Reply To: Dry-land Training
Speaking of biomechanics, body type, and that sort of thing, I had a revelation the other night. I have been putting more of an emphasis on turns and underwaters this past season because that is a weakness for me. A couple of months ago I swam in a meet where there were 25’s and I noticed that one person that I was even with in a 25 breast, I was getting beat by over half a second in the 50 in the same meet. I got on and off the wall fast and my pullout felt fine so it didn’t really make sense why I was losing so much ground on the second 25 because I closed with good speed. If my pullout on the start is even why do I get destroyed on the pullout off the wall?
I think it’s not even the pullout it’s self, but the initial push power off the wall. A long time ago, when I used to lift, I had a horrible squat. It’s because of my body type. I have a longer femur which forces me to lean forward more to hold my center of gravity. You can read more about it here https://www.boxrox.com/how-femur-length-affects-squat-mechanics/ . Squats just don’t work for my body type and I hated them. It occurred to me at practice the other night that femur tibia ratio affects your posture as you push off of the wall. I have always struggled with this too, it doesn’t really feel natural. If you think of a flip turn like you are sitting in a chair on the wall, you don’t want your feet too far away from the plane of where your streamlined arms are pointed. The longer your femur is than your tibula, the further your feet are going to be away from that plane unless you get in some weird angle. If you try to get your feet in the same plane it will force your torso away from horizontal to the bottom. This will create a less powerful push off. I can only glide 10 meters off of the wall even in the tightest streamline possible but I think it has more to do with push off power than a bad streamline. I get on and off the wall quick, so clearly I am losing ground from 25-30. My scm vs lcm times in the 50 breast and fly are 30.92/31.19 and 25.91/25.92 so, clearly I am terrible off of the wall. The scm times should be faster.
I looked at a lot of pictures of elite swimmers who have a big discrepancy between sc and lc and pretty much all of the swimmers who are way better in lc vs sc all have longer femur and shorter tibias. People like Adam Peaty, Sarah Sjostrom, and some are really obvious like Missy Franklin. There are others too. I was watching Peaty’s sc 100 breast https://www.floswimming.com/video/6060634-watch-adam-peaty-cracks-100m-breast-euro-record-with-5594 and he just gets destroyed off of the walls. His start is bad too and a lot of people say it’s his streamline but I also think it has to do with the push power off of the wall. Due to the angles of his legs, he doesn’t get as much power as the other swimmers and you can see him losing ground immediately off the wall.
Swimmers with shorter femur to tibia ratio are better off of the walls. They talk all the time about Michael Phelps having a long torso and smaller legs all the time. It’s no so much the length but the ratio of the legs bones. You can be huge like Matt Grevers and have a normal ratio so I’m not saying the longer legs the worse it is.
I also think the femur to tibia ratio has a big impact on underwater fly kicks. All of the swimmers with freakish underwaters have a lower than avg femur to tibia ratio. For some reason, the angle of the legs seem to be more powerful with a shorter ratio. People like Phelps, Lochte, Dressle all have lower than avg and some seem to be on the extreme end like Shields and Hoffer. Ratios and angles make a difference. Two swimmers that are the same height and weight can have completely different body types.