SWIM EASY DVD & BOOK – Learn to Swim like a Champ!

John Konrads’ new Swim Easy DVD comes with a 96 page A5 size colour booklet. A must for those adults wanting to learn how to swim with great technique, it’s also suitable for teenagers and kids.

This DVD was produced in association with the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association [ASCTA]. It’s a detailed learn to swim tool for competent swimmers as well as beginners and it focuses on John’s 7 Basic Principles of Freestyle, common to all champion swimmers. Once you get these right, the details fall into place easily.

“Swim Easy” means learning how to swim efficiently with greater speed and distance.

Learn to swim like a champ!
Find out more about John’s product. To purchase at the special 20% discount online click on SALE OFFER under “Pages” top left.>

Please note: This DVD is not ideal for parents/teachers looking to book children in to learn how to swim for kids; alternatively, please see information about swim clinics via the left hand menu.

JK DVD image

SwimEasy Newsletter Jan – Swimming & Strength

Happy New Year !

Swimming and Strength.

Why are so many world records set by teenagers? Surely strength is important. Well it is, and those teenagers usually keep breaking their own records as they mature, but swimming is a sport where technique and fitness are more important than physical strength. Firstly we are suspended by water and weight due to gravity is not an issue, unlike cycling, running and the obvious sports like weightlifting.

I keep on emphasising that efficiency means using only those muscles which are required and keeping the others loose. But which ones are they?

Speed comes from applying more backward pressure on the water during the “pull” phase of the stroke which is combined with body rotation for more power [see Principles number 4 and 7 of my 7 Basic Principles]. The muscles which do most of the work are the lats, pecs and triceps. That’s why you see champions stretching with their hand behind the neck, elbow pointing up and pulling that elbow with their other hand in a sideways and backwards arch.

The lats, pecs and triceps should feel tired and stiff after a hard and/or long swim. That’s good. If you feel stiff in your deltoids neck and upper back, you’re doing one or more of;

  • Not rotating enough, needing to get your recovering arm out of the water using back and neck muscles rather than by body rotation. Body rotation uses very little energy. Just float on your back with a gentle kick and roll over onto your front. Yes, that’s all the energy it takes!
  • You’re rotating by jacking your elbow up rather than leading with body rotation. Our shoulders are built for the efficient use of arms within the circle of your peripheral vision when looking straight ahead, i.e. eating, hugging, holding babies etc. Stand with your arms spread sideways, then push your elbows and hands backward and feel the stress in all those hundreds of back and neck muscles!
  • At the end of your pull you are bringing your arm forward [“recovery”] using your deltoids, and if you guys haven’t shaved you have a rash on your upper shoulder! Keep your shoulders away from your jaw in their natural, relaxed position. Lie on your side on the floor, bottom arm extended forward and top arm resting on your hip. You’re in the inhaling phase of your swim stroke [or point your nose to the floor while still lying on your side and you’re exhaling]. Now just throw your upper arm forward keeping your hand lower than your elbow. That’s all the energy you need for the recovery phase. Note that you’re sideways during this phase which goes with my slogan “Stay sideways longer.”

 

 

 

 

Use the “fingerdrag” exercise to achieve a relaxed recovery. Remember to lead with body roll, not your elbow, and drag your fingers past your head so you stay sideways longer.

Consult with a trainer for strength exercises for your lats, pecs and triceps. A good one is with dual handle pulley weights, pulling down and back as if you were doing swim strokes from the “entry”, through the “pull” and a “push” at the end.

Hey, with more power you’ll do fewer strokes per lap at greater speed….. with the same or less effort.

JK

 

 

Swim Easy Holiday on the Sunshine Coast

Develop great freestyle technique while taking a break. What better place to learn how to swim for adults and kids than the lovely Sunshine Coast?!

I have reduced my fees for swimmers who want to combine a Swim Easy Clinic with a holiday. In addition, the Clinic includes an ocean swim with me. I hope you don’t go too fast as I’m slowing down at my age!

All the features are included plus I give you the SD card from my underwater video camera including my comments as you are filmed.

Come by yourself or with family and friends.

The fee for1 swimmer for 1 1/2 hrs.+ is $200. 2 swimmers, 1 3/4 hrs.+ $300.

3 swimmers 2 hours. $360.

Swimmers who already have the 2012 DVD+booklet deduct $50, otherwise I will mail you a copy before the clinic for $57 including P&H.

Bigger groups up to 8 swimmers for 4 hours are available at reduced rates.

Email me at john_konrads@bigpond.com or call me on 0407 560 568.

DIY stroke correction

DIY stroke Correction

Once you’ve studied my DVD and Booklet, there are many ways of checking out your own technique.

Principle 1.

If you are aquaplaning upward or tryining to “swim high” in the water you’re wasting energy so check your body position by floating with arms extended forward. Thats how deep you are when you swim. If your legs sink you have higher body density but a gentle kick will get you horizontal. If you’re aquaplaning with your arms and hands you’ll see bubbles streaming from your fingernails if you look forward underwater and see your hand entry. Just point your hand downwards till your arm is parallel with the surface.

Principle 2.

If you’re not rotating enough you’ll get tired in the upper back muscles and deltoids, wasting energy. To rotate more, do the Fingerdrag drill but make sure you are rotating more reather than jacking up your elbow. Drag your fingers pforward past your head so you stay sideways longer for good streamlining.

Principle 3.

Puffed out? You’re kicking too hard! Swim without kicking, just drag your loose legs behind. If they sink your head is too high or you’re lifting it to breathe. If they only feel like they’re sinking it’s probably by only 10 cms. or so, so don’t worry.

Principle 4. The most common source of inefficacy.

Count your strokes. For tall people it should be 40 or less per 50m., and less than 45 for everyone. If not, you’re pulling too soon, i.e. not enough “catchup”. Do the Thumbtouch drill without actually touching so you’re overdoing the “delayed pull”. Now let the front hand go down a bit until you feel that roller-skating, gliding groove. Momentarily you’ll have 2 hands forward of your head. Check this by looking slightly forward underwater and momentarily seeing both hands.

Principle 5.

Apart from being puffed out by kicking too hard you may be holding your breath too long. Focus on breathing out from both mouth and nose. Try breathing out fully as a test. You’ll still have enough air in your lungs to cough if you get some water in your throat. Roll to breathe by looking skywards. Don’t lift your head to breathe. Do the Sidestroke drill to get an efficient head position.

Principle 6. 

Look at your recovering hand when breathing in and if it’s higher than your elbow drop it down so it’s going forward rather than up and down. The difference between the Fingerdrag drill and real swimming is that your recovering hand is only about 10 to 20cms. higher than the surface.

Principle 7.

When you swim faster, your stroke count will actually go down because every stroke carries you further. If not, then you are pulling sooner as well as harder, reving in 2nd gear! Do the stuff in Principle 4. while swimming faster. Ian Thorpes first 200m world  record for laps 2 and 3 took 34 strokes each. Several years later his world record stroke count was 29! Libby Tricket also reduced her count over the record braking years.

Swim smarter, not harder!

Swim Easy – Principle number 1 – Body position

The John Konrads Swim Easy System is based on applying the fundamentals of freestyle technique. I call them ‘The Seven Basic Principles’. Once these are correctly adopted, most stroke details fall into place. The rest are easy to correct by an instructor or even yourself.

This is all covered in my new DVD contained in a 96 page color booklet which was produced in association with the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association, our peak body.

Principle number 1 – Body position

Principle number 1 deals with the position of your body in the water and provides a basis without which you can’t achieve good technique.

Importantly, we swim at flotation depth so that the water does the work of holding you up. Sounds simple but our subconscious drives want us to aquaplane upwards.

These are involuntary and originate from;

  • Anxiety. Everybody has even a little bit of anxiety because humans aren’t built for an aquatic environment.
  • Cold water. “It’s warm up there, it’s cold down here!”
  • Speedboats aquaplane to go faster. Yeah, but you’re not built like a speedboat!

You may think our Olympic swimming champions ride high in the water… wrong! The reason you can see their backs is due to their big bow wave.  They are right at flotation depth except some sprinters who aquaplane slightly due to body shape.

You may think to yourself “I don’t float very well”. If that is truly the case then you have to rotate, or roll more to get a good breath. (this is covered in more detail in principle number 2, stay tuned…)

So the energy you save can be applied to swimming faster or indeed swim further (covered in principle number 7).

Future Newsletters will provide information on each of Principles, so watch this space, or follow me on facebook for all the latest swimming tips

Strength, fitness and technique

Swimming is a technical sport. Our champions have all of the above but they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have optimum technique.
Technique is critically important!
That’s why this years fastest men’s 100 is held by 19 year old Aussie James Magnussen at 48.29. Thorpies best time was 48.56 and his new coach, the legendary Gennadi Touretski [read Alex Popov, Klimmy etc.] says “[Magnussen's] physique is only 80% of full adult maturity.” [read strength, but you're not going to be a world record holder!]. This article is from The Australian newspaper’s expert swim journalist Nicole Jeffery, respected throughout the swimming world.
So what has strength and fitness to do with the average adult swimmer?
1. you don’t need either strength or fitness to ENJOY swimming, but you need good technique, otherwise you will be frustrated and likely to give up.
2. For example many, I’d say most, triathletes have swimming as their ‘weakest leg’. They are good runners and bikies which are activities natural to the human body, but swimming isn’t! It’s like putting snow skiing at the start of a triathlon! So they are fit and strong, but lack swim technique. This means that they waste energy in the swim and have less reserve for the rest.
3. Why? Because strength and fitness are less important than technique. Good swimmers can be fat and lazy. They’re relaxed, only using the necessary muscles which are the lats, the pecs and the triceps. Do gym work to strengthen these muscles for swimming.

While swimming exercises the whole body, it’s only the above muscles that get a solid workout. That’s why I say “if you don’t run or bike, your legs won’t get a workout so stick on some flippers and do kicking. A kickboard stresses my neck and shoulders so I do it on my back, arms forward so I don’t bump into people and walls.
If you get stressed in the upper back and deltoids, you are doing one or both things wrong.
1. you are looking forward underwater which not only stresses your neck, but many back muscles down to your feet! You’re a tug boat rether than a Thorpedo.
2. in an attempt to rotate more [a must!] you are jacking the upper elbow behind your shoulder line. Instead, rotate your body first and then your arm will come out of the water loosely. Try lying down on a carpet on your side with the lower arm extended forward, and the upper arm resting on your thigh. This is your breathing position if your face is sideways or your exhaling position if your nose is on the carpet. Now throw the upper arm forward without getting off your side. When your fingers touch the carpet that is your entry and from there you start rotating to the other side. Keep your upper arm loose with your hand lower than your elbow.

It doesn’t take any energy does it? In the water thats your arm ‘recovery’ above the surface.

Let’s get things into perspective!

Two of the world’s most dominant female swimmers in the last decade are Libby [Lenton] Tricket and USA’s Natalie Coughlin. Both are about 172cm tall and both have size 7 feet! Libby is a bit shorter but has powerful shoulders while Natalie is not the strongest member of her team. Don’t forget that Thorpie goes 8% slower with pullbuoy despite having the greatest kick in the world. So what’s it all about?

Two technical things, apart from their fitness and talent separate us from elite champions.

1. Streamlining. They rotate on a straight axis from the crown of their head to their toes. This comes with lots of focus when working out. Arms move ‘forward and backward’ rather than up/down/around.

2. Their ‘hold’ on the water. This is the rubber on the road. I have instructed seriously big and powerful South Sydney Rabitohs, and their pull rips a hole in the water like wheelspin in a powerful car. Champions hands hold a piece of water and don’t go backwards much relative to the side of the pool, a bit like oar blades in rowing.

So the bottom line is technique. How many powerful golf champions are there?

Importance of stroke correction

WHY DO OUR CHAMPIONS NEED STROKE WORK WEEKLY?

Humans aren’t built for swimming.
We can’t breathe at anytime we want to and there’s nothing firm to hold on to.
This leads to the “fight/flight” part of our brain sending out danger signals when we get into water. Brain surgeons from St Vincent’s Sydney at one of my Clinics told me it’s in the amygdala part of our brain. It’s involuntary and very powerful because it’s function is nothing short of survival of the human race [or the lions, elephants, dogs race for that matter.
I surprise people by stating than the sport most comparable to swimming is snow skiing!
Why? Well, you have limited goggle vision, cold and above all, anxiety! Grant doesn’t want to get a drop of water down his throat from a swimmer he’s overtaken in a 1500. It’s not fun to cough when you’re buggered!
So everybody has varying degrees of anxiety. I’m a mug skier but when I’m told to ‘lean into the valley’ I think “hell no, thats death down there!” so I lean into the mountain, lose my edges and fall.
Swimming has similar paradoxes. Our involuntary brain thinks ‘it’s warm up there, there are sharks down there!! and it’s colder. Salvation is up there’ and we aquaplane upwards.

THE MOST COMMON ERROR IN FREESTYLE.

Due to the above, and breathing being the most important thing we do, the most frequent error among all swimmers is to press down too soon on the hand opposite to the breathing side.
So we lift to breathe rather than roll to breathe.
This leads to several inefficiencies;
- the biggest one is losing power on the off side, because your body rotation hasn’t started yet in that direction so you’re only using muscle. See “Catch up” below in early newsletters.
- you lose streamlining as your head raises above your body axis.
- as a result of the above you have less time to breathe in, losing oxygen, because your arms are going faster [but you're swimming slower].
- Ocean swimmers lift the head “to breathe better”. Nonsense! The mouth is down there, and lifting the head means lifting about 5kg’s above the surface without getting the breathing part up! So lift your chin rather than the top of your head. Rotate more and look at the sky when breathing in choppy water. Der…. check out shots of Keiren and Grant!

Hey, I know because as I get older this is my primary fault so I tell myself “practice what you preach Konrads!”

SPECIAL NOTE. If you have my DVD or even the older video, contact me direct for any questions or advice. Mobile 0407 560 568 [Sunshine Coast] or john_konrads@bigpond.com.

Happy Swimming!  John

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