. This seems counter intuitive to me and over develops a sense of swimming self confidence and a distaste for any different form of swim practice. As a long time swimmer I think IT is a fantastic complement to swim training but the ultimate goal should always be a coach. I see people effotlessly swim lengths whilst i get tired after one length despite being fairly sporty.
Whenever i go on vacation, I regret it as i feel real uneasy doing water sports — and even wear a life jacket to snorkle! While doing yoga poses I use my breath to sequence my awareness. Inhale notice my feet, then exhale, then inhale notice what my knees are doing, exhale, then next breath move my awareness to hips, spine, arms etc. I notice each part and adjust them where appropriate. With swimming, if there are lots of things to remember, especially when learning, can focus on one thing for two to three strokes or one breath cycle if you are breathing every two or three strokes then move your focus to the next item on the list.
So might start with focusing on what the upper body is doing, then on what the arms should be doing and then the legs. Then back to the upper body again. If possible try sequencing so that the key element is taken care of first. To lengthen the waist you can focus on drawing the ribcage away from pelvis, for a long neck draw your head away from your ribcage. While standing or upright, pull head back and up and pull chin in so that cervical spine is maximally straight and then your neck will be as long as possible, while supine or swimming, push the back of your head back or up, almost out of the water so that neck is long.
With your neck long then your shoulder muscles have maximum amount of room to operate. Then you can lengthen your arms by pulling your shoulder blade towards you ear. Twisting of the spine is an action not only of the obliques side abs but of the intercostals. Tim, thanks for sharing this. The breathing is what freaks me. I do OK if I swim on my back. I see your tips on it in the post.
Thanks again! The difference between trying to powerhouse through the water vs. Jessica — they do teach you how to breathe properly. One of the things about TI is that you turn your whole body to take a breath vs turning just your head which constricts your airway and makes it tough to take a breath!
I used to get really winded when swimming, almost gasping at times, but after learning TI breathing is natural and easy. Great post. I have been trying to learn to properly swim for quite some time. Now i feel i have the tools. Now i just have to get to it! Fire up the GEAR segment! Your adding all this great stuff! Please delegate someone to pull it together for us, the starving masses.. Keep up the good work Tim…You inspire us more than you know. And here you are now posting about it!
Is there a triathlon in your line-up of things to do? I do daily 40 laps of 50 metres now and go across with a single breath… I did it in just 40 days now… Ofcourse I added ABS training and 2 hours swimming, 1 hour cycling and weekly 5K jog. Ofcourse, my body aches to the extent my shoulder joints are sore… And… Hey I got an excellent V shape… all weight across waist gone with a flat ABS….
Thanks for the continued tips and feedback! Here are some more goodies from Twitter at http: Sports basement has a bunch for rent. The biggest difference is visability, no lines! I posted to your blog as well.
Quality and price from Promotion in Hood River http: Most important is to relax and breathe. A tense swimmer is a sinker. Use minimal kick, keep stroke long, bend elbows. Rotate in the water, work the wall. Start slow, build, practice. Try on MANY wetsuits. It must fit tight. Excess material welcomes water. I got a problem with treading water in the vertical position. I can tread only on my back with arms sculling. Any tips from any of you guys would be great! BTW… if you want to get really, really lean… really, really quick, swimming can do that for you.
Hi Tim, I have to say that you really inspired me. All the best, Mike. I earlier promised a url for a free pdf. This is a 30 to 40 page book that explains a lot about why humans have such difficulty with swimming well, or efficiently or very far — and how to reduce drag and save energy to increase your endurance and speed, by doing less, rather than more. I really appreciate all the comments here. I am new to this blog. There have been some really powerful athletes, swimmers, and dancers in both sides of my family.
I can feel the connection between dance and swimming, and I have always experienced being exhausted while swimming. Now I understand what I have needed to do with my head, arms and legs, and that the way I was taught to swim as child in camp,etc has literally been a drag. Also I am recovering from a severe injury and have intuitively known that swimming would help restore me. It seems like this immersion method is more of a natural way to swim.
I think your idea is excellent. How to ensure you implement the donation program correctly? Another approach would be to work with one of these programs for a short period of time to get paid to learn how the system works. The TI series is indeed a very good series. As a coach on the U. National Team, I can say that many of these techniques are used in coaching the top level athletes although more time is spent putting in yardage! TI gives you many techniques to think about, but I would tell you the main thing to think about is body position and body line in the water.
In my experience, many people particulary masters swimmers get SO caught up in the little technical things that other areas are sacrificed mainly racing! Lastly, one suggestion for open water swimming: If you get a chance to watch any water polo in the Olympics pay attention to the underwaters cams — they get great shots of eggbeater. Eggbeater is really just an upright, modified breaststroke kick done with each leg individually.
You want to be careful of your knees when your practicing this at first. You can try holding a kickboard at the surface with your arms draped over the flat portion.
Then try doing a few breaststroke kicks upright. Then try doing a breaststroke kick with one leg at a time. This might feel a little awkward. Eventually you will end up with a fluid motion kicking one leg after the other that actually looks a bit like an hand-crank eggbeater used in baking.
You can tread water, have a conversation with folks and feel comfortable treading for long stretches of time. Safety first. This sounds very similar to modeling, and has been proven effective to learning new things. As long as you have an expert, who is willing to teach, teach you all they know, in a format that makes it easy to learn, you will quickly step up to a higher level.
Unfortunately, modeling works best with a real expert, someone who has actually won championships, etc. This why reading a just an ordinary book on a topic may not as effective learning. I started swimming about 4 years ago—prior, I was a terrible swimmer. Two lengths and I would be exhausted.
Every time I got in the water I was afraid I was going to drown. Some other tips that I found helpful—getting a breathing rhythm down. When I breathe, I only inhale. I slowly exhale through my nose while my head is under water and over the course of three strokes. Then I inhale my next breath. This led to sometimes not getting enough air, leaving me gasping by the next gulp for air, increasing sense of desperation and creating a vicious cycle.
By only doing one thing, I guarantee getting enough air until my next breath.
I really rely on my hips when I swim. Makes swimming almost effortless. In fact, I hurt my feet two years ago and swimming was my only form of exercise during that period. Now, I still do a small kick, but only as a balance check. I learned how to swim with this method. It is absolutely the best! I often have people who have swam for years complementing me on my speed and style.
I only wish that there were other methods like TI for other sports. Shutterhack Swimming has always scared the hell out of me. No more. Before I had a chance to finish, he cut me off: It revolutionized how I swim.
The theories and explanation after the DVD, however, will change how you view all of it: The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Peter Attia vs. Share this: Facebook Twitter Email Reddit Print. The Fortune 4-Hour Workweek: Multiplying Output in Groups Plus: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.
Name required. Hi Tim, I noticed that you mentioned wanting to increase your distance with swimming. Because the Olympics are on?
Neesh, Partly, for sure. Tim Like Liked by 1 person. Hi Tim, I used to be a competitive swimmer turned semi-pro triathlete. Best of luck in the pool, Evan Like Liked by 1 person. Keep up the good work Roberto Like Liked by 1 person. David Like Liked by 1 person. In the TI approach, arm stroking is among the last things we teach: First, you acquire a long, balanced, needle-shaped, and effortlessly rotating core body. Then you link your pull and kick to the body's movements and rhythms.
As your propelling actions, practiced first in switch drills, gradually grow into strokes, we maintain a focus on keeping them coordinated and integrated with core-body rhythm.
Our slogan is swim with your body, not your arms and legs. And the moment your speed, effort, or fatigue causes you to feel disconnected, its time to slow down and regain your flow.
Never, ever practice struggle. But remember: None of these positions or skills is natural or instinctive. You must apply yourself to learning them. The clear and logical course of instruction in the chapters that follow should put you on the path to better swimming immediately. But first Ill ask you to forget everything you know about swimming so you can learn a completely fresh way to move through the water, a way I guarantee will make more sense, feel better and make improvement easier than anything youve tried before.
Part 2 The Smart Swimming Solution In the next six chapters, well explain the smartest way to become a more effective swimmer. The information well present is simple, readily available, and logicalbut widely ignored by swimmers triathletes, too and coaches, who choose the much harder, more frustrating route of generic training.
But not you. In the next few pages, youll learn the most clever and reliable way to improve your swimming, and youll gain all the tools you need to train smarter and more efficiently than virtually every swimmer on earth.
Chapter 4 Stroke Length: How You Can Swim Like Ian Thorpe While special oxygen-analyzing equipment may be needed to measure economy in the research lab, in the pool economy is easy to recognize. The pool where I train is filled with thoroughly average swimmers.
Their splashy, choppy, noisy strokes are the norm. Wherever we looked -- even before we began teaching -- almost all of the fifty men and women swimmers were practicing long, relaxed, unhurried strokes, with little noise or splash and a marked absence of visible effort.
Good swimmers have one thing in common: They make it look easy. Genuinely great swimmers there are only a few dozen in the entire world -- are so fishlike that they look downright elegant. The latest example is Olympic champion Ian Thorpe, who shattered world records in Sydney, while taking what The New York Times described as strokes of languid purpose.
Since , Alexander Popov had been my favorite exemplar of swimming economy. While Popov is enormously gifted, he and his coach also made a purposeful decade-long effort to emphasize the practice of fluidity and control at all speeds. The impression I get from champions such as Thorpe and Popov is that they always seem to be of the water, not just in it.
The word that best captures the quality of their swimming is flow. And what is the secret to flow? For years I was convinced it was pure talent: great swimmers somehow knew in their bones how to remain fluid and smooth when going fast. The rest of us could just watch in envy. But ten years of intensive teaching have shown me that Fishlike swimming is possible for anyone who pursues it logically and patiently. At every Total Immersion workshop, we start on Saturday morning with splashy, choppy, average swimmers, like those that fill my pool, and yours.
By Sunday afternoon, the flow pattern right across the pool is much like what we saw at Auburn. Using simple information, you too can understand exactly how to achieve flow and then, to a surprising degree, achieve it for yourself.
Once you've "broken the code" of fluid, relaxed swimming, you can consciously practice, as Alex Popov does, the movements and qualities that produce it, and that all but guarantee you'll swim your best. I wont promise you'll swim as fast as an Olympian, but you will swim as well as youre capable of swimming. The key to being the best swimmer you can be is a longer stroke or, as swim pros call it, Stroke Length.
This secret is actually widely known, but almost perversely ignored, by coaches and swimmers, who continue to pursue success mainly through sheer sweat, even though more and harder laps actually tend to make your stroke shorter, not longer. Hard work, without sufficient care and thought, will actually slow most swimmers' progress. An even more powerful impediment than habit is instinct.
Most every swimmer who wants to go faster automatically thinks first of churning the arms faster. And a faster stroke i. Since , more than a dozen researchers have analyzed the results of meets at all levels, from high-school championships to the Olympics, to figure out what make the faster swimmers faster.
Each study produced the same result: Winners took fewer strokes. Test it yourself at any local pool or at your next workout: Count strokes per length for slower swimmers and compare with faster swimmers. The faster swimmers will almost certainly take fewer strokes. This simple insight has incredible potential to transform your own swimming, if you'll just use it.
But as I said, most swimmers or triathletes continue to train as if the pace clock and yardage total were all that mattered. If even one study had identified aerobic power as the key to better swimming, such overwhelming focus on distance, time, and effort would make more sense. But none did. Yet when scientists study the impact of power on performance, they usually find the best swimmers in the world are less powerful than any number of mediocre swimmers.
So weight-room visits and power-oriented swim sets aren't the answer either. None of this is to suggest that fitness is unimportant. But at the Olympics, everyone has worked hard; everyone is incredibly fit. Yet certain swimmers still have an edge over all the others. And that edge, up to 90 percent of the time, is a longer stroke. What, Exactly, Is Stroke Length?
You can work more effectively on your Stroke Length for simplicity, I'll refer to it as SL, and to stroke count per length of the pool as spl , if you understand it, but SL is one of the most poorly understood terms in swimming. Even though swimmers are beginning to grasp that a long stroke is advantageous, most are still unsure of exactly what SL means or how to make a stroke longer. They mostly think of SL as "how far you reach forward and push back.
When I eavesdrop at workouts, I hear directives such as, "You've got to make your stroke longer! Nor will it bring the swimmer anywhere near his or her best possible SL.
So the swimmer remains unconvinced and goes back to relying on SR stroke rate for speed. For years, I struggled to increase my own SL without much success. So long as I worked on it by trying to push more water back, I managed to shave about one stroke from my average each year or two. Often, these were people who understood the value of SL and had been trying for years to improve it. The reason stroke length doesn't have a lot to do with arm length, or with how you push water back, is SL is how far your body travels each time you take a stroke, and your success in minimizing drag influences it far more than how you stroke.
Youll learn how to minimize drag in the next three chapters. How fast you swim V is a product of how far you travel on each stroke SL , multiplied by how fast you take those strokes SR. In that way, at least, swimming is no different from running or in-line skating or cross-country skiing, where SL and SR refer to Stride Length and Stride Rate. Throughout the animal kingdom, the really fast creatures -- race horses, greyhounds, cheetahs, Marion Jones, Michael Johnson -- use about the same stride rate at all speeds.
They run faster by taking longer strides, not by taking them faster. But in the water, for all the reasons I explained earlier, we humans do just the opposite, resorting to churning our arms madly when we want more speed. It seems self-evident that a longer stroke or stride would be more efficient than a shorter one, but in the water a longer stroke is much more efficient.
Heres why. First, there's the energy cost of a higher SR.
As you increase SR, the energy cost goes up by a cube of that increase. Double your stroke rate and you burn energy eight 2 x 2 x 2 times faster.
Second, there's the effect of a higher SR on coordination. As SR and your heart rate increases, your ability to stay coordinated and fluent diminishes dramatically. As your form becomes increasingly ragged and inefficient, energy cost goes up even more. And, finally, you disturb the water around you far more when you're churning than when stroking smoothly.
A fast turnover is like swimming in white water. Not only is drag higher in turbulent water, but also your hands can't "grip" churned-up water nearly so well as they grip still water. One of the surest ways to find still water to pull is to swim with a greater SL and lower SR.
As soon as you begin counting strokes, youll recognize that virtually every choice you make in training influences your SL in some way -- the distance of your repeats, how much you rest between them, the length of your sets, how fast you swim, your heart rate. But the single most important reason for a mediocre SL is failure to pay attention to it.
If you are not consciously monitoring how your SL holds up at various speeds and distances by counting strokes , your instincts will drag you back into too much reliance on SR. In fact, if you were to put this book away now and do nothing more ambitious than count your strokes regularly and set some personal standards or an acceptable upper limit, you would immediately start improving.
When you do monitor your count, youll be alerted as soon as your SL falls too steeply and can immediately take steps to fix it. And what might those steps be?
SL can be improved in two ways. The easiest way is to minimize drag, and you do this by simply repositioning your body in the water to make yourself more slippery. Well help you do that by showing you how to pierce the water. The more slippery your body line, the farther you will travel, with more ease and less deceleration, on a given amount of propulsion.
Nuoto, Swimming - Total Immersion.pdf
The second way to improve SL is to maximize propulsion, and you do this by focusing on doing a better job of moving your body forward. To improve that, well show you how to replace exhausting arm churning with coordinated whole-body movements. When I began teaching TI workshops in , I had recently become acquainted with an independent thinker named Bill Boomer who urged coaches to at least pay some attention to "vessel-shaping. I was clear on one thing: I would measure my success as a teacher by how much my students improved their SL.
And, from the start, I noticed a striking phenomenon. When I was successful in teaching swimmers to stroke better, I would see a modest improvement in their SL. When I was successful in teaching them to pierce the water better, I would see dramatic improvement.
At a TI workshop in Chicago in , it took him 36 strokes to swim 25 yards as we videotaped him on Saturday morning. His body position, though, had changed from about a degree uphill posture on Saturday to very nearly horizontal on Sunday. Countless experiences such as that got my attention in a hurry, and we soon began to devote more and more of our limited teaching time to "slippery swimming. The simplest way to monitor your SL is to make a habit of counting your strokes, at all speeds, and on virtually every length.
That will give you a basis for evaluating whether you're spending your precious pool time concentrating on things that will really help you swim faster or more easily. You'll find there's not a single number that represents your "best" stroke count. Your primary goals should be to: 1 gradually lower that range; 2 reduce the difference between its top and bottom; and 3 do the majority of your training in the lower half of your range. But at what point have you gone far enough?
Now and again, well see a workshop pupil proudly swim for the video camera on Saturday morning in a very low count, perhaps 12 strokes, because theyve read my first book and taken its message to heart, working unswervingly to shave strokes. But their stroke lap is anything but efficient.
Its typically lurching and nonrhythmic, and theres a whole lot of kicking going on. Ill take the blame for that, having failed in that book to make clear that the goal of our instruction is to help you reach your optimal, not maximal SL.
We dont want you straining to reach the lowest count you can squeeze out. We want you to free yourself to swim at an efficient count that you can maintain with relatively little effort, and especially with relatively little kicking. These swimmers would actually have been better off with a relaxed and rhythmic 15 strokes than the 12 they were straining to hold. The key to that freedom, ease, and control is balance, the one skill of swimming that is non-negotiable Lets get straight to it.
Chapter 5 Balance: Becoming Fishlike Starts Here If theres one moment at every TI workshop that can be described as an epiphany, its when our students first realize they can float feel effortlessly supported by the water just by changing their body position.
For most, this is a total revelation so accustomed are they to fighting that sinking feeling with every stroke. That sensation, created by a drill so simple that 90 percent of our students master it in 10 minutes, is so transforming that one of our alums exulted in an e-mail to me, "I've been swimming twice a day since the workshop because I'm afraid if I wait too long I'll have forgotten how it feels to be balanced.
Every time I get in I pray, 'please, please, feel like it did last time. Ten minutes, and one simple skill, have made them feel more capable than anything else in their swimming experience.
That's why mastering balance is the non-negotiable foundation of "fishlike" swimming -- the skill that must be learned by every would-be swimmer before attempting anything more advanced. Which simply means that learning to swim is no different from learning to walk or any other land-based skill. Many years ago, just learning to stand unaided, and then take a few shaky steps, took each of us weeks of utterly concentrated effort.
But it was essential to every movement skill that followed, from basic play skills such as running and bicycling to advanced athletic skills such as gymnastics, dance, or downhill skiing. In each instance the body's center of gravity several inches below the navel must be kept artfully aligned over the feet while the body is moving in ways likely to upset that alignment.
We spend virtually every waking minute consciously or unconsciously practicing dynamic balance in that way. And our motivation to excel at it is great for, if we don't, we'll be terrible at sports -- and be much more likely to fall and fracture things.
Part of the reason it has taken so long for swimmers and coaches to understand how essential it is to master balance is that being unbalanced doesnt have so serious a penalty in the water as on land. Rather than a painful fall and instant lesson, we start doing laps any way we can and simply get tired from all the extra drag of a body moving towards its natural i. Our reaction to that is I need to get in better shape.
Ten years of teaching have shown us that every swimmer who has not consciously worked on balance has room to improve on it. Even Olympic swimmers have told me they could feel their hips become lighter and higher after practicing simple balance drills, though we could not always see a striking difference. But with Olympic decided by the tiniest of margins, even fractional improvements in efficiency loom large. The immediate improvement in every swimmer to whom we've taught our basic balance drills has shaped TI methods as nothing else has.
Its also shaped the thinking of hundreds of coaches who have attended a TI workshop and seen how rapidly a sense of balance can transform a struggling swimmer into a fluent one. Mastering balance is not only important in its own right, but also impacts every part of the stroke.
Here's how. Balance keeps you horizontal and slippery. Imagine kicking with a board angled slightly upward. The increased drag would make kicking a lot harder. Now imagine how much drag your whole body can create when positioned at a similar angle. If you're not perfectly horizontal, it's a lot more work to move yourself forward than if you are horizontal. Usually the best-hidden imbalance is that which happens only momentarily during the stroke e. Viewed in slow-motion or stop-action from under water, it shows up glaringly.
The swimmer usually has no idea this is going on at all until he or she begins regular balance practice and realizes how much better it feels to be completely supported by the water.
Balance saves you from wasting energy fighting that sinking feeling. Huge amounts of energy are wasted because of the nearly universal misunderstanding that good body position means riding high in the water. Novice swimmers spend upwards of 90 percent of their energy just trying to keep from sinking.
Their survival stroke leaves little energy for moving forward. More accomplished swimmers -- no longer in any danger of drowning -- waste energy, too, because theyve heard that good swimmers ride high on the water. Coaches sagely repeat it, and swimmers grimly try to do it. The reality? A speedboat will not hydroplane until its reached at least 33 mph, and no human swimmer has ever exceeded 5 mph. The pointless effort to stay on top not only squanders energy, but also keeps your arms and legs so busy pressing down to keep you up that they have no opportunity to propel you forward.
You save much more energy by learning to sink in a horizontal position instead of fighting to stay on top. As soon as you learn to find an effortlessly horizontal position in the water, you eliminate needless tension, you gain flow and ease, and you save energy for propulsion. Balance "liberates your limbs" to propel more efficiently. Coaches often observe a dropped elbow or splayed-leg and order, "Keep those elbows up!
Swimmers have an instinctive understanding that it's better to remain horizontal and stable. When they sense imbalance, they instinctively use their arms or legs to fix it. These compensating or stabilizing actions appear to the coach as stroke errors.
But when the underlying imbalance is corrected, many of the more-visible errors often disappear. The arms are freed to perform their most valuable function -- lengthening the bodyline and holding on to the water.
The legs are freer to stay effortlessly in sync with core-body rotation. The stroke automatically becomes far more efficient. Balance frees more of your power. A baseball slugger's power is useless if he swings from an off-balance stance.
An in-line skater, cross-country skier, or speed skater's powerful quads can do little good if the rest of the body isn't stable and positioned for the push. No good athlete attempts to perform in anything other than full dynamic balance. On land, grounded by gravity and needing all of your body's power to excel, your body just knows it can't deliver if it's not balanced. In the water, it's different. And because you're not on solid ground, you're similarly restricted from using all of your potential power.
On top of that, without those clear dry-land signals, your body's balancing instincts can't tell you how you're limiting the power you do have. But limiting it you are, because swimming power comes from core-body rotation, which triggers the kinetic chain, which powers the arms and legs. As weve seen in thousands of unbalanced swimmers on underwater video, a swimmer who lacks dynamic balance loses the ability to rotate freely.
Total Immersion: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days and You Can Too
Many of these swimmers, aware that something is holding them back, spend hour after hour doing lat pulls and tricep presses. Truth is, they already have ample power and could tap it instantly by improving their balance. Balance frees you to be more fluent. The unbalanced swimmer, especially in freestyle, is often trapped in a cycle of frantic movement.
He responds to the feeling of sinking by churning his arms more. The faster he churns, the shorter his strokes become, and the more strokes he has to take to maintain speed. Eventually, hes flailing his arms frantically just to keep moving. As soon as you master balance, you escape the trap. You can move at the same speed with a far more leisurely stroke, can find a more natural and fluent body rhythm, and will swim in calmer water. Getting Your Balance We define balance as being "effortlessly horizontal" in the water.
The key word is effortless. Its possible to achieve a horizontal position if you do things such as kick hard, skip breaths or use your arms for support. But were after horizontal balance with minimal kicking, breathing at will, and with "weightless" arms. And this kind of effortless balance is achieved by creatively repositioning your body parts and redistributing your body mass.
You can almost forget about pulling and kicking. The way to do it is fairly simple. First, keep your head in a natural, neutral position -- as close as possible to the way you hold it when you're not swimming.
Second, shift your body weight forward. Pressing in, rather than trying to stay on top, is, of course, counterintuitive. Moreover, that repetition needs to be pretty much just walking. And that repetition needs to be pretty much just break-dancing on a horse's back, or pieces of that skill ordered in a progressive manner, so as to end up with something people will pay to see.
Whenever we do anything in the water, the neuromuscular system is inextricably drawn to the 'wrong' conclusions about what balance is and how to achieve it. Not wrong for land-based activity -- wrong for water-based activity. Here are the elements. XXX Ask a friend if your head position looks like this. So our teaching progression now starts with teaching swimmers to "hide" the head.
Once thats accomplished, we show them how to press the buoy. From your point of view, it should feel as if: a thin film of water could flow over the back of your head at any time you're looking directly at the bottom between breaths, using peripheral vision to peek just a bit forward you're leading with the top of your head, rather than with your nose your hips and legs feel much lighter and are riding noticeably higher.
Hiding your head does not mean burying it, nor pressing it down. It simply means holding your head in a neutral position, the way you hold it when you're not swimming. When I'm coaching, as I look across the pool, I want to see that tiny sliver of the back of your head showing above the surface whenever you're not breathing. Or a thin film of water flowing over it. Ask a friend to eyeball you as you swim and drill, after showing them the photo below. Swim Downhill We may no longer emphasize this as much as previously, but for many people -- and particularly triathletes who are quite lean or have weak kicks or rigid ankles from years of running -- consciously shifting weight forward, constantly leaning on your chest, remains very helpful.
Hiding your head should make your balance much better, but if you still feel your hips and legs sinking, then lean on your chest too. How much? Press in until you feel the water pushing you back out. Press in until you feel as if your hips are light, as if the water is simply carrying you. When that happens, youre experiencing the sensation we call swimming downhill. Youre not really, but the contrast with your prior ordeal swimming uphill will have you imploring "please, please feel like this every time.
If you're one of the confirmed "sinkers," this could take as much as six months of patient effort.
Reach with a "Weightless" Arm The best indicator that you are a truly balanced freestyler is the sensation of having a weightless arm. With poor balance, or a high head position, you have to use your arms to try to keep from sinking. The weight of your head and body drives them down as you try to reach forward. A balanced swimmer should be able to feel as if the extending arm is weightless, just floating effortlessly -- almost leisurely -- forward, until you choose to make your catch and begin stroking.
Until you have at least the basics of balance, you will almost certainly practice struggle to an unacceptable degree while doing whole-stroke swimming. It is essential to take all the time necessary to patiently move through the basic balance drills until effortless support begins to feel natural. Dont swim and dont even do much advanced drilling. Just stay with the most basic drills -- Lesson One in the drill section that begins on page -- almost to the exclusion of everything else.
Use the fistglove stroke trainer After mastering Lessons 1 through 3 see pages to , one of the simplest and quickest ways to further develop your basic balance skills, while doing switch drills and whole-stroke swimming, is to wear fistglove stroke trainers for 50 percent or more of your pool time. These black latex mittens tightly wrap your hand into a fist and make it impossible to use your arm as a support lever or to muscle your way through the water. They force you to use your torso for balance and support and encourage you to use much more finesse while swimming.
Soon, a weightless arm is your only option. For more information on fistgloves, visit www. Should I Use a Pull Buoy? Ordinarily my answer would be no.
Once a swimmer has learned balance, Id say he should never use a pull buoy again; a balanced body is its own perfect buoy. The basic problem with pull buoys is they provide artificial balance; take the buoy off and its lost. If, however, you wear it just long enough to sharpen your kinesthetic sense of how it feels to have your hips and legs effortlessly supported and how that can free your arms to simply glide forward see weightless arm above , you can try to replicate the sensation without the buoy.
You might spend 7 to 10 minutes alternating one length with the buoy, two without, mindfully trying to make the buoy-free laps feel progressively more like the buoy-supported laps. If you typically swim with a frantic kick not unusual for runners , you might also benefit from spending part of your practice time with a pull buoy. Again, use it to learn what it feels like to have your hips and legs feel effortlessly supported so that you dont need to use them to stay afloat.
What about My Wetsuit? Wetsuits are universally popular with triathletes for one primary reason. They instantly solve the balance problem. Yes, they help keep you warm in cold water but, more important, they make you comfortable and confident. In Chapter 19, Ill give detailed guidance on how to use that freedom to maximum advantage in a race, but for now just be aware of this: The greatest advantage offered by a wetsuit is the freedom to slow down your arms, lengthen your body on each stroke, and end the frantic churning.
If you happen to do some wetsuit swimming in pool or lake, focus more on slowing your arms and lengthening your body than on anything else, and recognize that you are imprinting the balanced-swimming form.
Then when you swim without your wetsuit, try to keep the same feeling of leisure, control, and flow. And, happily, there are ways to make our bodies "longer" too -- at least as far as the water is concerned.No matter how many laps you do, youll never have enough fitness to compensate for the energy you waste.
Concentrate, even as you pull and kick, on fitting through the smallest possible hole in the water, and you'll be on the right track. In this case. The Choice Is Yours You have a choice to make each time you arrive at the pool: Here are my notes from the Total Immersion book , which I would recommend reading after watching the Freestyle Made Easy DVD , as the drills are near-impossible to understand otherwise.
Watching fish under water makes it clear that the best "engine" for propulsion in a fluid is the core body. If you try to improve by swimming more and harder an approach that comes naturally for cyclists or runners , youll mainly make your struggling skills more permanent. Usually the best-hidden imbalance is that which happens only momentarily during the stroke e.
Most of your energy and too much of what you hope are propelling actions i. Our discomfort creates tension; we respond with turbulent churning.