The first week of our 21 day challenge is in the books. I hope you all are enjoying it. Many of you have posted that you are a little upset with your first and second session results. Do not be discouraged! Everyone has to start somewhere and as long as you continue to work at it, then progress will be made. Even if you do not see it in your second, third or even fourth time, just doing it makes you a better athlete. Personally, some days I am much slower in the pool but at the same time I know I am a better athlete than I was because I may feel less winded, more efficient, or stronger even if the times do not reflect it (yet).
Last week, I commented on how you can legally cheat in these drills by focusing on the reach of your stroke. This week I am going to tell you about increasing your power to make each stroke count.
To increase the power of each stroke, you need to focus on a nice high elbow catch and pull, and the speed that you pull. With each pull, you want to maintain about a 45-95 degree bend in your elbow while keeping the elbow fairly high relative to the surface. You do not want to straighten your arm and try to touch the bottom of the pool, a misconception that many swimmers have.
The part of generating a powerful stroke is the speed at which you pull, so increasing pull speed will obviously directly relate to how fast you swim. A slow cadence will not help if you are not generating lots of power. To improve power, I like do several things. For one, I include sets of catch up and switch drills. In catch up, you slow down your stroke so your emphasis is completely on a nice entrance and quick high pull for each arm as well as a nice strong rotation of the hips generated from the core. In the switch drill you must focus on rotating your hips in a fast and efficient manner to propel you forward.
Implementing paddle use is also helpful in building power but only if you have strong shoulders since paddles can cause or aggravate rotator cuff problems. I particularly like the Finis paddles since they will not work properly if your form is off. They also do not stress my shoulders at all.
Hopefully, extending your reach as well as increasing power will help you shoot a sub par in your next SWOLF set.
Train hard, recover harder
Coach Chris and Kev