"I never met a shark I didn't like"
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.
I've been working on technique lately and experimenting with elbow position on recovery. There are two conflicting points that I have been trying to reconcile and I would appreciate opinions on this. At one point in my life I was taught to use a high elbow recovery and another point I was told that the high elbow would lead to injury because it does something to impinge something (I don't remember the exact mechanics other than I remembered that word "impinge" and so I started to use a more relaxed arm recovery.)
On my first 10K this past summer, the one thing I really remember is that my deltoid muscles were really tired at the end of the swim. That was the only part of me that really felt tired. I started thinking about it and figured it was from having my arm extended on recovery and I was lifting the whole arm assembly for each stroke. So I thought that if I used a higher elbow recovery, maybe I would be taking advantage of leverage and lifting a slightly lighter arm each time.
I have been playing with this higher elbow recovery and it's feeling pretty good. I don't know if this makes a difference on a long swim because I haven't been swimming distances. I was wondering if there is any solid knowledge on this subject from the people who are doing the big distances.
@curly I am with Jaimie on #teamhighelbows. In fact, my husband often jokes that when I'm coming to shore in a race, he knows it's either me or a teenage boy because of the bony elbows poking up, It works well for me and I rarely, if ever, have shoulder pain or deltoid issues.
I'm sure seeing a lot of great pictures of high elbows on this site. I think I'm convinced. I've been focusing on that in my annual stroke technique evaluation. I'm also noticing that it is helping me with my hand placement in the water. The whole thing feels a bit weird as I modify the stroke, but I think it will be an improvement. I also think I am accomplishing my goal of working as little as possible. (That may be a life goal too...) ;)
I am mega late to this discussion, but I just posted this on another thread and thought it might be worth mentioning here. I found out that when I rotated, especially when breathing, I was pulling completely with my shoulder instead of using my core. I started doing some serious core strength training and concentrated on rotating from my center and blamo, no shoulder pain.
Here is my current problem. Working up to a Tahoe width crossing, and lots of long weeks, in fact more volume than I have ever done. In past seasons I have been blessedly free of shoulder issues. But the last few weeks i have had Shoulder pain primarily on the inside of my left scap, also the left intercostals (and probably deeepr muscles) are uncomfortable too. Although oddly the longer I swim the better it feels. When I did a 10k pool swim on June 1 I felt great by the time I finished. Maybe more foam roller?? I have massage and acupuncture about every 10 days, which helps too. Thoughts appreciated!