When United States Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps attacks the last few laps of his freestyle races, he changes from a standard bent-arm method to a straight-arm one. This modification takes both intense strength and practice to perfect. By understanding the best ways to integrate the straight-arm technique into your freestyle regular, you may discover a couple of seconds shaved from your race time.
Traditional Vs. Freestyle
The straight-arm technique is a variation on the conventional freestyle stroke, where you alternate kicking your legs and moving your bent arms in a windmill fashion. A lot of swimmers are at first taught the freestyle stroke with a bent-arm strategy, according to iSport.com. Nevertheless, straight-arm freestyle can emerge as an alternative if you become a sprint swimmer. When you swim with a straight-arm stroke, you can pull more water with each stroke, moving you forward. However, the straight-arm technique can tire you quicker, which is why you’d only employ it for up to 100 meters.
Leaving the Water
When your arm leaves the water for your freestyle stroke, instead of flexing it and having your hand go into first, keep your elbow locked. Imagine your arm is one strong, long bar, much like an oar in a rowboat. You’ll windmill your arm up and over and back into the water, rotating your shoulder as your straight arm moves through the water. Continue pressing yourself through the water with your arms as straight as possible till you attacked the wall and complete your sprint.
Switching to a straight-arm swimming position represents a departure from your conventional arm position, but you don’t have to make too many changes to your hand positioning. Instead of slapping your hand against the water, your fingertips should get in initially in a slightly cupped position. Push your hand in the water with force, getting the water and picturing you’re pressing it backwards.
When to Switch
When you’re swimming longer races, you can still change to your straight-arm method for the last 25 to 50 seconds of the race, according to iSport.com. Switching to a straight arm not just assists you move faster, it also makes use of different muscles so your body feels fresh as you’re completing the last, crucial part of your race. While this will take some practice to time just right, start by switching over to your straight-arm stroke at the last flag. If your arm strength and endurances are strong enough where you can swim with straight arms for a longer period, consider switching over in the lap before the final flag.
Strengthening Your Arm
The straight-arm technique needs significant shoulder strength that features routine practice. One approach you can use to both perfect the straight-arm activity and boost your shoulders is to exercise with a single-arm drill. Instead of swimming with both arms, you’ll make use of the straight-arm motion with just one arm while your non-working arm continues to be stationary. To do, hold one arm straight in front of you for balance and move your opposite arm in a straight-arm stroke while you kick your legs. Attempt swimming 10 50-meter laps utilizing only your right arm, then changing to ten 50-meter laps utilizing just your left.