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2013-05-24 10:20 AM

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Subject: swimming with bands--woah nelly

OK, so at the very well-intentioned suggestion of a fellow BTer, I tried swimming with my legs banded (used a bike tube) yesterday. 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I really should have enlisted someone to take video because I could have provided you all with some entertainment today.  FAIL!

So, to those of you who can swim well with legs banded--a little help?  My legs wold have been completely straight down except for the water pushing them back as I pulled my banded-legged L shaped body down the pool.  I did 4 x 25 and the 4th was as bad as the 1st. 

I feel like my core and erector spinae are engaged, but my legs are still sinky.  Even just "floating" I can't get them up.

What gives? Suggestions?



2013-05-24 11:08 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
I've been swimming with bands here and there for the last 18 months. My coach incorporates them into some of my swim sessions. The first 6 months with them were rough. It felt as if my legs were touching the bottom of the pool. Fast forward to now and I wear them and don't even notice they're on (other than the fact that my abs get a good, solid workout). The band forces you to use proper body positioning. Google Total Immersion's "pressing your buoy" for a little primer on balance. Keep at it and it will become natural.
2013-05-24 11:10 AM
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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Bands + pull buoy?
2013-05-24 11:28 AM
in reply to: tjh

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly

Originally posted by tjh Bands + pull buoy?

When I do it with the PB, no problem.  I don't kick at all when I have my beloved PB;)

2013-05-24 11:30 AM
in reply to: jarvy01

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly

Originally posted by jarvy01 I've been swimming with bands here and there for the last 18 months. My coach incorporates them into some of my swim sessions. The first 6 months with them were rough. It felt as if my legs were touching the bottom of the pool. Fast forward to now and I wear them and don't even notice they're on (other than the fact that my abs get a good, solid workout). The band forces you to use proper body positioning. Google Total Immersion's "pressing your buoy" for a little primer on balance. Keep at it and it will become natural.

Really??!  OK.  I'll keep at it. Thanks for the post.

2013-05-24 11:42 AM
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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
I never said that it would be easy!

Work at it slowly, 4x25 was a bit ambitious. Start by giving yourself a big push off the wall and feel the glide and the streamlined body position.

My "ah ha" moment with the band was feeling "the engagement of my hips". I can't explain it really well, but you need to feel like you're swimming with your body not just with your arms. It's a coordinated effort with your back, core, lats and hips. Sheila Taormina calls it the "Serape" effect. If you don't have a Masters team nearby, her "Swim Speed Workouts" is a great substitute.

Keep at it!


ETA - One awesome addition with the new and improved BT is the links to similar post down below. There's some good info down in those posts.

Edited by blbriley 2013-05-24 11:46 AM


2013-05-24 1:30 PM
in reply to: blbriley

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
It was better today. And guess what, it already feels like it's carrying over into my regular swimming--yay! And, the other "success" is that out of 3400scy I only did 2 x 200 w/ the PB. Thanks to all of you who have tough loved me off the PB. Much appreciated.
2013-05-24 1:50 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Switch, when you use the pool buoy, do you try it by your ankles? In my last group swim, we did a 200 pull (hips), 200 pull (knees) and 2x200 pulls (ankles). I really felt my core working with the buoy around the ankles...coach says that's how it's suppose to feel all the time...like you're swimming through a tube.

I'm going to try the bands...sounds like fun!

This guy does it pretty well...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpXgRyc6r1U&feature=player_embedded
2013-05-24 2:29 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
I don't know why this was recommended, IMO the band alone is not a training aid. The band alone will give you the experience you got. It's a training experience to teach you how important the core and kick is - well now you know.

It's extremely hard to get horizontal engaging core muscles alone without anything to hold on to. One thing you can try is to hold on to the wall while you try to lift up your legs without kicking, do this as a strength exercise and to learn what muscles to use.

I would recommend the band in combination with a pull buoy for the swimmer that can't stop kicking, even when using a pull buoy.
2013-05-24 3:53 PM
in reply to: JoelO

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly

Originally posted by JoelO Switch, when you use the pool buoy, do you try it by your ankles? In my last group swim, we did a 200 pull (hips), 200 pull (knees) and 2x200 pulls (ankles). I really felt my core working with the buoy around the ankles...coach says that's how it's suppose to feel all the time...like you're swimming through a tube. I'm going to try the bands...sounds like fun! :o This guy does it pretty well... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpXgRyc6r1U&feature=player_embed...

Hmm.  You know, I've always put it up high.  I've never tried by the knees or the ankles.  Jeez, just when I'm trying to break myself of it, you throw out an interesting drill with it.  Thanks a lot;)

In all seriousness, I'll try experimenting with that.  Good suggestion.

2013-05-24 4:03 PM
in reply to: erik.norgaard

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly

Originally posted by erik.norgaard I don't know why this was recommended, IMO the band alone is not a training aid. The band alone will give you the experience you got. It's a training experience to teach you how important the core and kick is - well now you know. It's extremely hard to get horizontal engaging core muscles alone without anything to hold on to. One thing you can try is to hold on to the wall while you try to lift up your legs without kicking, do this as a strength exercise and to learn what muscles to use. I would recommend the band in combination with a pull buoy for the swimmer that can't stop kicking, even when using a pull buoy.

Erik, this is all just a big plot for me to put out another swimming thing that you think is silly :) Lol!

The band w/ the PB is no problem.  It feels exactly the same as when I use the PB alone.

Actually, before posting this I did a search for swimming with bands, as I was sure that this would have been covered.  Nothing showed in the search, but, of course, after I posted, the handy new list of related searches popped up a few hits with similar questions.  It seems like a lot of people have tried/do this.  Just out of curiosity, what happens when you try swimming w/ the band alone?  Have you tried it? 

I taught pilates and yoga for many years, and feel like I have a very good handle on what my core muscles are and how to engage them, but I can't imagine ever swimming down the pool with my legs behind me like some of the videos I've seen.



2013-05-24 7:53 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Originally posted by switch

The band w/ the PB is no problem.  It feels exactly the same as when I use the PB alone.


Actually, before posting this I did a search for swimming with bands, as I was sure that this would have been covered.  Nothing showed in the search, but, of course, after I posted, the handy new list of related searches popped up a few hits with similar questions.  It seems like a lot of people have tried/do this.  Just out of curiosity, what happens when you try swimming w/ the band alone?  Have you tried it? 


I taught pilates and yoga for many years, and feel like I have a very good handle on what my core muscles are and how to engage them, but I can't imagine ever swimming down the pool with my legs behind me like some of the videos I've seen.




I tried it many years ago and I had the same experience as you. It's an eye opener to the importance of engaging the core in the swim and how much the kick helps. But it's not an exercise I feel a need to repeat.

The only case where I think the band can be useful is the kicktastic swim type in the swimsmooth terminology, the swimmer that kicks like mad and even with a pull buoy will keep kicking. She needs the legs pacified to focus on stroke and upper body rotation. But for anyone else I don't see much use of it. In fact, for beginner swimmers it can be dangerous.

In your case where your legs drop as soon as you leave the PB on the deck the band will not help you, only make everything more difficult. You might have strong core and can control it well when you do your yoga or pilates sessions, maybe in those sessions your focus is on the core. In swimming you have a lot to keep your mind busy, and sometimes things break apart because you're busy thinking about something else.

Some exercises to do:

Back stroke can actually help because you use the same muscle groups. In back stroke you need to get the chest up, to push the chest up you engage the back muscles, this will pull your lower body up and push your head a bit into the water, your kick should splash the water. I often see people swim backstroke with bent hips, the body sinks from the shoulders to the hips and while legs are horizontal, they are one feet under water.

You can hold on to the wall, face down (take a deep breath before!). Start upper body relaxed, and legs straight. Then use your lower back muscles to lift the legs. The further up they get the more up your back as well as abdomen get involved. You should be able to get your heels out the water. It's darn hard.

Next, good old kick sets. Get a kick board or use your pull buoy and kick, you should be splashing the water. It's slow, painfully slow, but this works as much for strengthening your kick as getting those legs up. This is really the exercise you can always go back to.

And then of course, dich the pull buoy. I recall you've said you use it 90% of the time. Well, to start alternate, 50 with, 50 without.

BR, Erik
2013-05-25 12:06 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly

I've had a decently strong core and had picked up things like pilates well awhile back. But just having the core engaged didn't mean that it was engaging how it should be. There is a ridiculous looking video floating around with things like rubber chickens and such as props, but it worked. I had to really pull the abdominal muscles inward (at least relative to whatever I had been doing) and also make it feel like my rear end was sticking way up in the air. Legs still dropped some, but I could keep them up enough to get down the pool.

Another thing it showed me was with the arm motion. Thought I was doing ok with not pushing down (especially before the catch), but this showed me otherwise. I had to adjust what I was doing before the catch as i actually was pushing downward some. Stroke also rate had to go up. And one more that might be a bit unique to me was to not try to extend so far with each reach.

2013-05-25 12:27 AM
in reply to: erik.norgaard

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Originally posted by erik.norgaard



I tried it many years ago and I had the same experience as you. It's an eye opener to the importance of engaging the core in the swim and how much the kick helps. But it's not an exercise I feel a need to repeat.

The only case where I think the band can be useful is the kicktastic swim type in the swimsmooth terminology, the swimmer that kicks like mad and even with a pull buoy will keep kicking. She needs the legs pacified to focus on stroke and upper body rotation. But for anyone else I don't see much use of it. In fact, for beginner swimmers it can be dangerous.

In your case where your legs drop as soon as you leave the PB on the deck the band will not help you, only make everything more difficult. You might have strong core and can control it well when you do your yoga or pilates sessions, maybe in those sessions your focus is on the core. In swimming you have a lot to keep your mind busy, and sometimes things break apart because you're busy thinking about something else.

Some exercises to do:

Back stroke can actually help because you use the same muscle groups. In back stroke you need to get the chest up, to push the chest up you engage the back muscles, this will pull your lower body up and push your head a bit into the water, your kick should splash the water. I often see people swim backstroke with bent hips, the body sinks from the shoulders to the hips and while legs are horizontal, they are one feet under water.

You can hold on to the wall, face down (take a deep breath before!). Start upper body relaxed, and legs straight. Then use your lower back muscles to lift the legs. The further up they get the more up your back as well as abdomen get involved. You should be able to get your heels out the water. It's darn hard.

Next, good old kick sets. Get a kick board or use your pull buoy and kick, you should be splashing the water. It's slow, painfully slow, but this works as much for strengthening your kick as getting those legs up. This is really the exercise you can always go back to.

And then of course, dich the pull buoy. I recall you've said you use it 90% of the time. Well, to start alternate, 50 with, 50 without.

BR, Erik


Just thought I'd say I've learned a lot of things to try from reading your posts, Erik. They all help in some way. Thanks for being willing to share your knowledge!

- Joel
2013-05-25 1:54 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Originally posted by switch

OK, so at the very well-intentioned suggestion of a fellow BTer, I tried swimming with my legs banded (used a bike tube) yesterday. 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I really should have enlisted someone to take video because I could have provided you all with some entertainment today.  FAIL!

So, to those of you who can swim well with legs banded--a little help?  My legs wold have been completely straight down except for the water pushing them back as I pulled my banded-legged L shaped body down the pool.  I did 4 x 25 and the 4th was as bad as the 1st. 

I feel like my core and erector spinae are engaged, but my legs are still sinky.  Even just "floating" I can't get them up.

What gives? Suggestions?

Mostly when we use a band in our squad we also use a pull buoy. 

However on occasion we will do just a band.  You have to really work your core.  So for me head down pushes bum up.  And you have to sprint really work your upper body to get some momentum.  First time I tried 25m when we'd been asked for 8x25 I just sank.

By lap 3 I'd got the gist and once you do it's fine.  Keep at it.  It's a very useful drill.

2013-05-25 4:23 AM
in reply to: erik.norgaard

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Originally posted by erik.norgaard
Next, good old kick sets. Get a kick board or use your pull buoy and kick, you should be splashing the water. It's slow, painfully slow, but this works as much for strengthening your kick as getting those legs up. This is really the exercise you can always go back to.


One important thing I forgot there: You should kick with straight legs, imagine standing up on your toes to reach for something, that's how your legs should be straight, stretching in the ankles and almost locking the knees.

Legs should be straight, because that's how you should kick, your entire leg do the kick not just the feet. Second because you can easily splash the water bending your knees while hips still drop, and get the illusion you're making progress... With straight legs you'll only be splashing water if your hip is up and body horizontal.

Using a kick board, many rest their arms on the board which keeps the head out of the water, with that extra buoyancy it becomes difficult to get horizontal. Just hold the kick board in your hands with your arms stretched in front of you, lift your head to breath in, and breath out in the water. You can use a kids size kick board (about half the size of an adult kick board) or a pull buoy for less buoyancy, or just do stream line, to begin with use a kick board.

I prefer a kids kick board which allows me to do flip turns


2013-05-25 8:49 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
My swim team made us thread a 2.5 or 5 lb weight on the band...
2013-05-25 9:01 AM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
I fairly frequently have 6x100 with bands and paddles in my workouts to warm up from my coach. She's a former pro and an NCAA All-American Swimmer so I tend not to question her swim workouts. That being said the goal of band + paddles is to focus on the front quadrant of your swim stroke while focusing on really engaging that core to keep your legs up. The paddles give you a little extra momentum so you aren't just dragging a weight through the water, but personally I think it's been a fairly effective technique to get rid of lazy legs, engage the core and reign in the kick to a nice little circle.

Using the pull buoy with the band is essentially pointless if your goal is to engage the core. As an aside, my coach bans the pull buoy as a method to cheat yourself from engaging the core and we use the bands essentially in lieu of a pull buoy.
2013-05-25 10:43 AM
in reply to: funkj25

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly

Originally posted by funkj25 I fairly frequently have 6x100 with bands and paddles in my workouts to warm up from my coach. She's a former pro and an NCAA All-American Swimmer so I tend not to question her swim workouts. That being said the goal of band + paddles is to focus on the front quadrant of your swim stroke while focusing on really engaging that core to keep your legs up. The paddles give you a little extra momentum so you aren't just dragging a weight through the water, but personally I think it's been a fairly effective technique to get rid of lazy legs, engage the core and reign in the kick to a nice little circle. Using the pull buoy with the band is essentially pointless if your goal is to engage the core. As an aside, my coach bans the pull buoy as a method to cheat yourself from engaging the core and we use the bands essentially in lieu of a pull buoy.

So, do you have your bands lose enough that you can still kick a little?  If I could kick a little that would make a huge difference.  I made it tight enough that I couldn't flutter at all.

I'll try band + paddles.  Thanks for that.

2013-05-25 12:04 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: swimming with bands--woah nelly
Well, the point of the band is so that you *don't* kick. It doesn't have to be like your feet are encased in cement, but you really don't want them to separate and move around. You're trying to learn how to balance *without* needing that. I use a Finis band that's ~10" long when laid flat, just making a figure 8 so my feet will stay in and then start swimming.
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