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holding breath while swimming
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aos swimmer. Had some video of myself swimming and noted how low my legs sit in the water. Head position seem ok. My kick sucks so that does not help. Swimming in my endless pool this weekend i was playing with different things and found that holding my breath gave me more bouyancy and seemed to help me lever myself better in the water. Besides potential for causing a late breath any other issues. Swim olympic races now. In my endless I always struggle with my legs sinking and must say I felt much more relaxed and felt higher in the water. Thanks
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Re: holding breath while swimming [marath8] [ In reply to ]
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One thing is that your legs are always going to get"pulled" down in an endless pool, so there is that.

2nd thing is don't hold your breath in swimming, ever. As far as I know, there is now air circulating in your legs anyway, so there is that too.. (-; Air is king in swimming, fix your stroke however you need to, but when it comes to racing make sure you can breath a lot.
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Re: holding breath while swimming [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Use this for context: in almost every freestyle swim race 100m and longer, and definitely in 200+ races, swimmers breathe once per stroke cycle. And there you have it.
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Re: holding breath while swimming [marath8] [ In reply to ]
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The static physics of this would say that your lungs are on one side of your center of gravity and your legs on the other. So in that frame, more air in lungs = bad. But, if your legs are low because you are lifting your head out of the water, then the flotation in the lung area would help hold up your head and thus less lowering of legs.

However, the main thing is to fix your issue that is making your legs sink, not to add another fault to your stroke that kinda makes the leg sinking not as bad (the added fault would be not getting all the O2 you need). So if the legs are sinking because you are raising your head, stop doing it. OK, I know it is not that simple, but you can try a few simple things to see if they help. For one, you want to swim with the top of your head first, not your face. You will need to look up occasionally, but between those glimpses, get your head back down. The most common time to raise one's head is when taking a breath. The stroke thought that tends to help with this is to make sure you keep one eye underwater when inhaling. Another potential leg sinker is pushing the water down instead of backward in the front quadrant of your stroke. I like this video from Jonnyo for how to do the catch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1KReTEXiBM). The point is to get your hand and your forearm facing backwards and not down early in your stroke. The vast percentage of the direction of the force you put on the water will be perpendicular to the plane of your hand and forearm (and so the equal and opposite reaction will be to propel you forward and not up if they are facing backward).

A good swim coach would be invaluable to help spot the stroke faults that are causing your problems. If you can find one she/he is gold.

Good luck.
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Re: holding breath while swimming [hugoagogo] [ In reply to ]
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thanks for the replies. Swimming is undoubtedly the most frustrating thing I have tried to do well as an adult. If i was not so goal driven I would say f it and never go back to the pool. Unfortunately I never give up so I am stuck seemingly blowing bubbles and going backwards.
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Re: holding breath while swimming [hugoagogo] [ In reply to ]
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hugoagogo wrote:
The static physics of this would say that your lungs are on one side of your center of gravity and your legs on the other. So in that frame, more air in lungs = bad. But, if your legs are low because you are lifting your head out of the water, then the flotation in the lung area would help hold up your head and thus less lowering of legs.

However, the main thing is to fix your issue that is making your legs sink, not to add another fault to your stroke that kinda makes the leg sinking not as bad (the added fault would be not getting all the O2 you need). So if the legs are sinking because you are raising your head, stop doing it. OK, I know it is not that simple, but you can try a few simple things to see if they help. For one, you want to swim with the top of your head first, not your face. You will need to look up occasionally, but between those glimpses, get your head back down. The most common time to raise one's head is when taking a breath. The stroke thought that tends to help with this is to make sure you keep one eye underwater when inhaling. Another potential leg sinker is pushing the water down instead of backward in the front quadrant of your stroke. I like this video from Jonnyo for how to do the catch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1KReTEXiBM). The point is to get your hand and your forearm facing backwards and not down early in your stroke. The vast percentage of the direction of the force you put on the water will be perpendicular to the plane of your hand and forearm (and so the equal and opposite reaction will be to propel you forward and not up if they are facing backward).

A good swim coach would be invaluable to help spot the stroke faults that are causing your problems. If you can find one she/he is gold.

Good luck.

The largest problem that causes sinking legs is not using the muscles that raise the legs in the first place: your back muscles, your glutes, and your hamstrings. Engage them and your legs don't sink. Problem solved.

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Re: holding breath while swimming [marath8] [ In reply to ]
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What everyone has said so far is good stuff. My guess is that you lift your head to breathe and your legs sink. You hold your breath and it isn't so much the air in your lungs holding your legs up (in fact, it isn't that at all) it's your head position while you don't breathe. Whatever position your head is in while you're holding your breath is the position you want it to be when you do take a breath, except you simply turn it to the side enough to breathe in air, not water. Simply said, but difficult to execute, for sure. Until you get an instructor to show you how, you could try thinking about sniffing your armpit to breathe. That should help keep your head low. And one last thing.. It isn't just how you're breathing. Your head turn, kick and stroke are, or should be a synchronized series of movements that play off of and work with each other to efficiently move you down the pool. As an AOS, you really need to closely work with an instructor to get you there.

Proud member of FISHTWITCH: doing a bit more than fish exercise now.
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Re: holding breath while swimming [klehner] [ In reply to ]
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klehner wrote:
The largest problem that causes sinking legs is not using the muscles that raise the legs in the first place: your back muscles, your glutes, and your hamstrings. Engage them and your legs don't sink. Problem solved.

I agree with this if the OP is bent at the waist. If not, no amount of back muscles, glutes, and hammies are going to get them up -- they can only get them up on a plane with the rest of the body (or maybe a little bit more). So if the OP's hips are low, thus causing his legs to be low, another solution is called for. I assumed (based on OP's observation that holding breath helped) that this was not a bent at waist issue. But I know what happens when I assume . . .
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Re: holding breath while swimming [marath8] [ In reply to ]
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Simply physics if you hold your breath you will be more buoyant. I think that the sprinters can get away with it. I do controlled slow release to not exhaust air too soon. Works great.

If your legs are sunk your sternum or chest is too high - another simple fact (like a teeter totter)

1. Posture from shoulders to lumbar/pelvis - this has to be as straight as possible.
2. Kick - Any bend in the legs you loose vertical support surface and negatively affect #1. This is what I have recently learned

Ultimately you want to get up on your sternum, put the chest low and the legs can come up - just like being on a surfboard.

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Re: holding breath while swimming [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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swam again today. I guess I should say controlled release and not holding breath. Best swim I have had in my endless pool. Will try to get some video tomorrow. doing a 1000y tt as well.
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Re: holding breath while swimming [marath8] [ In reply to ]
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I found this video of your typical triathlete :)

Let's start at the legs - they need to be straight as 2x6's, hinged at the pelvis out the back. In tight helps a bit too. But the priority should be to be straight as an arrow and in-line. Start there, then develop or learn propulsion through the use of the kickboard. The kickboard will diagnose leg-related hydro-dynamic or "aero" postural issues lumbar down. And help to drop the chest. This is huge - ie 50% of swimming.


Our club kids do almost 1/2 the workout on kickboards. My son probably goes 2x the speed of this guy.


Another thing with this guy is his shoulders are so bound up. There is no range. I would send him to a PT to crack the sh&@ out of his upper back and restore mobility in the shoulder joints. Good athlete and for general population not a bad swimmer but for high performance - really it's pathetic. No different than me :P


<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLp3kIYxAp0

Training Tweets: https://twitter.com/Jagersport_com
FM Sports: http://www.jagersport.com/
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Re: holding breath while swimming [SharkFM] [ In reply to ]
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Well i feel like an idiot. Definitely was poor kick. 2 weeks of kicking and I did my best open water swim ever. thanks for all the input
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