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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Let me know what you think:






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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [trainingwheels] [ In reply to ]
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there's a lot that looks good. catch and extend are good, you're moving forward and not side to side. all that is good.

two things i'd like to see different. as has been the case with most of the folks putting vids up here, your legs are sunk. they need to be higher.

tim elson, ex of finis, has an interesting "drill" he asks people to do, if you want to call it that. float on the surface, like the vitruvian man. don't go anywhere. just float in place. immobile. see how long you can float, face down, with your legs and feet on the surface. it's very hard at first! but you get better at it. tell the lifeguard first what you're doing, so you don't give him heart attack.

it's this sort of posture change that'll make a big difference in your swimming. head down, legs up. i don't have a pithy suggestion on how to do it. the really hard core drill for this is to band the ankles together, without any flotation, and try to make your way freestyle across the pool. if you can do that, you've solved it.

second thing, you have pretty much zero extend, or glide, after the catch. you don't have to have mountains of it, but there should be more than you now have. i think i understand why you don't: because you basically stall after the catch and you've got to start your pull immediately.

in fact, both these are related. from the hips down you aren't doing enough to keep yourself moving. there's a drill that immediately comes to mind that i think would help you, because it would force you to make changes in order to perform the drill. here's a video that dave scott narrates, and it's 3 drills he likes, and i want you to do the first one: slow arm recovery with hesitation:



i like this better than full catch-up because this exaggerates your extend phase but it's more natural than catch-up.

if you get your feet up on the surface - which has more to do with your body from the trunk up than from the trunk down - you can then drive with your hips and legs into the catch and extend and it'll make that recovery with hesitation drill easier to perform.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the critiques, I'll get on the new drills asap. I'd also like to thank you for putting together this challenge, usually swimming is usually 'I'll just fit it in when I can' which usually turns into not very many swims. The Guppy challenge has forced me to rethink that mentality, thank you!
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
there's a lot that looks good. catch and extend are good, you're moving forward and not side to side. all that is good.

two things i'd like to see different. as has been the case with most of the folks putting vids up here, your legs are sunk. they need to be higher.

tim elson, ex of finis, has an interesting "drill" he asks people to do, if you want to call it that. float on the surface, like the vitruvian man. don't go anywhere. just float in place. immobile. see how long you can float, face down, with your legs and feet on the surface. it's very hard at first! but you get better at it. tell the lifeguard first what you're doing, so you don't give him heart attack.

it's this sort of posture change that'll make a big difference in your swimming. head down, legs up. i don't have a pithy suggestion on how to do it. the really hard core drill for this is to band the ankles together, without any flotation, and try to make your way freestyle across the pool. if you can do that, you've solved it.

Why is this not pithy enough?

"My advice is not "don't do that." My advice is quite specific and quite simple: identify by feel those muscles by lifting your straight legs while lying stomach-down on the floor, then engage those muscles while you swim. Once practiced enough, it becomes second nature and provides immediate speed gains with minimal energy expenditure. "

While swimming yesterday, I made a conscious effort to detect those muscles, and sure enough I could feel the slight flexing of my back, butt, and hamstring muscles that keep my legs at the surface.

Putting bands on your ankles sinks your legs, but it doesn't tell you how to raise them. The above does exactly that.

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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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"Putting bands on your ankles sinks your legs, but it doesn't tell you how to raise them. The above does exactly that."

i don't have any quarrel with what you're advocating doing. i think there is more than one way to skin this. you're absolutely right in what you say, as far as it goes. the challenge is in how to get people to make the necessary change.

one way is to tell somebody directly what to do. another way is to place someone in a position where absolute failure is imminent absent making the necessary change. i can tell you that this is how you engage your muscles properly to climb that tree. or i can let loose a grizzly bear and rest in the comfort that you'll figure out how to climb that tree. i am not equipped to argue that one method is better and, in fact, i think it's possible each method has its audience.

one thing i do believe is that the pathways to teaching adult onset swimmers are different than those when teaching a 9 year old to swim. but that's about the only thing i have confidence in. the rest for me is trial and error and i welcome your input (and anyone else's). as a matter of fact, what with the influx of videos on this thread, i got up this morning intending to call out halfspeed and tigerchick and have them join you in adding their thoughts to the folks posting these videos.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [ntc] [ In reply to ]
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You might try:

Snorkel sets to find balance in the water. Posture looks good but of course strengthen the swim base will help with speed.
Fist drills to take away any feeling of downward push at the front end
Try pulling more down the middle as I find this is more efficient than paddling out to the sides so much.
Move to multi-stroke work, back stroke etc.

Looks pretty natural - keep at the program you'll be fast

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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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Ok guys this is going to be a hard one! so many things to fix!
first of all a little background: as many, started swimming 3 years ago (age 29), for only 1 reason: doing triathlons. never swam in my entire life, couldn't do a single lap without grasping for air. The first year went by with me finishing a couple of 70.3 with a swim time around 37-40min. Late 2015 I started doing the finding freestyle program, it helped me a lot, especially with syncing my kick with the upper body. At the end of the program I was able to improve my average pace by 15-20secs.
For work reasons, beginning of 2016 I stopped training, and resumed last November, obviously much slower than 9 months before. when the guppy challenge started I picked it up immediately and it helped me getting close to where I was last year.
Swimming is by far the sport where I suck the most, I struggle being relaxed in the water, my shoulder mobility is horrible (if I stand and lift my arms straight up, they're way in front of my head and you can see it also when I'm swimming, my arms are way below the surface of the water); my ankle flexibility is horrible as well! I feel like I'm at a dead end right now, I would really appreciate your feedback.

In the video you will see two segments, both front/back and from the side; in the first segment I'm trying a 6 beat kick, in the second a 2 beat kick. I've always kicked with a 2 beat, I always struggled with the 6 beat, but lately I tried harder to learn it, and it's getting better.


Last edited by: trimarch: Jan 19, 17 19:44
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [trimarch] [ In reply to ]
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That looks pretty good to my eye. Your stroke rate is a little slow but that's probably due to lack of pool time. You do lift a little bit when you breathe. You can see it as an arch in the back when you go to breathe...that's causing additional drag.
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I would appreciate any constructive feedback!









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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks Dan!
I have been working on your suggestions these last few days and especially the "swim downhill" one works for me.
Now on to focus on the windmill arms see more :-)
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Re: Critique my swim videos [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
In this week's preamble to your workouts I'm asking you to video your swim. I'm giving you some hints of what I want in the video. I'm posting this thread here for any of you (in or not in the Challenge) who want to post Critique my swim videos.


Would consider posting a swim video of yourself and Monty?
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [JoelO] [ In reply to ]
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JoelO wrote:
That looks pretty good to my eye. Your stroke rate is a little slow but that's probably due to lack of pool time. You do lift a little bit when you breathe. You can see it as an arch in the back when you go to breathe...that's causing additional drag.
Thanks for your feedback Joel!
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Re: Critique my swim videos [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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400 IM 4:50xx

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Canadian Record Holder 35-39M & 40-44M - 200 m Butterfly (LCM)
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Paused] [ In reply to ]
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Why are you breathing every stroke?
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [triathlete37] [ In reply to ]
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Air is your friend. Unless I'm going at a really easy pace or sprinting, I breathe every stroke.

Grant, your stroke looks good to me. Like trimarch, you would benefit from a higher stroke rate. Both of you appear to be swimming at roughly 60 strokes per minute. I would get a Finis tempo trainer and work on getting your stroke rate to about .85 seconds per stroke (that's mode 1 on the tempo trainer). You're at about 1 second per stroke now so it will take some time and effort to get there. You don't want to cut your stroke short just to get the higher rate.
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Paused] [ In reply to ]
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Do you see that little s-movement by your hands in the middle of your pull? I think you are pulling with too straight an arm (no early vertical forearm (EVF)), and it's really hard to hold the water with a straight arm. So, you release the water by moving your hand from side to side. That both reduces thrust and takes extra time (albeit very little time) each stroke. I think your hand goes too far down towards the bottom of the pool (that was my first hint about the straight arm), and the last video from the side clearly shows the straight arm.

You are extending your left arm too low in the water in front of you. It should look more like your right arm.

It's hard to be sure, but I think your hand is angled when you are at the low point of your pull, such that the surface of your hand (the pushing part!) is not perpendicular to the backward motion of the hand (little finger is leading your index finger). This may go back to needing too much strength to hold that pull because of the straight arm.

It's a decent stroke; as someone said, you could use a bit more turnover. Get those forearms vertical earlier, and straighten out the hand motion and you might see some improvement.

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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Appreciate this challenge very much. Lots to harp on here I know, but looking for a couple of specific things to address. Thanks...








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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [runfromnothing] [ In reply to ]
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Right off the top, you are getting very little thrust on your left side. The elbow is leading through the pull. You need to work on the EVF, especially on that side. Nothing else will help you more than fixing that. The right arm isn't a lot better.

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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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klehner wrote:
Right off the top, you are getting very little thrust on your left side. The elbow is leading through the pull. You need to work on the EVF, especially on that side. Nothing else will help you more than fixing that. The right arm isn't a lot better.

thanks. appreciate it. i'm not exactly surprised as that would describe what i feel. feels like it my arms slip. any specific ways to work on EVF that you'd suggest? I get a little lost of the endless options of ways to improve that. Doing one arm drills, catch up, and sculling. Sculling "feels" like it helps the most.
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [runfromnothing] [ In reply to ]
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I think Karlyn does a pretty good job of demonstrating the technique.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTQpF_mmg44[/url]
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [runfromnothing] [ In reply to ]
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runfromnothing wrote:
klehner wrote:
Right off the top, you are getting very little thrust on your left side. The elbow is leading through the pull. You need to work on the EVF, especially on that side. Nothing else will help you more than fixing that. The right arm isn't a lot better.


thanks. appreciate it. i'm not exactly surprised as that would describe what i feel. feels like it my arms slip. any specific ways to work on EVF that you'd suggest? I get a little lost of the endless options of ways to improve that. Doing one arm drills, catch up, and sculling. Sculling "feels" like it helps the most.

One drill I used to do was a two part sculling drill. Do a fifty in which the first length is the drill with one arm, and the length back is the other arm. Then repeat with the next drill, then a third fifty swimming normally.

#1: scull with the hand of one arm straight in front (both arms can be in front), left to right, three times, then take a pull with that arm (keeping the other arm in front), repeat for the length coming back with the other arm
#2: as above, but scull after initiating the pull so your sculling occurs with the forearm pointed straight down, and the elbow at the surface (this gives you the feel for what your hand/elbow relationship should be in space)

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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Are new entrants welcome? I have to confess I'm only starting the guppy program now. Basically I'm a cyclist who can run pretty well.
I do 70.3 and 140.6 events as the ratio of swimming to "the good stuff" is better and allows me to be competitive. I've never been a swimmer, I struggle at it and don't particular enjoy it. Pretty much fight through every stroke and breath. 1h 15 swim at Copenhagen last year. Strangely enough when I've been swimming for a while, I'm much faster in a pool than OW, guys who i'll be 15s/100 quicker than on repeats get out of the water at the same time or faster in a 3.8k race despite me having a top of the line, good fitting wet suit.
Basically I want a trip to Hawaii (who doesn't?) and my swimming isn't going to allow it.

I sink like a brick, I tried the lying face down drill and honestly try as I might my feet touch the bottom inside of 2 secs. I tried the land equivalent (prone superman position?) and it makes me swim in a hammock shape.

I know pretty much nothing is particularly right about my stroke but would love a firm grip or plan on where to attack first. I get zero propulsion from my kick. With a kickboard I genuinely stay static in the water. With a pull buoy swimming feels so much easier.

Anyway, I hope these videos are adequate. They were done a while back and I've been focusing on getting a bent elbow catch since then.
Any advice would be gratefully received. Many thanks for what you are doing here



Apologies I am struggling with embedded linking of the second video


Last edited by: hutchy_belfast: Jan 24, 17 4:49
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [hutchy_belfast] [ In reply to ]
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You say "I tried the land equivalent (prone superman position?) and it makes me swim in a hammock shape", but I bet you don't. Post a video of you really trying to engage your back/butt/hamstring muscles while you swim. In the first video, check out your hip angle: your hip flexors are pulling your legs down. As a cyclist, your hip flexors are likely very tight. You need to stretch them, or you will always be dragging your legs while swimming.

Following that,
  1. Your right hand enters too close to your shoulders: it should enter further toward your maximal extension. Too much extension under the water both takes more time to get to full extension, and increases drag. Your left arm is only slightly better. Both hands are too low at full extension.
  2. You are pulling with straight arms. This likely leads to your exaggerated s-pull (your hand comes back under your torso), since you can't pull effectively with a straight arm, so your hand slides from side to side. Especially on your right side (else it is just easier to see), your hand crosses under your torso. Look up and learn how to do the early vertical forearm thing.
  3. Your right hand appears angled during the entire pull. It should be perpendicular to the direction of pull, so you are allowing a lot of water to slip off. Paddles might be helpful to enable you to feel what it should be like to hold the water.
  4. Your legs splay a lot. I would guess this would lessen if you fix the above upper-body flaws, especially the cross-over (nobody splays their legs deliberately; I think it mostly follows what the arms are doing incorrectly).


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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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Many thanks for the input. I do all my cycling curled up in a ball in an aggressive TT position and my pelvic flexibility and overall core strength is poor at best. Ankle flexibility is woeful. I'm time pressed (aren't we all) and core work and flexibility is always the first to go. I'm in the middle of a marathon build atm so these are even worse than usual.

You are entirely right about the catch and pull. Frequently my hand 'slips' mid pull and wobbles laterally rather than maintaining tension on both sides.
You've given me things to focus on, thanks.
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Re: Guppy Challenge, Week-7 (Critique my swim vids) [hutchy_belfast] [ In reply to ]
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hutchy_belfast wrote:
Many thanks for the input. I do all my cycling curled up in a ball in an aggressive TT position and my pelvic flexibility and overall core strength is poor at best. Ankle flexibility is woeful. I'm time pressed (aren't we all) and core work and flexibility is always the first to go. I'm in the middle of a marathon build atm so these are even worse than usual.

You are entirely right about the catch and pull. Frequently my hand 'slips' mid pull and wobbles laterally rather than maintaining tension on both sides.
You've given me things to focus on, thanks.

I do this stretch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQmpO9VT2X4) during or after my swim warmup, in the pool. Takes a minute, which you have time for. In a couple of weeks, you'll be surprised how much more flexibility you have (and how tight you were at the start!). Then you'll be able to use those back/butt/hamstring muscles to keep your legs high, without fighting your hip flexors.

Don't scoff at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW5nE5FBPsQ, but it shows what you need to do to engage those muscles.

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