General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Question about pull bouy Rss Feed  
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2013-04-17 9:19 PM

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Subject: Question about pull bouy
I've been having trouble with swimming for 2.5 years now.  Just can't get it figured out.  I hear people talking about using the pull buoy to help them focus on stroke.  I've even heard people say that they swim better with pull bouy then without.  Well I have tried to use it a couple of times and it makes everything feel out of whack.  I feel extremely awkward and my balance feels way off and I just have a very hard time using it.  Does this mean anything specific about my technique?  Should it be easy.  Am i too dependant on my legs to keep balance?  Has anyone else had this problem?  I have tried it between my thighs and all the way down to my ankles.  Should I be focusing on anything in particular?  Thanks for any tips.


2013-04-17 10:06 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
I have same problem I. Can't do anything with a swim bouy. Thanks for this post. I'm going to follow it to see the answers.
2013-04-17 10:25 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
You guys need to post video of your swimming.  I can see finding a pull buoy being a little awkward at first, it should not completely upset the apple cart.  You probably have some issues with your stroke, but we gotta see before we can comment.
2013-04-18 1:29 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
I credit the pull buoy with completely turning my swimming around. If, like me, you have heavy, sinking legs and/or a weak kick, then i highly recommend it. The pull buoy raises your hips in the water and lets you focus on upper body technique - your stroke and most importantly, rotation.

When you have the upper body sorted out, then lose the pull buoy, put on some fins and start kicking. The fins will build your kick and also help raise your hips. Soon you'll be able to lose the fins and hey presto, you're swimming!

Re: pull buoy technique - put the small end behind you and push it up snug between your legs at the top.

If you still find this awkward (it's really not hard!), then look at the new Roka SIM shorts - in theory all the benefits of a pull buoy.

Good luck!

SM
2013-04-18 2:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

mchadcota2 - 2013-04-18 4:19 AM I've been having trouble with swimming for 2.5 years now.  Just can't get it figured out.  I hear people talking about using the pull buoy to help them focus on stroke.  I've even heard people say that they swim better with pull bouy then without.  Well I have tried to use it a couple of times and it makes everything feel out of whack.  I feel extremely awkward and my balance feels way off and I just have a very hard time using it.  Does this mean anything specific about my technique?  Should it be easy.  Am i too dependant on my legs to keep balance?  Has anyone else had this problem?  I have tried it between my thighs and all the way down to my ankles.  Should I be focusing on anything in particular?  Thanks for any tips.

Ahm you have no mention of what works and what doesn't without the pull buoy or what you feel is wrong with. Very difficult to help .. post more details or a video.

A pull buoy can help you focus on upper body rotation and stroke. For swimmers with sinking legs or a wacky kick/scissor kick it can help take their mind off of things and focus on one thing at the time.

Place the buoy between your thighs, you shouldn't need to press your legs together to keep it there. If it falls off you're kicking too much. If you note you have a tendency to keep kicking from the ankles you may try an ankle strap as well, but for safety I'd avoid using a strap if you're not comfortable in the water or you cannot stand on the bottom. ?

You may feel the buoyancy of the buoy presses your face into the water, but really it just gets your body up in the right position. If you feel this then possibly you have a tendency to breathe forward rather than to the side.

Some swimmers use the kick to drive body rotation and this gives this characteristic scissor kick. The body rotation, and really you only need to rotate the upper body, should be driven by your stroke. Good upper body rotation also means that you'll use your lats for the stroke. With the buoy you have no choice but to drive rotation with your stroke.

BR

2013-04-18 6:47 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
I am just about the opposite of a swimming expert, but when I first used a buoy it definitely felt weird. For me, it meant that my entire swimming stroke was contained in my kick and I was barely using my upper body at all. When I stopped kicking my body would flop all over the place and I no longer had any sense of balance. That is, until I figured out that my upper body was supposed to be actually doing something. It definitely turned my swim around and I'm better than before with and without the buoy.


2013-04-18 6:59 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
I feel off balance when I use the pull buoy at first.....then as I work longer with it I find it helps.  Since I've incorporated more use of that with my swim sets (and my Finis paddles) I have found that my catch and pull are more effective.  I just hate flip turns with it cause it never seems to stay in place.
2013-04-18 7:18 AM
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2013-04-18 8:35 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

Here's a very helpful pull buoy tip:

 

If you have a lot of problems swimming using the buoy with NO kick, you definitely need it. It allows you to expose the imbalances in your stroke (which nearly all beginners have), which is being compensated for by your kick.

 

Remove the kick, and those stroke errors are revealed.

 

The harder you find swimming with a pull buoy minus kick, the more you need it. Keep in mind you should really try to swim without a kick at all if going this route - use an ankle band if you can't help kicking (it's a natural response to keep compensating for a stroke error to kick.)

 

Don't do all your swims with it though - still mix in non buoy laps regularly - you can get dependent on the buoy for buoyancy if you overuse it. If used properly though it is a very helpful tool.

2013-04-18 8:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
yazmaster - 2013-04-18 10:35 AM

Here's a very helpful pull buoy tip:

 

If you have a lot of problems swimming using the buoy with NO kick, you definitely need it. It allows you to expose the imbalances in your stroke (which nearly all beginners have), which is being compensated for by your kick.

 

Remove the kick, and those stroke errors are revealed.

 

The harder you find swimming with a pull buoy minus kick, the more you need it. Keep in mind you should really try to swim without a kick at all if going this route - use an ankle band if you can't help kicking (it's a natural response to keep compensating for a stroke error to kick.)

 

Don't do all your swims with it though - still mix in non buoy laps regularly - you can get dependent on the buoy for buoyancy if you overuse it. If used properly though it is a very helpful tool.

IMO, this ^^^^ is very good advice. I just started using a buoy a couple of weeks ago and agree that this ^^^ is good information.

2013-04-18 8:50 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

There's definitely 2 camps of thought regarding the pull buoy one of which recommends it the other that says it is a crutch.

I can see the argument for using the pull buoy to focus on keeping that high elbow during your stroke and getting maximum pull, but the buoy also allows your core to relax and not work on keeping your legs upright so if you use it then there's definitely a balance to be struck.

 

Like was suggested before I'd second a posting of a couple videos of you swimming one from the front/back position and one from the side so more experienced swimmers can critique you (not me, but I have no doubt the BT community will provide some great insight).



2013-04-18 8:54 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

A guy in my tri club lap swims 100% with a pull buoy.  I asked why and he said it's like swimming with a wetsuit and most of the races he does is with a wetsuit.  I thought he was using it as a crutch.  I told him to swim without it expecting to see the legs sink.  They never did and he was moving pretty fast.

2013-04-18 9:19 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
GAUG3 - 2013-04-18 9:54 AM

A guy in my tri club lap swims 100% with a pull buoy.  I asked why and he said it's like swimming with a wetsuit and most of the races he does is with a wetsuit.  I thought he was using it as a crutch.  I told him to swim without it expecting to see the legs sink.  They never did and he was moving pretty fast.

The pull buoy allows you to get in a good swim position (high in the water, no sinking legs).  This is extremely helpful because eliminating drag is a huge part of swimming fast.  Once you swim enough with the pull buoy to know how you should be positioned in the water, the better you will swim without the pull buoy.

2013-04-18 10:31 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
I swim ~500 yards during my usual workout using a buoy.  It allows me to focus 100% of my effort and attention in my stroke, breathing, and smooth upper body rotation.  My times using a buoy are honestly not that much different than times without it except I have never really got the hang of flip turns with the buoy.
2013-04-18 11:35 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

I thought it was just me; when I use the buoy the swim feels like it does when I have my wetsuit on.  I don't practice w/ it 100% of the time, though (maybe 20%).

 

GAUG3 - 2013-04-18 8:54 AM

A guy in my tri club lap swims 100% with a pull buoy.  I asked why and he said it's like swimming with a wetsuit and most of the races he does is with a wetsuit.  I thought he was using it as a crutch.  I told him to swim without it expecting to see the legs sink.  They never did and he was moving pretty fast.

2013-04-18 12:02 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
funkj25 - 2013-04-18 3:50 PM

There's definitely 2 camps of thought regarding the pull buoy one of which recommends it the other that says it is a crutch.

Hmm. I think if you ask coaches and experienced swimmers there is really only one camp: Use it to address a specific problem but don't use it excessively, don't let it become a crutch. Same thing with any other swimming aid, kick board, paddles, fins, snorkel, whatever ...

My own rule of thumb is that 50% of the workout should be without any swimming aids, and preferably, when using swimming aids to address technique issues one should do a with/without set, the second set trying to incorporate the technique into your natural(no-aids) style.

BR



Edited by erik.norgaard 2013-04-18 12:05 PM


2013-04-18 3:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

I really appreciate all the tips and the info.  Based on what ya'll are saying I am going to really start working with the pull buoy.  Its makes alot of sense that the person who has the most trouble using a pull buoy is the one who needs it the most.  Maybe this will really help.  Thanks everyone!

2013-04-18 3:57 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

I confess, I am a pull buoy junkie! I used to be aprox. 8-10 secs faster per 100m with the buoy until I decided to pretty much quit cold turkey. Now I barely use it, since I know that I need to focus on getting the correct body position without it. 

I think the key is to relax your lower body, let the buoy do it's job and focus on your pull.

2013-04-21 11:41 AM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

I love a pull bouey, but then my kick is CRAP.  Not sure how I ever passed lifeguard training all those years. 

That said, you can fine tune your stroke with the bouey.  I spend years watching my college swim team practice from the stand and that alone dramatically improved my swimming.  when i finally realized my kick was crap I started using the bouey for most of my training.  it allows you to focus on good upper body technique--how your hands enter the water, where an how you pull through, breathing technique etc. without the energy expenditure of your legs. 

I hold the bouey just above my knees and now when I swim without I kick just enough to keep my legs afloat--that it. It takes some time to get used to, and you might want to have someone in the know look at what your doing and help to make some adjustments.

2013-04-21 3:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
Initially it felt awkward for me, but as I continue to use them, I realize that it doesn't feel awkward when I don't fight it, and let it correct my upper body positioning. Lo and behold, I'm actually faster with it! I realized that when I rotated my hip with my strokes, my lower body followed through without effort and I wasn't getting the resistance that made me feel imbalanced.

I did 300m with, then without for 1800m Saturday. I noticed the ones without at least started off feeling as effortless as with the PB, like my body remembered. It's been a revelation training with one.

Edited by Blanda 2013-04-21 3:57 PM
2013-04-21 6:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy
If you have been struggling with swimming for 2 1/2 years its time to get a swim coach. It will shorten the learning curve immensely. A pull buoy used appropriately is a great tool but doing drills incorrectly could be just  a waste of time. 


2013-04-21 7:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Question about pull bouy

In my experience, men tend to favor the pull buoy and women would rather do without it. 've always thought this was because women are more buoyant.

Also people who depend more on pull buoys tend to have a weaker kick.

Note there is no need to swim with a pull buoy. For example, using one in a triathlon will get you disqualified, and the Olympics don't have a medal for 50-free-with-pull-buoy.

I mention these things because I think some of the discussion has focused on how to be a better pull-buoy swimmer, when the goal is to be a better swimmer without one.

I don't think you need to swim fast with a pull buoy to be a good swimmer. If your times and your stroke are good, there's no no need to change things for an artificial device.

I say this, BTW, as a person who finds it easier to swim with one.

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