Weaning Off the pull-bouy

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Martin Baccarda, Sep 15, 2003.

  1. Dear All

    I'm currently in the throes of weaning myself off the "heroin of the pool deck"; the pull-buoy.

    I'm more of a natural runner who's struggling with an achilies injury and thus has been forced
    into the pool.

    I must admit, however, that I've treated swimming rather caddishly: Un-dying devotion and attention
    when injured, studied ignorance when fit and healthy.

    This time, however, it's the real thing.

    My problem is this: I have decent aerobic capacity and a strong free-style stroke, but my
    ins-and-outs in the pool over the last five years or so have meant that I've become addicted
    to the buoy.

    I can swim for up to an hour (non-stop) with the buoy, stroking about
    15/16 in a 25-metre pool ... but without the buoy, it's a real struggle, I need frequent rest and my
    heart rate soars after only a couple hundred yards.

    Over the last couple of weeks, I've tired to split my workouts into three segments: 40% pull, 40%
    free and 20% breast in an attempt to junk the styrafoam pods for good.

    I'd like to get that ratio to around 60-20-20.

    At present, workouts last about 40 minutes and encompass around 2000m. I'd like to get that up to 60
    and 3000+ if I could.

    How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session? How can
    I improve my breathing patterns in order to allow a more relaxed feel in the water?

    Thanks very much for any response.

    Martin
     
    Tags:


  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    During freestyle I always breath in after 3 armstrokes (I Count every arm in the water) through my
    mouth, during the next three strokes I breath out through my nose.

    Because I use 3 armstrokes, I breath on different sides, this way the tension and the drag is
    equally distributed.

    Good Luck

    "Martin Baccardax" <[email protected]> schreef in bericht
    news:[email protected]...
    > Dear All
    >
    > I'm currently in the throes of weaning myself off the "heroin of the pool deck"; the pull-buoy.
    >
    > I'm more of a natural runner who's struggling with an achilies injury and thus has been forced
    > into the pool.
    >
    > I must admit, however, that I've treated swimming rather caddishly: Un-dying devotion and
    > attention when injured, studied ignorance when fit and healthy.
    >
    > This time, however, it's the real thing.
    >
    > My problem is this: I have decent aerobic capacity and a strong free-style stroke, but my
    > ins-and-outs in the pool over the last five years or so have meant that I've become addicted to
    > the buoy.
    >
    > I can swim for up to an hour (non-stop) with the buoy, stroking about
    > 15/16 in a 25-metre pool ... but without the buoy, it's a real struggle, I need frequent rest and
    > my heart rate soars after only a couple hundred yards.
    >
    > Over the last couple of weeks, I've tired to split my workouts into three segments: 40% pull, 40%
    > free and 20% breast in an attempt to junk the styrafoam pods for good.
    >
    > I'd like to get that ratio to around 60-20-20.
    >
    > At present, workouts last about 40 minutes and encompass around 2000m. I'd like to get that up to
    > 60 and 3000+ if I could.
    >
    > How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    > more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session? How
    > can I improve my breathing patterns in order to allow a more relaxed feel in the water?
    >
    > Thanks very much for any response.
    >
    >
    > Martin
     
  3. Old Swimmer

    Old Swimmer Guest

    Martin Two years ago a knee injury forced me to swim with pull buoys for 6 months. After the injury
    healed it took me a long, long time to get my stroke back to what it was.

    I believe using the pull buoys gave me a "lazy stomach", by holding up my legs and rear end with no
    effort. When removing the pull buoys it was very hard to get the correct body position and I found
    I really had to concentrate on raising my lower half without dropping my top half and screwing up
    my breathing.

    If your experience is anything like mine I would drop the pull buoys completely, or at the very
    least don't use them at all in the first 2/3 (the hard work part) of each workout. Concentrate on
    correct body position, particularly raising your lower half and on proper head position.

    I found that lots of ab work in the gym also helped. Fortunately I had a coach who kept at me until
    my stroke improved. If you can join a masters program of get someone to critique your stroke I
    think your progress will be faster.

    As far as breathing patterns are concerned bilateral breathing (breath every 3 arm strokes) is
    usually recommended in order to help balance the 2 sides of your stroke. However I believe head
    position is more important for me to have relaxed and efficient breathing and I personally haven't
    mastered good head position on both sides. Again a coach would help get your position correctly and
    ensure you don't lift your head when breathing.

    "Martin Baccardax" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Dear All
    >
    > I'm currently in the throes of weaning myself off the "heroin of the pool deck"; the pull-buoy.
    >
    > I'm more of a natural runner who's struggling with an achilies injury and thus has been forced
    > into the pool.
    >
    > I must admit, however, that I've treated swimming rather caddishly: Un-dying devotion and
    > attention when injured, studied ignorance when fit and healthy.
    >
    > This time, however, it's the real thing.
    >
    > My problem is this: I have decent aerobic capacity and a strong free-style stroke, but my
    > ins-and-outs in the pool over the last five years or so have meant that I've become addicted to
    > the buoy.
    >
    > I can swim for up to an hour (non-stop) with the buoy, stroking about
    > 15/16 in a 25-metre pool ... but without the buoy, it's a real struggle, I need frequent rest and
    > my heart rate soars after only a couple hundred yards.
    >
    > Over the last couple of weeks, I've tired to split my workouts into three segments: 40% pull, 40%
    > free and 20% breast in an attempt to junk the styrafoam pods for good.
    >
    > I'd like to get that ratio to around 60-20-20.
    >
    > At present, workouts last about 40 minutes and encompass around 2000m. I'd like to get that up to
    > 60 and 3000+ if I could.
    >
    > How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    > more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session? How
    > can I improve my breathing patterns in order to allow a more relaxed feel in the water?
    >
    > Thanks very much for any response.
    >
    >
    > Martin
     
  4. Jill

    Jill Guest

    > How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    > more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session? How
    > can I improve my breathing patterns in order to allow a more relaxed feel in the water?
    >

    Probably the pull buoy is artifically propping up your hips in the water. Take it away, and you need
    to take additional steps to get those hips up.

    1) as suggested, think about abs
    2) improve ankle flexibility on your kick. Good ankle flexibility leads to a good, efficient kick
    that doesn't tire you out.
    3) have someone have a look at your body position in the water. Are your hips sinking? If so, try
    looking down at the bottom when you swim (the quick and dirty fix) or arching your lower back in
    order to get the hips nice and high.
     
  5. Alex Herbert

    Alex Herbert Guest

    Martin Baccardax wrote:

    > I'm more of a natural runner who's struggling with an achilies injury and thus has been forced
    > into the pool.

    > How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    > more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session?

    Martin,

    I was a triathlete for 6 years and always suffered from an addiction to the pull-buoy. My attitude
    was that my wet suit would keep my legs up when racing so what did it matter. This would still be my
    attitude had I not discovered a good kick when I switched to swimming full time (no time for all the
    extra training needed for triathlons).

    When I first started out my kick was poor. However using fins helped me put in a few hundred meters
    each session without the misery of being continuously lapped. The fins helped increase foot
    flexibilty until I was able to perform decent kick sets without them (don't get addicted to fins as
    well!). This improvement in my kick was noticeable during full stroke, even when doing an easy
    2-beat. I had an improved glide and was able to swim faster for the same effort.

    If you really hate kick then it is good to incorporate a mix in your sessions. Try doing sets based
    around 50 kick, 50 drill, 50 swim. This eats up the milage, getting a fair amount of kick in,
    without over-stressing it.

    Personally I think that running and cycling are really anti foot flexibilty, espcially cross country
    runners who tend to develop extra strong tendons to avoid ankle twists. A word of warning though,
    take it easy if you go for an ankle stretching routine as well. My brother switched to full-time
    swimming and when returning to a running routine suffered from terrible shin splints due to the
    flexibility of his shin bone muscles (he has a great kick though).

    All the best,

    Alex
     
  6. Dakitty

    Dakitty Guest

    "Martin Baccardax" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Dear All
    >
    > I'm currently in the throes of weaning myself off the "heroin of the pool deck"; the pull-buoy.
    >
    > I'm more of a natural runner who's struggling with an achilies injury and thus has been forced
    > into the pool.
    >
    > I must admit, however, that I've treated swimming rather caddishly: Un-dying devotion and
    > attention when injured, studied ignorance when fit and healthy.
    >
    > This time, however, it's the real thing.
    >
    > My problem is this: I have decent aerobic capacity and a strong free-style stroke, but my
    > ins-and-outs in the pool over the last five years or so have meant that I've become addicted to
    > the buoy.
    >
    > I can swim for up to an hour (non-stop) with the buoy, stroking about
    > 15/16 in a 25-metre pool ... but without the buoy, it's a real struggle, I need frequent rest and
    > my heart rate soars after only a couple hundred yards.
    >
    > Over the last couple of weeks, I've tired to split my workouts into three segments: 40% pull, 40%
    > free and 20% breast in an attempt to junk the styrafoam pods for good.
    >
    > I'd like to get that ratio to around 60-20-20.
    >
    > At present, workouts last about 40 minutes and encompass around 2000m. I'd like to get that up to
    > 60 and 3000+ if I could.
    >
    > How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    > more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session? How
    > can I improve my breathing patterns in order to allow a more relaxed feel in the water?
    >
    > Thanks very much for any response.
    >
    >
    > Martin

    Do you use fins? (short fins) Drop the pull buoy, except for few specific drills. Use fins on some
    of them, among other things, they will help stretch you ankles more.

    See if any of the Master's clubs where you are offer stroke clinics. Thos can be useful. You may
    need to do some stroke drills to improve your technique, rather than just lap swimming. Yes, if
    you;re changing your technique, you often end up using different muscles (those that are not used to
    being worked) or hitting the muscles from a different angle, the way they are not used to. That will
    all cause you to spend more energy. The more variety you bring into your workout (with some basic
    guidelines) the more fun the workout will be, and the more muscles you'll work and strengthen. Good
    swimming workout does a lot more than just laps. :)
     
  7. I don't think you should look at it as weaning yourself from the pull buoy. There are three basic
    ways of swimming: the standard way (no aids), with pull buoy, or with flippers. I only really enjoy
    the second and third, mainly because I can go a lot faster with either a buoy or, of course,
    flippers, and swimming training is a lot more fun if you can go fast. So some people do most of
    their training in the pool with a buoy or flippers (or in my case, sometimes it was both).

    Using a pull buoy allows you to experience what it is like to swim with a, more or less, proper body
    position, if your legs sink like mine, and it sounds like your leg problem is much worse than mine.
    This is especially important in your case, because if you trian without the buoy, and your legs sink
    badly, you will put a lot of abnormal stress on your shoulders and might develop a shoulder injury.

    With that in mind, I recommend that you first try Larry's approach of arching your lower back. If
    this works, it will probably solve your problem. The basic idea is to feel your butt breaking the
    surface. Don't worry about kicking (Q: are you kicking real hard when you don't use a buoy? That
    could be part of your problem). Just concentrate on keeping your butt up to the surface by arching
    lower back, and let your feet flop in what we call a two-beat kick, which is mainly just for balance
    rather than propulsion. If you are training for a triathlon, you don't want to tire out your legs
    during the swim anyway.

    I hope that following the description above will let you simulate using the buoy. It works for me,
    although the arching of the lower back doesn't help me. It probably will help you, but the main
    things are: (1) don't push down with your hands and arms, (2) use the gentler two-beat kick for
    balance, and (3) concentrate on keeping your butt on the surface.

    See how that works, anyway, and report back the results.

    martin

    Martin Baccardax wrote:
    >
    > Dear All
    >
    > I'm currently in the throes of weaning myself off the "heroin of the pool deck"; the pull-buoy.
    >
    > I'm more of a natural runner who's struggling with an achilies injury and thus has been forced
    > into the pool.
    >
    > I must admit, however, that I've treated swimming rather caddishly: Un-dying devotion and
    > attention when injured, studied ignorance when fit and healthy.
    >
    > This time, however, it's the real thing.
    >
    > My problem is this: I have decent aerobic capacity and a strong free-style stroke, but my
    > ins-and-outs in the pool over the last five years or so have meant that I've become addicted to
    > the buoy.
    >
    > I can swim for up to an hour (non-stop) with the buoy, stroking about
    > 15/16 in a 25-metre pool ... but without the buoy, it's a real struggle, I need frequent rest and
    > my heart rate soars after only a couple hundred yards.
    >
    > Over the last couple of weeks, I've tired to split my workouts into three segments: 40% pull, 40%
    > free and 20% breast in an attempt to junk the styrafoam pods for good.
    >
    > I'd like to get that ratio to around 60-20-20.
    >
    > At present, workouts last about 40 minutes and encompass around 2000m. I'd like to get that up to
    > 60 and 3000+ if I could.
    >
    > How would you advise me on getting rid of the buoy for good? Why is a 200 metre interval so much
    > more difficult without a buoy? Should I incorporate kick-board intervals into every session? How
    > can I improve my breathing patterns in order to allow a more relaxed feel in the water?
    >
    > Thanks very much for any response.
    >
    > Martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  8. DaKitty wrote:
    > Drop the pull buoy, except for few specific drills.

    Don't drop the pull buoy. With the problem he describes, he might risk shoulder injury.

    > Use fins on some of them, among other things, they will help stretch you ankles more.

    Yes, flipper are good, but they won't help solve the problem.

    martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  9. Dear All

    Thanks again for taking the time to read and offer advice, I do appreciate it, and it's made me
    think more about this.

    At the moment, my form without the buoy is pretty good - my wife has watched me in our condo pool
    and says my "bottom" (she is Irish, so...) is well out of the water and she can almost see the small
    of my back in a freestyle stroke. She also reports that one heel is visible out of the water when
    I'm kicking.

    I've read up a bit on TI a few years ago and have worked some of those principles into my technique:
    I do try and stare down at the pool floor and I's constantly thinking about stroke length.

    A typical set in the pool these days is 3 or 4 x (500 swim, 500 pull, 200 breast) with about 2
    minutes in between sets and perhaps 10-15 seconds between each stroke.

    The stroke itself just feels a bit "sloppier" when I'm swimming instead of pulling, and, as
    mentioned the effort is much more substantial.

    I wonder if I should be working towards shorter reps while I'm getting used to swimming more metres
    without the buoy (or at the very least getting used to not relying on it totally)?

    Would I be better of with a 100 metre reps, mixing up the strokes and taking more rest in the short
    term, with the aim of eventually elongating the reps and reducing the rest?

    Once again, thanks very much for your thoughts.

    Martin
     
  10. Dakitty

    Dakitty Guest

    "Martin W. Smith" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > DaKitty wrote:
    > > Drop the pull buoy, except for few specific drills.
    >
    > Don't drop the pull buoy. With the problem he describes, he might risk shoulder injury.

    Ah, good point!

    > > Use fins on some of them, among other things, they will help stretch you ankles more.
    >
    > Yes, flipper are good, but they won't help solve the problem.
    >
    > martin
    >
    > --
    > Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    > P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  11. Martin Baccardax wrote:
    > I've read up a bit on TI a few years ago and have worked some of those principles into my
    > technique: I do try and stare down at the pool floor and I's constantly thinking about
    > stroke length.

    One thing to try here is to look more forward, not necessarily raising your head but tilting it up a
    little so that your eyes are cast at about 45%, between looking down and looking straight ahead.
    This probably won't help the problem you describe, but you won't swim into the wall either.

    > A typical set in the pool these days is 3 or 4 x (500 swim, 500 pull, 200 breast) with about 2
    > minutes in between sets and perhaps 10-15 seconds between each stroke.
    >
    > The stroke itself just feels a bit "sloppier" when I'm swimming instead of pulling, and, as
    > mentioned the effort is much more substantial.

    I understand the sloppiness, but that will go away with practice. I no longer understand the
    substantial effort, however, because if your butt is on the surface and your heels are breaking the
    surface, then where is the extra effort coming from? The only thing I can think of is you are
    simply kicking too hard. Kicking hard is good, if it is adding to your speed, or if you are just in
    it for the exercise and want to burn calories. But kicking doesn't need to be hard. Distance
    swimmers (open water) generally just kick for balance. Each foot counterbalances the opposite arm.
    If you haven't mastered that technique yet, you might want to try it. Otherwise, there is certainly
    nothing wrong with kicking hard, but it will tire out your legs and make you breath harder, until
    you get used to it.

    > I wonder if I should be working towards shorter reps while I'm getting used to swimming more
    > metres without the buoy (or at the very least getting used to not relying on it totally)?
    >
    > Would I be better of with a 100 metre reps, mixing up the strokes and taking more rest in the
    > short term, with the aim of eventually elongating the reps and reducing the rest?

    You should mix up your sets, distances, and intervals anyway, but if it is hard kicking that is
    wearing you out, the only way to solve the problem is to keep kicking. Buy a kickboard, or use your
    pull buoy as a kickboard, and do some kicking sets. Do you feel the same fatigue?

    martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  12. Old Swimmer

    Old Swimmer Guest

    Hmm

    Looking directly at the bottom of the pool would leave the head position a little low I would
    think. This might lead to a slight lifting of the head when breathing, rather than a pure rotation.
    This could increase fatigue. Have your wife check that you are not lifting you head. Usually the
    best position for me is to look down but slightly ahead.

    I find that shorter sets with more reps are more helpful when working on my stroke. I kind of
    loose concentration in longer sets. I would suggest 100's on an interval that gives you about 10
    secs rest.

    Consider adding some kicking and drills such a "six beat kick", head-up, etc.

    "Martin Baccardax" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Dear All
    >
    > Thanks again for taking the time to read and offer advice, I do appreciate it, and it's made me
    > think more about this.
    >
    > At the moment, my form without the buoy is pretty good - my wife has watched me in our condo pool
    > and says my "bottom" (she is Irish, so...) is well out of the water and she can almost see the
    > small of my back in a freestyle stroke. She also reports that one heel is visible out of the water
    > when I'm kicking.
    >
    > I've read up a bit on TI a few years ago and have worked some of those principles into my
    > technique: I do try and stare down at the pool floor and I's constantly thinking about
    > stroke length.
    >
    > A typical set in the pool these days is 3 or 4 x (500 swim, 500 pull, 200 breast) with about 2
    > minutes in between sets and perhaps 10-15 seconds between each stroke.
    >
    > The stroke itself just feels a bit "sloppier" when I'm swimming instead of pulling, and, as
    > mentioned the effort is much more substantial.
    >
    > I wonder if I should be working towards shorter reps while I'm getting used to swimming more
    > metres without the buoy (or at the very least getting used to not relying on it totally)?
    >
    > Would I be better of with a 100 metre reps, mixing up the strokes and taking more rest in the
    > short term, with the aim of eventually elongating the reps and reducing the rest?
    >
    > Once again, thanks very much for your thoughts.
    >
    >
    > Martin
     
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