Ive been swimming since September, and ive had a few lessons recently to improve my stroke. Now breaststroke and backstroke are fine. I can swim and swim without feeling breathless. Now front crawl is killing me. 4 lengths and I feel I need to stop. Now in my improver lessons I got told my stroke was okay and pointed out things to work on, and the way I was breathing looked fine. Is it a mental thing? What works for you??
Swimmers - please help!
Relax, slow your stroke down a touch, and don't snatch at your breath! Take a nice steady breath in, hence slowing your stroke down a bit.
It took me a year to really relax and be comfortable and controlled. Now happy doing 3-4km open water swims.
Just keep practicing and it will come.
Sound very likely that you need to focus in exhaling better. Constant breathing out, don't hold your breath. Being knackered after a few lengths is a classic sign of poor breathing.
Oddly enough I am in a similar boat to you op. Just getting back into swimming after 20 odd years of mucking around in and on the water.
It is the breathing that I struggle to get right (I used to race as a teen but was shit at breathing then too - back stroke was my thing).
Check out Speedo's you tube videos on technique they explain it pretty well and while its early days I think I have now at least got the right idea although still feel like a beginner.
I am trying to slow right down and make it all about the technique and sod the pace/speed.
Slowing down is the first thing to try. Then it's controlling your exhale, make sure you have emptied your lungs, then a steady controlled inhale. A short pause in your stroke so you are facing up to breathe helps to get your breath in.
Does that make sense?
EDIT: Aim for 17-18 strokes for a 25m length.
Yes, just slow it right down so you can keep going without getting out of breath. Then speed it up. I was the same, could just do one length, then it clicked and could keep going forever (well, until boredom kicked in).
Sorry re read your op.
Think I am a way behind you in the skill stakes so my comments may be balls.
I have a similar problem and a couple of things I read to try were firstly to try speeding up a little if slowing down wasn't working. The idea being that maybe I was going too slowly and having too little time between breaths. The second thing was to try breathing every 4 then every 5 strokes rather than every 3. Then when you get back to 3 it feels easy.
Leffeboy what are you counting as 1 stroke?
Right arm + left arm = 1
Right arm =1 and left arm =1
So when you are exhaling, do you completely emptyyour lungs, or just breathe out as you normally would when cycling or running?
Hmm maybe I just answered my own problem.
Biggest thing to ever help my swimming was when someone pointed out that you're never not breathing. You're either breathing in or you're breathing out, there is nothing else. (short sprints are different).
Long, slow, deep breaths. Calm and steady.
Not short, grabby breaths. You'll just start to hyperventilate.
Leffeboy what are you counting as 1 stroke?
one stroke per arm so you breath in alternate sides.
Relax, you are doing fine.
Front Crawl uses a lot of muscles and energy so it is tiring.
Look at your breathing, work on exhaling slowly.
If possible, try and work on alternate sides for breathing.
As with any sport, you need to build up.
If you can do 4 lengts at a time now, do that, rest a bit then another 4, do this until you have reached your goal.
Next time, mix in a 5 or 6 length into the middle of it, you know you can do 4, another 1 or 2 is easy, right?
You Re doing well, dont worry, and enjoy it.
Have you thought about joining a Masters class? ( If your are a touch older)
I am training for a triathlon in May. I started off by alternating a length of front crawl and a length of breast stroke. Then went onto 2 crawl 1 breast, 3 crawl 1 breast etc etc.
Worked for me
Do some swimming with a drag float between your legs. It'll help you relax and focus just on arms and breathing. And for Tri's you want a lazy leg kick anyway so need to develop your pull technique.
Thanks for the replies chaps and chapesses. That article is very informative teamhurtmore, cheers!
What ps44 says. You need to save your legs for the run and cycle if your triathlon training. The swimsmooth website which has been posted twice is really good for exploring techniques which help you use your arms more.
Wors, no probs I am a swim bore and love swimsmooth.
My standard warm up is 400m steAdy focusing first and foremost on breathing. I am lazy about bilateral breathing and tend to breath unilaterally every 4 stokes. I have to focus on exhaling constantly in a smooth fashion and the SS bubble, bubble, breathe technique.
Don't confuse not needing to kick hard in a tri swim (true) with lady legs that sink. Body position is crucial. Try tying you ankles together with an inner tube to see the effect (another SS drill).
Another vote for swimsmooths site. I have a lesson with one of their top teachers in 2 weeks, very excited. Hoping it will finally get me through the 6 min 400m barrier
my wife was struggling, getting really out of breath. For years I said I thought she wasn't exhaling fully or too slowly, so she didn't have enough time to take a proper breath
needless to say she ignored me
she then paid a coach to tell her the same thing and that sorted it
Have you tried using a snorkel for your front crawl/freestyle?
I wouldn't even bother swimming front crawl when I swam because I couldn't organise my breathing well enough and like you I'd need to stop after only a few lengths/laps as I'd be knackered.
Using the snorkel I've been able to focus on initially getting my strokes, body position and roll right without worrying about not being able to breathe and then continued with the use of a pull-buoy and hand 'paddles' which has built up my arm/shoulder strength and stamina so I'm ready now to go without the snorkel.
Another vote for SwimSmooth here. I'm working on my front crawl at the moment (well, not right this moment obviously) and I'm using the SwimSmooth book on my Kindle as a guide. I'm spending quite a bit of time currently focusing on the breathing drills, specifically the bubble, bubble, bubble, breath and Pop-eye breathing, as I was lifting my head way too high to take breaths. Starting to get to the point now where I don't ingest half the pool as well, so that's a bonus.
Swimsmooth is really good, esp the 'Mr Smooth' animated bloke that you can download and really helped me visualise a good stroke.
If you like reading then the Total Immersion book (here) gives a good insight into swimming technique (although not everyone agrees their approach is the way forward, and I don't buy their ideas 100% it's a good way to get you thinking about 'good' swimming).
Every time this thread title gets bumped up I think someone's drowning, with their smartphone.
Anyway, the thing that helped my swimming massively, far beyond all other technique tips, was running 8x200m sprint intervals with 1 min rest.
It improved my cardiovascular capacity enormously. I never get out of breath on the bike, and I don't get out of breath swimming either. So I can easily control my breathing and I went from needing to breathe every other stroke (and almost swallowing the pool due to gasping so much) to being able to breathe ever 4th.
Ive just had a 1 hour video analysis lesson with one of the top full time coaches in the country. Wow! I've always struggled with bilateral breathing, she had me doing it comfortably in 30 minutes
In one, one hour lesson I am now swimming alot more effortlessly for the same speed, and can see the way forward. Bring on the 5:30 400m
I think she is the jedi of the swimming world.
Who and where is she? I'd love to meet the Jedi of the swimming world. So far, it's just been well meaning low level coaches for the swim.
I was the same, there was only so far my local coach could take me. Emma from Activeblu used underwater video analysis to see what was really going on in my stroke. Its quite pricey but if you need to move your swimming forward, I think its the only way to go.
She is one of the few fulltime swimsmooth coaches in the uk and goes out to Oz to train their coaches, she knows what she us doing, her love of swimming, esp open water is infectious.
based in Lancaster, we made a family weekend of it and visited the lakes etc....
Cheers. Not a million miles away from the east midlands.
Yeah, I went from the west midlands.
Tell het Scott from last week recommended her
Never saw the benefit of bilateral breathing personally, I'd just go with what you are comfortable with based on your ability and lung capacity.
Depending on pace I would breath either every 2 or 4 strokes as I preferred my RHS, but could interchange if I needed to.
Make sure your feet aren't dropping in the water, they will create a massive amount of drag and make it a lot tougher.
If you are training for Tri and want to build your arm strength then I would recommend using hand paddles, they increase your hand surface area and improve stroke & power.
Hand paddles for strength are a big big no no! The quickest and most surefire way of enducing injuries into the shoulders of weeker swimmers!
They are only useful for catch drills, and learning to gauge optimum hand position at the start of the catch.
Bilateral breathing promotes a well balanced equal stroke and helps prevent "banana'ing". Also when open water swimming; esp in a mass start you need to be aware of whats going on to both sides.
Very old school philosophy.
My swimming is eventually coming along quite nicely after afew lessons down at the local pool and many late nights down at the pool! So much so, the other night I went for a swim with the intention of concentrating on my stroke. I managed to swim 1/2 mile in just over 15 minutes which I was very pleased about, not out of breath either.
I might take a look at activeblu, cheers Geologist.
This topic has been closed to new replies.