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Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Progressing Butterfly

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday is an Advanced Tip! As we progress throughout swimming, we challenge ourselves to learn more complicated strokes, and more competitive and competition oriented strokes. If this is where your interest lies, look more into Aqua Fun Academy’s ASAC program. The Link is provided below:

https://www.aquafunacademy.ca/asac/

Butterfly is one of the most co-ordination heavy strokes, similar to breaststroke. However butterfly also requires well-conditioned upper body strength, and flexible shoulder mobility. This stroke can be learned in steps, and for today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will focus on the head position associated with the butterfly.

To perform butterfly correctly the swimmer should maintain that they look downward towards the bottom of the pool. Let’s look at some different methods to practice this key aspect of the skill.
Swimming Tip Tuesday Workout.Swimming Tip Tuesday

Equipment:

  • 6 rings (an alternative to rings would be following the dark black line down the middle of the pool).
  • Flippers, to perform butterfly or alternatively Dolphin Kick

Use of Equipment:

  • Rings
  • Flippers

Action: Perform butterfly OR dolphin kick

Emphasis: Focus on following the line or rings down the pool.

Distance: Repeat for 50m, 30 seconds of rest in between each 25m.

Swimming Tip TuesdayReason: The activity of following the rings or the line down the pool will encourage the body to remember this position and store it in muscle memory when practicing butterfly while focusing on other elements.

How can I tell if I’m performing butterfly properly? Get a buddy. Swimming with a buddy helps us to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Get your buddy to watch you from two angles. Have your buddy stand at the opposite end of the lane to see if you deviate and look forwards at them. A second vantage point would be to swim in the lane closest to a wall and have your buddy watch you from the side. What your buddy is looking for is how far forward or downwards you hold your head throughout the stroke.

Tip Summary:

Swimming butterfly correctly requires you to keep your head set solidly in a downward-facing position.

Well that’s all for this weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

 

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Swimming Fit Friday: Visualization

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we will explore the uses of visualization in relation to exercise. As a bonus we will also explain how this tool promotes success in activities unrelated to athletics.

Imagine if you will, a world in which you have control over your body. Oh wait, for many of us this is a reality! Our motor functions and our thoughts are programed and executed through the pink squishy matter sitting in our heads. The brain has the power to practice and solve problems using only our subconscious mind. Athletes and businessmen alike have taken advantage of this function and turned it into a tool for success.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Jennifer Abel from Canada’s Olympic diving team performing a tuck.

Through visualization we can activate motor functions and practice sequences without actively doing them. When you imagine diving into a pool in great detail the brain will fire low-level signals to the muscle groups involved in diving. From our toes curling over the edge of the pool, our arms swinging to the sides of our head, to our fingers breaking the surface of the water upon entry. But why do this?

The simple answer is fatigue. Physical fatigue will inhibit us from practicing. Mental fatigue takes more time to develop, and as a result of that we can leverage our ability to visualize when we cannot physically practice.

How do you apply visualization properly? If you are struggling to do a skill, rehearsing the wrong way will not benefit you.

  1. Find a video of someone executing the skill properly then watch it repeatedly and think about doing the exact same movement.
  2. You want to focus your mind in the positive “you can” and “you will” execute this move perfectly.
  3. Find a quiet room and sit eyes closed for 30 minutes and imagine you are the individual you just watched and visualize yourself performing that movement.

Studies show that visualization in conjunction with practice increases your rate of improvement by 10-15 percent.

How does this apply to the world of business, or other less athletic activities? Visualization can help us build desirable habits. By spending 10 to 30 minutes everyday visualizing a desired behavior we can slowly change how we operate on a day to day basis.

Whether you want to change your behaviors, or tackle a new skill, remember to start slow and use your smart goals and milestones to help evaluate if you’re making progress with your skills. Until next Swimming Fit Friday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Bent Arm Workout

This week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday, we’ll talk front crawl and focus on the movement of the arms as we progress the skill. Specifically, we will talk about keeping your elbow slightly bent as you reach your hand in front of your body to enter the water. Front crawl is a skill we begin learning in the upper preschool levels and swim kids 1 and 2. Teaching us the basic movements of Front Crawl. To make coordination as simple as possible, beginners move their arms in a full circle. As we progress through the levels swimmers develop more strength through conditioning. It is when we enter swimmer 5 that bent elbows are introduced.

Why do we bend our elbows during the recovery phase of the stroke? For starters the recovery phase is when our arms are above the water. Bending the elbow reduces the recovery phase time and makes the stroke more efficient, so we no longer must full rotate at the shoulder blade. This also allows the swimmer to focus on generating more force during the push phase. The push phase occurs when we push the arm through the water and past our hips.

Beginners often bend at the wrist instead of the elbow. The reason this difference is important is because bending at the wrist does not reduce time spent in the recovery phase. Furthermore bending at the wrist creates drag, as the body is no longer streamline when entering the water.

Remembering to bend at the elbow slightly as you reach your hand in front of your body to enter the water is a key component in advancing one’s front crawl from a beginner stroke to an intermediate stroke. To help graduate your stroke from beginner to intermediate, check out the workout below.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Cullen Jones from 2012 Team USA performing Freestyle.

Bent Arms workout for Front Crawl:

Swimming Tip Tuesday Workout 1:

Equipment: Flutter board

Use of Equipment: hold the Flutter board in both hands in front of the body

Action: Perform Bent arm Front Crawl

Emphasis: Focus on exaggerating the rotation of the body and having your armpit facing upwards as you recover the arm around.

Distance: Repeat for 100m, 30 seconds of rest in between each 50m.

Reason: The flutter board will provide extra buoyancy during exaggerated rotation. This motion will give us enough room to focus on bending the elbow high above the body.

For more workouts on how to improve your strokes, visit us again.

That’s a wrap for today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

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This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday – Goal Setting

This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday we are going to talk Goal Setting and getting started.

Well into our second month of 2018, congratulations you made it! For those us of who were quick to make up new years resolutions, maybe some of us have fallen off the horse. On the other hand some of us may be late to making major changes. If this is you, there’s no time like the present. A good friend of mine said it’s good to start things on a Monday, keeping that in mind we’ll spark a fire to get active on a Fit Friday, prep over the weekend and hit the ground running on Motivation Monday!

SMART, that’s the acronym those of us working to be successful follow. Take the time to read these questions provided by the SMART acronym when that light bulb goes off.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday:
Alex and Eamon going over SMART goals with their swimmers.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific: What do you want to achieve?
  • Measurable: Is this goal something you can measure?
  • Attainable: Can you accomplish this goal?
  • Relevant: Does this goal add value?
  • Time: What is the time frame we are going to do this in, and is it reasonable?

It is through this method we filter our ideas and get specific, and start to make real progress. Take this tool and share your SMART goal with someone you care about, hold yourself accountable to your goals. Through sharing we are now accountable to ourselves and those we shared it with.

 

 

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Swimmer practicing Front Crawl.

Let’s look at an example:

S – Swim Freestyle 100m in under 2:00m

M – Yes, because we can use a timer to verify success

A – Yes, because I know how to perform basic Freestyle

R – I am training for ASAC

T – The ASAC meet is in 4 months

Understanding that this is where we want to be in 4 months time, we can add milestones throughout our journey. This can be checked at the end of each practice, or at the end of each month. Having Milestones in addition to our SMART allow us to re-evaluate our plans to attain this goal.

We’ll that’s all for this weeks Swimming Fit Friday. All the best!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday Butterfly Workouts

This weeks’ Swimming Tip Tuesday we will analyze and critique Butterfly. Butterfly, requires a large amount of upper body strength, unlike Front Crawl, one cannot over compensate with the use of a strong kick, to make it through stroke, for this is a skill for the advanced swimmer.

The base of Butterfly is the dolphin kick, alternating between the use of one big kick, and one smaller kick as the arms pull and recover. The legs move in unison, to mimic the tail of a Dolphin. This helps to propel the body forward, however with various bends in the body as the swimmer kicks, can cause the swimmer to sink lower and lower under the surface of the water.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly Recovery

To mitigate sinking as a result of the changes in our kick, we utilize the positioning of the upper body as well as momentum generated from the legs; specifically the arms. The arms sweep down drawing the shape of a keyhole, palms pushing through the water to lunge the body forward, as the arms come up over the head is when we must relax. This is our recovery phase, as we relax the angle of our chest rising through this movement will bring the legs up towards the surface of the water – giving us room to kick again.

Simply put: During the recovery phase, relax and let your chest position force your legs to rise to the top of the water.

Knowing is half the battle, how do we practice this so it becomes natural? Check out the training methods listed below:

Swimming Tip Tuesday Workout 1:

Equipment: pool buoy.

Use of Equipment: put the pool buoy in between your legs, specifically between the thighs.

Action: Perform arms only Butterfly.

Emphasis: Focus on relaxing the chest after the breathe in your recovery phase.

Distance: Repeat for 100m, 30 seconds of rest in between each 50m.

Reason: The use of the pool buoy will keep the swimmers legs at the surface of the water. Allowing the swimmer to focus on the arm motion and relaxation of the chest.

Swimming Tip Tuesday Workout 2:

Equipment: Flippers.

Use of Equipment: Put flippers on feet.

Action: Perform Butterfly.

Emphasis: Focus on the flippers reaching or breaking the surface water, one the chest has relaxed in the recovery phase.

Distance: Repeat 200m – 300m, 30 seconds of rest in between each 100m.

Reason: The flipper adds to the length of the legs, cause the swimmer to focus on generating enough power with the arms during the pull phase, to bring the chest to the appropriate position. This will use of the flippers will also allow the swimmer to perform longer distances, as the flippers will also add additional propulsion power.

That’s all for this week, until next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday Front Crawl Speed and Power

This weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday will dive a little deeper into building our power as we do Front Crawl which will ultimately assist with our overall speed of the stroke. Despite swimming being a full body exercise, an area often neglected by swimmers is developing upper body strength. Fortunately for most swimmers, when sharpening our technique we can also enhance our upper body strength, with that said, let’s dive in.

Swimming Fit FridayWhat we want to remember: that the swimmer should not start pulling their arm back until they give themselves enough room to reach forward under the water. Here’s why, extending the arm as far forward as the swimmer can allows for a longer opportunity to generate power. The longer pull builds musculature within the biceps and triceps.

When performing Front Crawl the step before recovery (when the arm exits the water) is to pull the hand past the hip to propel the body forward. If the distance between reaching forward and pulling back is shorter, the swimmer will generate less power.

Less power generated from the arms will force the swimmer to rely heavily on strength from their legs. This is only optimal if the swimmer is performing a Front Glide. Movement of the arms out of the water brings the body out of a streamline position. When the arms are misused, or used incorrectly this slows the swimmer down. The purpose of utilizing the arms during a stroke like Front Crawl is meant to assist rather than burden the lower body. It creates a more effective opportunity to generate power, and propulsion as well as opportunities for breathing.Swimming Tip Tuesday

As a swimmer becomes more advance the addition of ‘S’ pull will allow the swimmer to generate much more power. As the swimmer is performing Front Crawl, there will be a longer and longer moment of forward movement in between each pull phase, due to the propulsion.

To Summarize, reach for the stars, or this case as far forward as you can before each and every pull!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Don’t Start pulling your arm back until you give yourself room to reach forward under the water.

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Swimming Fit Friday: Progressive Overload

Todays’ Swimming Fit Friday, will discuss progressive overload. This builds off of our last Swimming Fit Friday post, in which we discussed the use of the F.I.T.T Principle. Playing around with its various components and understanding how they work.

Below we have highlighted the key points of the F.I.T.T Principle.

F.I.T.T stands for:Swimming Fit Friday

  • Frequency: the number of repetitions, or times a week.
  • Intensity: The speed or resistance used to perform an exercise
  • Time: The duration one spends performing an exercise
  • Type of Exercise: How does it challenge the muscle group

Lastly:

  • When performing our exercises it is KEY to maintain ones form, bad form is an opportunity for injury! Continual posture checks throughout ones workout help to keep one in good form.

For a full review of the article click this link: https://www.aquafunacademy.ca/swimming-fit-friday-f-t-t-principles/

What is progressive overload?

Without change one cannot grow. This is especially true in regards to working out. To perform the same routine and expect our body to grow and develop continuously is very misguided.

In order to challenge the body to develop, the use progressive overload is employed by all trainers. Lets look at it in the form of an example:

If one decided to swim 50 lengths once a week, the body will eventually find this easy to do.

What are ways in which we can keep these 50 lengths difficult?

Below we have listed 4 ways in which you can employ the use of progressive overload.Swimming Fit Friday

  • We can swim 50 lengths twice a week.
  • We can swim 50 lengths arms only or legs only
  • We can swim 50 lengths in 20mins
  • We can do a more difficult stroke or less practiced stroke for 50 lengths.

Those are some ways in which we can employ the use of progressive overload. Eventually these adjustments will become easy and we will have to alter them to allow the body to continue to progress in strength speed, and efficiency. Try on your own to employ the use of progressive overload into your routines and enjoy the benefits of exercise, until next time!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday Common beginner mistakes for Front Crawl

Today’s swimming Tip Tuesday will focus on a common beginner mistake for Front Crawl, regarding ones head position.

When doing Front Crawl the swimmers head position is important because it is one of the key points of rotation when breathing. If the swimmers head is miss-positioned the head can act like an anchor and cause the body to sink. The act of sinking causes the swimmer to exert unnecessary energy to complete the stroke for any desired distance.

A common beginner mistake is the swimmer will pull their head up, or forward facing when going to take a breath, rather than turn to the side. This creates unwanted strain on the neck, and throws the body out of a streamlined alignment.

To avoid this, read the following listed below:

  • The swimmer should breathe rhythmically, exhaling for a fixed period (3 seconds) of time and inhaling for a fixed period (three seconds) of time
  • The swimmer should focus on the location of the ear and nose while turning the head to the side
  • The swimmer should turn their head with the movement of their arm as they go into a side glide

Side glide: The swimmer extends one arm past the head leaning the ear down into the water bringing the swimmer onto their side. Keeping the other arm resting slightly behind the hip.

Another common beginner mistake is the swimmer will look forward, towards the wall ahead of them while blowing bubbles. Again putting unnecessary strain on the neck and throwing the body out of alignment.

While the swimmer is blowing bubbles into the water via the mouth or nose, the swimmer should aim to keep their head in the water with their eyes looking down. The swimmers head should be in line with the body and the water level should come between the eyebrows and hairline.

Indications of proper head position are as follows:

  • The swimmers neck is relaxed and not strained upwards
  • The swimmers ears are under water completely
  • The swimmers eyes are facing the floor beneath them
  • The swimmers chin is slightly tucked towards the chest

If all of the above are performed, the swimmer has successfully executed the proper head position for Front Crawl.

Tip: With eyes looking forward and down, your head should be in line with the body and the water level should come between your eyebrows and hairline.

Well That’s all for this weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Until Next Time!Swimming Tip Tuesday

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Swimming Fit Friday: Exercise and Arthritis.

 

 

swimming fit friday

Above is a photo of Aqua Fitness participants, with noodles

This swimming Fit Friday we will talk about ‘Exercise and Arthritis’.As we’ve discussed before the properties of water do fantastic things for the body.  One aspect that is noted often is that the water allows for a low impact environment. The water also allows those with reduced muscle mass, to weight bear with ease.

When working with participants who have arthritis the goal is to extend ones range of motion, building on flexibility while conditioning the muscle for positive developments in strength.

Because participants usually come with a limited range of motion, it is a preference of mine to only use ones body to exercise. Thus my classes in these cases tend to be equipment free. Warm water pools like Sunny View are perfect! Because the mobility required to thermo-regulate can be limited for the participants with decreased range of motion.

As an instructor I work to increase ROM (Range of Motion) by starting with small finer movements and gradually making the movements larger and more fluid. For example movement in the shoulders can be stiff, thus we can start by extending our arms as seen in the photo below. 

Swimming Fit Friday

Above is a photo of Michael Phelps arm span.

Once we’ve done this we will start by moving our arms in small circles and slowly increase the size of these circles with our arm. It is important to do this in both directions for a total time of 60 seconds, and 30 seconds in each direction.

A trend common amongst instructors who specialize in teaching this demographic is to limit every exercise to roughly 30 seconds intervals. Doing so allows the body time recoup and reduce muscle fatigue for the duration of the class.

In regards to building strength for this demographic it is also important to focus on balance. Having participants challenge their core strength, through various leg lifts, and holding various positions for 30 seconds at a time. Conditions the stabalizer muscles and promotes muscular endurance. Overall improving the participants’ quality of life, as they are able to stand for longer period of time. Which can allow them to do more around the household such as cooking and cleaning.

For opportunities on various adult classes and fitness programs visit the link below:

Health and Fitness

That’s a wrap for this weeks, Swimming Fit Friday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl, relax the neck.

This weeks Swimming Tip Tuesday will focus on Back Crawl and relaxation of the neck. A Common beginner mistake while doing Back Crawl is to tilt the head upwards, as if they are looking at their chest or their toes. This creates unnecessary strain on the neck and can lead soreness along the neck. Another disadvantage to this tilted position of the head and neck is, that it partially closes the airway. Thus inhibiting the free flow of the breathe in and out of the body. This tension adds more stress on the body, ultimately compromising our streamlined position.Swimming Tip Tuesday

When performing Back Crawl, the swimmer wants to relax their head back so that their ears are partially or fully submerged in the water. If either the swimmer or instructor notices that there is still a feeling of tension within the neck, or that the body position looks awkward. There is another way to set the body into streamlined position.

The swimmer while on their back, must focus on where their chin points:

  • If the swimmers chin is pointed towards the chest that indicates that the swimmer is looking at their chest/toes.
  • If the swimmer’s chin is pointed upwards towards the ceiling, this means that the swimmer is overcompensating and looking towards the wall behind them.

The swimmer wants the chin to be held within these two points (as mentioned above) so that the swimmer is looking directly at the ceiling above them while performing Back Crawl. Maintaining this position will remove all tension, and keep the swimmer in a streamlined position.

Once the swimmer as achieved the ideal body positioning for the head and neck, the swimmer will also increase their speed for their will be less drag acting on the body.

Expert Tip: In short your head should be still and your neck relaxed. Holding your head up too high will cause strain to the neck and slow you down in the water.

Until Next Swimming Tip Tuesday!

Swimming Tip Tuesday