Sinking legs when trying to float

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Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby marcinn » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:59 am

Hello all,

While browsing various swimming resources and videos on You Tube, I found a few references to a "front float" exercise as a nice tool to improve free style body position. Every time I try to do it (push off from the wall in streamlined position, chest pressing down, etc.) my legs sink once I start floating. There is absolutely no way I can keep them up :). In straight position my legs go down and arms start sticking out of water. Could it be that my legs are too long and heavy (I am a cyclist too) or am I doing something wrong? I am a decent swimmer, swimming mostly long distance freestyle. I thought, I have good position in water and I do not need to kick too much (usually go with two beat kick), but these sinking legs make me thinking maybe I still need to fix something. Should all swimmers able to float? :)

Best,
Marcin
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby marcinn » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:09 am

I did another test today, I put a rubber band around my ankles and swam with it. My legs were sinking a little bit, but once I started pressing chest down, I was able to get them relatively close to the surface of the water. I had to stay focused on pressing down and it felt a bit like attempting to dive at times... I did 500 yards wearing the band and averaged 1:45/100y, which is considerably slower comparing to my regular steady swim pace with light two beat kick (around 1:25/100y). I assume this is due to the extra drag caused by sinking legs. I will continue experimenting with "front float" and rubber band...
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby SolarEnergy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:20 pm

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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby marcinn » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:35 am

Thank for the link the article Charles - it was very helpful!

I tested a few more things at the swimming pool and here are my findings:
- I can float with my legs handing down (as the linked post describes).
- The only way for me to float (sort of) in straight position is to move palms out of water (to add more weight in the front). Any attempt to put palms in the water causes my legs to sink.

I no longer worry about sinking legs during "front float" exercise - my lower body buoyancy is too low to do it :).

Marcin
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby agreenyblue » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:10 pm

Hey,

I read your post trying to find an explanation for the same problem and was disappointed with your conclusion. Then I came across this wacky video that explains the solution excellently. Hope you see this and good luck.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW5nE5FBPsQ
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby SolarEnergy » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:22 pm

I found this clip extremely interesting from top to end. Lots of humour.

I do not think it is necessary to discredit feeling driven advices that we often hear though, referring to pushing your chest down, stretching your liquorice or whatever the analogy might be. Anyway, that was just a philosophical opinion.

Question for you. After seeing this clip, would you consider that you can now achieve a perfect horizontal position like the one shown (twice) on the clip? In other words, you can stay still in the water, at the surface, for 30sec or so, and both your feet and hands will almost break the surface?

Keep posting by the way! Welcome to our forums!
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby cottmiler » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:04 pm

This shows how to float horizontally with the legs up and arms by the side.

http://www.enjoy-swimming.com/freestyle ... front.html
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby agreenyblue » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:05 pm

That drill teaches how to compensate for lack of balance using your kick. In the video I posted (no affiliation) it is explained how using your kick to gain buoyancy in the legs and hips causes the drag we seek to avoid by maintaining good balance and a good streamlined position.
Prior to viewing the video I posted I was perplexed about this very common and frustrating issue and the best information I had come across was ´push your chest into the water´ or ´use your kick to maintain leg buoyancy´ etc, etc...principles which can assist people to improve their technique but are not a solution to the problem.
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby SolarEnergy » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:31 pm

Like I said earlier, it's an interesting clip, lots of humor in it... However, since you insist, its conclusion goes in the opposite direction of everything I have learned about swimming over the last 25 years, both as a swim instructor and a swim coach.

Some good can be said about the clip, the ideas that it promotes are not fallacious, it's just the result of the process which I humbly believe which is (fallacious).

You couldn't get me to perform this exercise, not to mention my heaviest sinkers, who have a negative buoyancy anyway (that is, they can not even float with lungs full of air in a perfectly vertical position).

Sorry.

I definitely stand to be corrected, always eager to learn, but you'll have to provide me with evidence that this works, evidence in the form of videclips of *you* getting a typical heavy sinker to float in a perfectly horizontal position without the help of any aids, and no movement at all. Read in this request that I even suspect the author of this clip to have cheated, I don't know how (either in displaying the few times when this trick worked whilst hiding all occurrences when it did not work, or by altering the clip in some ways). The proof is in the pudding. Show me something valid, and I'll buy it no problem.

The story I posted, which you commented negatively, was done with a lot of honnesty. It depicts an actual 90min session during which, the subject did go from being able to swim 100m non stop, to 2000m non stop. It means that prior the 90m session, he couldn't swim, after the 90min session, he went to the public swim session and booked 2k non stop. The same subject just did his first 2 triathlon races, he's now eager to hear the Horn at the start of his next Ironman race. There's not cheating in this clip, and more importantly its conclusion is inclusive, ie it pertains to everyone having this problem without a single exception.

I'm sure that all coaches with significant experience have all been confronted to very heavy sinkers, we all know that for a large portion of them, floating still in a perfectly horizontal position is physically impossible. Your clip sends the message that everyone with no exception should manage to float, which is very frustrating for those who will never be able to float this way. In that, it's exclusive (and once again, based on my experience, fallacious).

"Some would rather be known, than be right" (Andrew Coggan, 2011)
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby agreenyblue » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:00 pm

SolarEnergy I just spent two hours responding to your post and the forum logged me out before I could send it and deleted the post while I logged in.

Sorry mate. Last time that will happen me.
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Re: Sinking legs when trying to float

Postby SolarEnergy » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:38 am

Bahhh, it happens to all of us every once in a while... Use Firefox, or Chrome, these are safer browser that will better recover from this sort of situation. Very often, when I have some doubts, I write in Word or anyother word processor, then copy past to some Forums.

Sorry for your loss.

You know, you don't really have to spend hours and hours answering me. This material in this clip that you proposed to SwimSmooth's community is very well known and understood by most certified swim coaches.

All these hours you'd be spending would probably be spent in explaining me the details and all, my point is not that this theory is wrong, just that it does not apply to everyone.

The best way that you could help me, if it's your intention, is therefore to show me how *YOU* could get heavy sinker to float still, without any movement, in a perfectly horizontal position. So I'd expect footage, not long explanations.

Like I said, personally, as a theorician, when writing texts like the one I started writing on this topic, I like to make sure that the theories apply to *all*, or at least as many people as possible.
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