Videos

Swimisodes – Freestyle Kick Butterfly

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#swimisodes At the Race Club, we do Freestyle Kick Butterfly drill that emphasizes the importance of the coupling function of the head and arms in butterfly. Swimmers use the weight of the head and arms as part of an energy system that propels them forward in butterfly and breaststroke. They not only lay the head down after breathing, but they often snap it down, in order to take advantage of the 12 or so pounds the human head approximately weighs that helps the kick to thrust them forward. The arms swinging forward aggressively on the recovery also serve as part of the important kinetic energy that couples with the kick. Freestyle Kick Butterfly forces the swimmer to use these energy systems.

Freestyle kick butterfly is not easy to do, but if done properly with a consistent kick and with fins, a swimmer can feel the surge forward as he or she throws the head down and swings the arms forward after each breath. The greater the energy of the head and arm motion, the greater the propulsion from the kick. The flutter kick butterfly drill helps a swimmer recognize how important the second dolphin kick during the recovery in butterfly really is.


Swimisodes – Freestyle Kick Breaststroke

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Olympic Gold medalist Rebecca Soni, demonstrates Freestyle Kick Breaststroke Drill in this #swimisodes. About 80% of the propulsion in Breaststroke comes from the legs. knowing that more than any other stroke, breaststroke relies on the power of the kick for propulsion Reb Soni has reinvented the breaststroke technique. At the Race Club camps, we use a progression of drills to let swimmers understand the importance of the legs in breaststroke. When it comes to freestyle kick breaststroke, we have swimmers use their fins to emphasize the power behind them and so they can focus on their arms and upper body.

Better than any other swim drill, Freestyle Kick Breaststroke teaches swimmers how to derive more power from the kick by using the head and upper body. The kinetic energy of the upper body and head driving forward and down, when coupled with the kick, results in more distance swum from that driving motion. The fins also help to elevate the shoulders which leads to more coupling energy as the upper body moves forward. We also do this drill to practice hand quickness, getting a small but powerful pull through the water and hands back in front over the water into the streamline position in time for the next kick.

Zach Hayden does an excellent job of demonstrating this more traditional breaststroke, as he pushes the elbows together underwater before elevating the hands over the water into the streamline position. Rebecca uses a different technique that adds more power to her kick. Rather than push the elbows together on the underwater pull, she keeps them elevated near the surface, arches her back to elevate much more for the breath, then pulls the elbow behind her chest, hesitating slightly before she pushes the hands and most of the forearm forward out of the water to reduce frontal drag. By delaying the motion forward of her arms, she sacrifices some power of the pull but adds the additional mass of her arms to her body and head moving forward to create more energy to augment her powerful kick.


Swimisodes – Backstroke Starts

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#swimisodes Gary Hall Sr. coaches us through a perfect technique for your best backstroke starts. In order to perfect backstroke starts, the feet position and pull up are critical to achieving success in the four different phases of the start; the launch, the entry, the underwater propulsion and the breakout. World Champion Junya Koga shows us both the incorrect and correct feet positioning while Gary Hall Sr. explains why correct feet positioning matters in the start, launch and entry. Junya also demonstrates the difference between an incorrect body position at “take your mark” and a perfect one. Setting yourself up for a perfect start is not easy, but with practice can become the fastest swim technique for backstroke starts.

When the tips of the fingers enter the water on backstroke starts, an elite swimmer is nearing 10 miles per hour. Watch as Junya takes advantage of that speed gained in the air from the launch and how he manages to sustain his speed when he enters the water and starts his propulsion. Having a ‘no splash’ entry is the secret to keeping that momentum, with as little drag as possible. The Fifth Stroke, dolphin kick, can help you win or lose races, depending on its strength. Junya starts his dolphin kicks right away and at a perfect depth in the water. As he breaks out, the momentum from his start is still in effect, helping him explode through the breakout.

Junya is a master at the backstroke start. It is beautiful to watch his clean entry, the raw power of his kick, his streamlined position throughout the underwater, and his seemingly effortless technique at breakout. To attain this level of speed, one must practice backstroke starts often, paying attention to all of the important details.


Swimisodes – One Arm Backstroke

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#swimisodes World Champion Junya Koga demonstrates the one arm backstroke drill. This swim drill enables the swimmer to isolate the movement and position of the arm during the entry and underwater pull. Race Club coach, Gary Hall Sr. explains the importance of taking the time to feel the bent arm position of the underwater pull. Along with proper head position and body alignment, bending the arm the right amount reduces frontal drag and allows for greater propulsion. A straight arm pull in backstroke is equivalent to a deep straight arm pull in freestyle, where the swimmer maximizes drag forces. It also weakens the pulling force. In order to swim more efficiently and therefore faster, the right bend in the elbow in backstroke seems to range from about a 120 to 140 degree angle during the propulsive phase. Bending the elbow to that degree, a swimmer must rotate to the side in order to keep the hand from breaking the surface, causing a loss of power. Swimming one arm at a time can ensure the swimmer is bending the arm at the appropriate angle and pulling cleanly through the water.

Junya’s consistent 6 beat kick and strong core allows for full body rotation. With a clean hand entry at shoulder width, he sets himself up for an early catch and reduced drag pull with a bent arm. Another value of the one arm backstroke is that the swimmer can feel the power of the propulsive phase as the hand and arm pulls by the body underwater. While maintaining a proper head position, the one arm backstroke drill can help the swimmer achieve the most efficient pull. The swimmer can concentrate on every aspect of the underwater pull in backstroke with one arm drill.


Swimisodes – Improve Butterfly Technique – Skate Drill

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#swimisodes Learn how to improve butterfly technique with Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record Holder Roland Schoeman and Coach Gary Hall. Butterfly is a challenging swimming stroke because it requires tremendous upper body strength and a strong kick. In order to perform great butterfly technique a swimmer not only needs great conditioning but also perfect timing. Good swimming technique for fly also requires minimizing the frontal drag forces that are so overpowering to all swimmers.
Frontal drag in the butterfly increases significantly when the front breath is taken, caused by a shift from a horizontal to a more vertical body position in the water. The more vertical the body, the greater the frontal drag force. To make matters worse, the breath occurs during the fastest point in the stroke cycle, when the body can be travelling at nearly 7 miles per hour in elite butterflyers, faster than any other stroke including Freestyle.
To lessen the frontal drag in butterfly, Roland demonstrates in this Swimisode one our favorite swim drills at The Race Club, the butterfly skate drill. With this important swim drill, swimmers can learn to keep their shoulders lower and elevate more with their necks to get the breath, resulting in a faster and easier butterfly technique.


Swimisodes – Streamline Swimming

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The best streamline swimming position has become a center for controversy in swimming. At The Race Club, we believe the best way to streamline is by squeezing the elbows  together behind the head and by pressing the shoulders up away from the sockets, with legs together, toes pointed and chin tucked down almost to the chest.  The stomach then excavates, the skin tightens and the whole body is in alignment. We call this position the hyper-streamline. It is not a comfortable position nor a natural human position to be in. Therefore, swimmers tend to not use a hyper-streamline often and when they do, it is rarely executed with 100% precision.  

In this Swimisode, learn techniques we teach at the Race Club swim camps that will help you improve your swimming streamline.  Coach Gary Hall explains how to feel the benefits of the hyper-streamline position by creating a contest among the elite swimmers. In this Swimisode, swimmers push off the wall in different positions that allow them to feel the drag forces at work and to appreciate the extra effort required to streamline tightly. You will discover why water is such an unforgiving medium to be in because it is 800 times denser than air.

Watch Backstroke World Champion Swimmer, Junya Koga, Open Water Swimming Champ Lexie Kelly and Olympic Gold Medalist and 4 time Olympian Roland Schoeman demonstrate a perfect swimming streamline.  Learn how to perform the best and tightest streamline and have fun while doing it!  As an additional drill and exercise, we advocate kicking with Finis alignment board and DMC mono snorkel in the hyper-streamline position for proper body alignment.


Swimisodes – Swimming Starts – How to Position Your Feet

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In this first of many #swimisodes on swimming starts, Coach Gary Hall teaches the proper distance one should maintain between feet both side to side and back to front on the modern swimming starting block.
Getting off to a good start can make or break a race but many of us don’t have advice on how to setup and execute great swimming starts. In this swim technique video series on various swimming start techniques we will guide you through the essentials that we believe will lead to not only faster but also safer swimming starts and much faster results in the pool. With the limited amount of swimming starting blocks that have the back foot plate and side grips, many of us use these for the first time at a competition. We hope this video will get you thinking about the change in swimming start technique that you might expect when transitioning to these new blocks and how you can use these features as an advantage.


Swimisodes – Yoga for Swimmers – Legs

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In this Vinyasa Yoga for Swimmers we focus on the legs. Swimmers tend to have tight psoas, quadriceps, glutes (gluteal), hip flexors and lower back due to kicking with straight leg and pointed toe for long periods of time. Hyper extension of the knees is common amongst Swimmers leading to severe tightness and limited mobility in those areas. In this intense 20 minute Vinyasa flow yoga practice, we focus on stretching these regions of the legs that tend to be tight in swimmers. We will do poses that release tension in the hips, quads and glutes creating more mobility in these muscles that will result in a more powerful kick. Keep in mind that with all these poses, there are modifications that can be used and we recommend using a yoga block for support. Each swimmer has their own needs in the pool, in dryland training, mental training, nutrition and recovery.

Richard Hall and The Race Club created this Yoga for Swimmers Legs sequence for you to follow along at home or practice with your team. So roll out your mat and get ready to sweat with elite athletes and Olympians; Rebecca Soni, Roland Schoeman, Junya Koga, Lexie Kelly and Zach Hayden led by Amy Hall from The Race Club. No matter your level or ability, we believe yoga for swimmers can benefit your swimming and general well being. Just like in the pool, we advocate correct technique over forced, and sloppy form. Remember to breathe with each movement, use an ujjayi breath, allowing oxygen to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. When you are stretching the hamstrings bend your knees and then work them towards straight. If at any time any exercise is too strenuous, rest in child’s pose.


Swimisodes – Rebecca Soni – Dolphin Kick Breaststroke

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At the Race Club, Coach Gary Hall teaches Breaststroke by incorporating two different swimming techniques for Dolphin Kick Breaststroke drill. Also known as Cobra Breaststroke this swim drill helps all our Swimmers become faster by allowing them to focus on the timing of the strike phase. By adding fins we increase the speed as well as the amount of drag that creates a greater ‘feeling’ in the water.

Learning how to swim fast Breaststroke is difficult especially timing the strike phase. One thing all fast swimming techniques in Breaststroke have in common is being streamline during the strike phase. Olympic Gold medalist and World Record Holder Rebecca Soni says, “Dolphin Kick Breaststroke drill is one of my favorites! For me, the biggest benefit of this drill is being able to work on the timing of the stroke. The timing is the most important variable in this stroke! And there is no better way to work on it than through different drills. When doing dolphin kick breaststroke, I always like to harness the feeling of falling forward in the stroke. It is this feeling that I chase, both in practice and in competition.”

Read Rebecca’s Aqua Note on #dolphinkickbreast here: http://bit.ly/1ujecAG


Swimisodes – Yoga for Swimmers – Shoulders

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The Race Club has been practicing yoga for swimmers during dryland training for years. Yoga can significantly increase core strength and flexibility while lengthening muscles, creating a more streamlined physique in swimming. In this intense 20 minute Vinyasa flow yoga practice, you will find yourself mimicking body rotation in freestyle and backstroke by stacking the shoulders, strengthening core muscles that will improve your ability to make faster turns and improve your breathing capabilities that will surely make you a stronger swimmer. We will do poses that open up the chest and shoulders creating a counter balance to the repetitive swimming motions in shoulder and back muscles that cause a hunched forward posture. Keep in mind that with all these poses, there are modifications that can be used and we recommend using a yoga block for support. Each swimmer has their own needs in the pool, in dryland training, mental training, nutrition and recovery.

Richard Hall and The Race Club created this Yoga for Swimmers Shoulder sequence for you to follow along at home or practice with your team. So roll out your mat and get ready to sweat with elite athletes and Olympians; Rebecca Soni, Roland Schoeman, Junya Koga, Lexie Kelly and Zach Hayden led by Amy Hall from The Race Club. No matter your level or ability, we believe yoga for shoulders can benefit your swimming and general well being. Just like in the pool, we advocate correct technique over forced, and sloppy form. Remember to breathe with each movement, allowing oxygen to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. If at any time any exercise is too strenuous, rest in child’s pose.


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