Swimming Training Program – Secret Tip – How to Pull Underwater in Freestyle swimming


Hi, I’m Gary Hall Senior from the Race
Club. this week in the secret tip, we’re gonna talk about the way in which we pull underwater in the freestyle stroke You know, what I say applies also to
butterfly and breaststroke. Let’s talk specifically about freestyle
today. A lot of you may not even realize that you have a choice. You just stick your arm in the water and
you start pulling. And you think that’s the way it’s done. But you have options. Let me give you what the two options are.
The most extreme option is one you put your arm in and you pull almost straight down and in some cases the hand crosses over underneath the body and then releases. At the other extreme, you enter the hand and the elbow stays
almost at the surface, and you pull almost to the side with a
very shallow hand and then the hand releases . So, what’s the difference between those two extreme different ways of pulling underwater? or has to do with efficiency? When we measure efficiency, we have to look at the propulsive power against the frontal drag. The speed that we can generate is
directly proportional to the power that we generate. But it’s inversely proportional to the
drag or frontal drag that we create during our swimming. So, let’s start first
with power. Let’s take the first extreme example
when we pull straight down and even underneath this. When we create that motion, our shoulder
joint is in, what we call, a positive angle. If you look at me now, this is neutral, this is the zero angle. This is flexion or a positive angle. And
when the shoulder joint moves behind me, that’s called a negative angle or
extension. The most powerful position we can be in, mechanically, to swim, is when the shoulder is in this
front positive position. So, when we’re pulling down and underneath this, our shoulder is in that exact same position so we’re in a very powerful position. So, it turns out, as we pull this way, we can generate more power. How do I know that? Well, if you’re in the
high elbow position, or what we call the
early vertical forearm, and recovering with the other hand
over-the-top, you now put yourself into an extended
position, where both shoulders are pointing back,
arms are pointing back And that weakens the power that is
generated with the high elbow. And so when we look at swimmers
underwater, and we see most of the swimmers pull in
this position the position I called power. But when we look at the fastest swimmers in the world, they’re not pulling that way, they’re
pulling with the elbow extremely high. Why? the answer has to do with frontal
drag. The reason there in that position is
that it reduces drag dramatically, over the deep dropped elbow position Why does it do that? Well, in order to understand the drag forces that are imposed on the arm, during the freestyle pull, you have to understand what the velocity of all the parts of the arm are, during the pull cycle. And they’re different. Well let’s start with the human body. Let’s assume that we’re very good swimmers, and that we can swim fifty meters in 25 seconds. That means that our body was moving in two meters per second for that 50 meters. So, the question is how fast is our arm moving in the water, if our body is moving at two meters per second. Let’s start with the hand. First of all, most great swimmers, their hand will enter the water, and go through the cycle, and leave the water, almost in the exact same position that it entered. That means that the net velocity of the
hand underwater was 0. That also means that the hand did not
contribute to any frontal drag, because in order to create drag you have
to have motion, you have to have some size, and you have to have some motion. So, if the hand’s net velocity is 0, what about the rest of the arm, what is it
doing during the stroke cycle? Let’s start with the arm that’s attached to the body. Since the body is moving in two meters per second, this part in the arm has to be moving in
two meters per second. And as we move down the arm, although
it’s not necessarily linear, the speed gets less, as we move down the
arm. So, here, maybe two meters per second. Here, a meter and a half. One meter. A half. To 0. The point is that the further up we
go in the arm, the faster forward the arm is moving. The faster the the arm is moving, and the bigger the arm is, the more frontal drag. So, most of the drag of the arm is contributed by the upper part of the arm, not the lower part of the arm. So how does that affect our pull? We’ll consider the fact that when you’re
pulling deep, this part of the arm goes off alignment, off axis almost instantly. As soon as any part of our body sticks
out, or goes off axis, the drag force will go go up tremendously. If we, in contrast to that,
to the high elbow, we keep the upper arm, in almost in the
line of motion, as long as possible until we’re forced to have to pull it back and get it out of the water, the net effect of that is, we say, in a better drag position here, than we do when we come deep. The other reason that the drag is
greater, when we pull deep, is that a straight arm actually creates more drag than a bent arm. Same shape(X), same size, different shape, different drag coefficient. So the question is, do I want more power? or do I want less drag? Well, in the world of swimming, drag trumps power. So it’s actually better for you to swim with less frontal drag, in this high elbow position, giving up some power than it is to pull straight down, and
have more power with greater drag. You not only will swim faster in this position, but you won’t tire fast. And that’s why you see great
swimmers swimming with a high elbow. www.theraceclub.com Video : Richard Hall Written and Narrated by Garry Hall Sr All Rights Reserved. The Race Club 2011

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