Keeping A High Elbow For Freestyle
Developing power and the proper pull for freestyle takes an understanding of where real power comes from. You may have read or heard that you want to keep a high elbow to create a more effective and dynamic power phase through the water (I am very loathe to call it a pull!).
Why Do It:
This drill or focal point helps you learn the difference between something that’s productive, and something that’s just hard to do. Using the right part of the arm to push the water back can make your swimming more productive.
How to Do It:
1 . To learn how productive an early press in freestyle is, put a small kickboard in front of you and, with a straight arm, push it down as hard as you can.
2. Now move the board to the inside of your elbow, with the arm bent at about 90. Now push the board down as hard as you can.
3. Once you’ve learned to isolate that feeling, swim… trying to push the water back with the inside of your elbow.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Make sure you understand the difference between the inside of your elbow, and the back of your elbow. If you lead with the elbow, you’ll slice through the water rather than pushing it back. This is why I don’t like calling the power phase of the stroke a PULL. Calling it a pull suggests that you might drag your elbow (and thus your hand) toward you, rather than squeezing the water down and pushing it away behind you. Have a think about it! This connects nicely to the sculling that we did before, especially the midpoint scull; where its not just your hand pushing the water but your forearm as well. If your elbows don’t stay fixed and high/forward, you won’t feel that pressure on your forearm – and therefore the squeeze from your lats (back muscles).
Take your time with this – as with any exercise. The point is that drills are there to make you smoother, stronger, more efficient. Make sure you hit all those target points!
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See what’s up next week for our #SwimTechTues tip!