Good morning everyone. We are happy that you are up and adamant, and excited to learn a lesson and find new ideas for your programmes and for yourselves. And of course everyone of these talks that you go to there’s always something to be gained, and many times you end up with sheets and sheets of ideas and thoughts to take back to your own clubs and schools. And that’s what makes going to the clinics or convention really sort of fun and enjoyable. And our athletes hate it, right? We come back with these things and new ideas that we’re going to do, and of course there are learning labs, right? There are a learning lab and we sort of live through them and we try all these new crazy things on them. But this is one that you’re going really to love, and we’re really blessed to have Ian with us.
Ian, he worked with a couple of swimming teams. He has worked with the University of Virginia and with Arizona State as an athletic trainer—so he’s a certified athletic trainer. He’s also a physician’s assistant. He’s currently working at the university sports medicine centre in Phoenix, Arizona, and living in Phoenix. He’s also been really busy working with USA Swimming. He’s worked with the National Team program and Coach Schubert, and he was on the 2008 Olympic team, as a part of the group that went over to Beijing.
And it really has sort of taken his art, his experience, to the next level. And including done a book, that I think is very good, and John Leonard said that he thinks that its one of those books that he really believes has changed his coaching. What he does is basically talks about anatomy, and the different muscle groups that you use in the different strokes, in the different actions that you use in the sport of swimming. So, very specific to what we do on a daily basis; you know, is this a butterfly muscle group or a breaststroke muscle group and so on. You might want to take a look at it; it’s very good and I think many things could be learned. Anyway, hope you have a great day, hope you have a great week and I hope you’re doing well. And please join me in introducing and welcoming Ian McLeod.
Alright, does it sound like I have the mike in a good position? Okay, alright. I know I turn my head sometimes, I may give you a headache, you may lose me, so just give me a heads up if you can’t hear me in the back, alright? So if you look at the schedule you see that this is broken up into two separate presentations. Swimming anatomy one today and then swimming anatomy two tomorrow. So really today the focus is going to be more on muscle anatomy involved with the four major strokes and then tomorrow really try and make the connection between certain exercises, stroke mechanics and how to really go through and try and target muscle groups as they pertain to trying to improve performance in the water with swimmers. So just a couple of quick disclosures, just to be upfront, as he mentioned I am affiliated with USA Swimming, as the member of the Sports Medicine and Science network and also as a member of the Sports Medicine and Science community. And I’m the author of Swimming Anatomy. So, why swimming anatomy? Really the drive for this is because of the very borne anatomy background a lot of coaches.
Some of you who are here may have heard anatomy when you went through college, you may have slept through anatomy when you went through college, your first experience with anatomy had been like mine. To be upfront, my first anatomy class that I took when I got my undergraduate degree, I got a C. I’ve improved since then, but it’s a challenging area to go through and just kind of grasp. So for those of you that have had anatomy before hopefully this will go through and start to kind of be a refresher course, but then for those of you that have not had anatomy, hopefully it can go through and help you start to kind of bridge the connection of saying to yourself, “Okay, what muscle groups are active during specific motions?” So like I said, today we’ll go through discuss basic muscular anatomy, then we’ll go through and describe the recruitment patents of major muscles involved in each of the four competitive strokes. So when we talk about how muscles go through and function, really there are two primary actions. Number one; we always think of the propulsion or the movement of a body segment. So a good example, this is latissimus dorsi of the lats moving the arm during the pulling phase. But muscles also go through and they have a stabilising role in the stabilisation of the core abdominal muscular chair, almost and constantly while we’re going through is swimming as a good example there. But then also stabilisation of the shoulder blade is another important area. So, the way I decided to go through and break this down is, we’re going to touch upon the anatomy by breaking into four different areas: the shoulder girdle, the arms, the core abdomen and back and then the legs.
So we’ll discuss the general anatomy in the area and then we’ll go through and we’ll talk about specific muscles and recruitment patterns in relation to the four different strokes. So I didn’t want to do is, hammer you guys with a half hour of anatomy and lose you and then try and bring you back in the second half. So hopefully I’ll be able to keep you going with me. I know it’s that presentation slot at the end of the morning right before lunch, so that’s always a tough one. So just talking about general anatomy through the shoulder girdle we have the sternum or the breast bone, the clavicle collar bone, the scapula, the shoulder blade and then the long bone that makes up the arm, the humerus. And basic joint anatomy that we see is, through here we have the sternoclavicular joint, coming out to join into the shoulder is the acromioclavicular joint or the AC joint and then the shoulder itself is called the glenohumeral joint. Now what’s unique about the shoulder is it the most mobile joint in the entire body. And that’s demonstrated by our ability to take our hand and put it anywhere on our field division and then even out of our field division. And that takes place because of the combination of movements not only at the ball and socket portion, but then also because of shoulder blade movements that can occur.
So basic movements that we see, flexion is lifting your arm forward, like you’re raising your hand in class, extension is bringing the arm down and taking it backwards, abduction is as if you’re doing a jumping jack, adduction is bring your arm down to the side, and then internal rotation is bringing your hand into the belly and then external rotation is taking the hand outwards, okay? And for those of you that are sitting there going through and trying to write things down like crazy, I did give my email address at the start and then also I’ll be available at the end. I’m comfortable going through and emailing slides and information to you. So don’t feel like you need to jot every single thing down. So when we talk about the shoulder girdle, it’s easiest to classify the muscles in four different groups because there are a fair number of them. And this is how I’ve gone through and found that it’s easy if we just break them down, starting off with the shoulder blades pivoters, the protectors, the positioners and the propellers. So moving right in, when we talk about the scapula or the shoulder blade pivoters, probably the one that we’re most familiar with is going to be the trapezius. And we see that here on the left side of the screen. It’s the large fin-like muscle that just comes down and through this area.
Now the trapezius can actually be broken down into three different sections, an upper portion which is more responsible for lifting, elevating the shoulder blade, a middle portion which is more responsible for retracting and pulling the shoulder blade back, and then the lower portion which really assists in taking your shoulder blade and pulling it down and back like this. Now if we were to go through and if we were to take the trapezius away and see what’s underneath it, the next muscle group you’ll go through and you’ll see here is going to be the rhomboids through here. And the rhomboids are one of the key muscles that’s really important in helping to retract or pull the shoulder blades back in towards our mid-line. Now what we don’t see here on this picture, are going to be the serratus anterior, which is going to be the long fin-like muscle that comes through here with the finger-like projection. So when you see someone that’s pretty well muscularly defined, their arms are up over their head and that muscle that kind of bulges outwards, those are the projections of the serratus anterior.
Now if we look at the function of the serratus anterior, it detaches here, comes around to attach in the back part of our shoulder blade. What that does is if this is the back chest wall and this is the shoulder blade, the serratus anterior is responsible for holding that scapular shoulder blade in tight against the chest wall. If you have some of your swimmers and you watch them doing dry land activities, behind them you see one shoulder blade does what we call wing. It comes outwards that indicates that there is weakness to the serratus anterior. It’s not holding that shoulder blade back against that chest wall. Pectoralis minor which is a smaller muscle underneath the pack major that we see over through here, it really functions to help stabilise the front part of the shoulder blade and then assist in a little bit of depression.
And so when we talk about movements of the shoulder blade, there’s a combination that occurs. There is elevation which is shrugging your shoulders upwards, depression which is where we drop our shoulders down, protraction is if I try and go forward and then retraction is pinching backwards. Now, what the important movements are is the combination of these. And primarily from a swimming stand point we’re really interested in upward rotation. So its when that shoulder blade upwardly rotates that allows our swimmers to go through and get that extended position when they are swimming and try and reach far out into the water. In order to be able to go through and do that, we need to have proper upward rotation of the shoulder blade while they’re trying to elongate their stroke., Now downward rotation is going to be the reverse. So for here and as we start to come down and the shoulder blade’s dropping back down, that’s downward rotation. So to go through, a good way to really get a good understanding of how important the scapula pivoters are in that shoulder blade movement is in how we move our arm over our head. Just when you get an opportunity, just like they are demonstrating right here, if you’re just kind of create your hands like a triangular position over the shoulder blade and just have someone go through an overhead movement pattern, and really feel how that shoulder blade moves upwards. Another thing you can go through and do is, if you take your arm and put it in your armpit and hold that shoulder blade in and you have someone try and lift their arm up to the side, they’ll get to about 60 degrees before they can’t move any further because of isolating that movement at the shoulder blade.
Another key function of the shoulder blade or the scapula pivoters is scapular stabilization. So with swimmers when they are getting that hand entry into the water and they are really elongated, their shoulder blade is rotated all the way upwards and they’re essentially in a position of vulnerability, just because of how far or how extended they are. So it’s really important that we have a strong basis support, supporting that or stabilizing that shoulder blade, so when they go through and they go from hand entry to initiating the pull, now pec major and they’ll actually start the fire in, they have a strong foundational support in the form of that shoulder blade being nice and stable so we don’t lose energy.
Now, just continuing on, so those were the scapular pivoters, next it’s going to be the scapular protractors and commonly we refer, or that shoulder protractors, commonly referred to as the rotator cuff muscles. As the name implies, their primary function is they go through and they rotate. So you have one in front, called the subscapularis, which is right through here. That is involved in internal rotation and then the other two in the back, the infraspinatus and teres major, they go through and they externally rotate, the one up top, the supraspinatus, right in through here, that’s involved when we go through and first try and lift our arm up. It helps to guide that motion as we go to do an overhead movement. So the two primary functions of the shoulder protractors or the rotator cuff, when we talk about the anatomy of the shoulder joint, we talked about how it’s so mobile and we can move it all over the place, one of the reasons it’s so mobile is because it doesn’t have a lot of what we call structural stability to it. A lot of times the analogy of the shoulder joint is that it’s like a golf ball that’s sitting there on a golf tee, so just a little bit can almost topple it over its edge.
So what we see here is, this is just a demonstration, if this is the front part of the shoulder, this would be the subscapularis muscle. If this is the back part, this would be the teres major and the infraspinatus. And this is how they get their ‘cuff’. So what they do is if this is the ball portion, they contract dynamically to hold that cuff and keep it centred on the joint. So that’s important as we are going through different motions to keep that golf ball from rolling off the tee, is the rotator cuff muscles are constantly adapting to keep that stabilized in the centre of the joint. And then because of the rotational movements that occur, so being external rotation and internal rotation, the rotator cuff muscles are also important when we go through our recovery phase with the major strokes.
Next muscle, the humeral positioners. So this is the deltoid which is actually divided into three different groups. You have the intra group through here, a middle group and then a posterior group and when we look at each of these different positions they’ll go through and they’ll do three or separate movements. So the deltoids, the intra portion will flex and then also internally rotate. The middle portion will abduct so lift our arm up to the side and then the posterior, will go through an extent and externally rotate. So when we look at the deltoid, it does rotate internally and externally. So because of that, particularly from an internal rotation standpoint, it is a contributor to the internal rotation that helps propel swimmers through the water but then also it’s really important during the recovery phases, and we’ll talk about that a little bit further.
Now, finally the humeral propellers, these are going to be basically the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. Their primary function is to go through and produce force or force generation at the shoulder girdle. So when we look at the pectoralis major, which is demonstrated right here from an anonymous standpoint, it’s typically divided into two different portions; a clavicular portion which is the top half and then the sternal portion which is the lower half in through here. And as we talk about the activity of the pectoralis major, when the arm is in an overhead elongated position, typically what we go through and see is that, it’s more of the clavicular portion that’s going to be responsible for pulling the arm downwards. As we bring the lower down, we transition from that clavicular portion to more of that sternal portion of the pectoralis major. And functions that we see for the pectoralis major is that, in the arm in and overhead position, it brings down to the side and then it also goes through and it does the motion of horizontal adduction, so brings across the body and then it’s a strong internal rotator at the shoulder girdle.
Now, next is going to be the latissimus dorsi which is by far the primary force generator when we talk about moving athletes or moving swimmers through the water. It’s a large, thin, or triangular-shaped muscle and from an anonymous standpoint, what’s important to understand that it starts here and then comes up through the interior front part of the shoulder to attach right through here. So, when we talk a lot about that slump rounded shoulder, swimmer’s posture, one of the reasons we see that is because of that large lat muscle comes up and attaches here. It’s overdeveloped and tight. It kind of pulls them down and rolls their shoulders inwards. Primary functions that we see with the latissimus dorsi is, it will go through an adduct. So it will bring the arm down to its side and then also it’s a powerful extender, so it brings the arm all the way down in this position and then will also internally rotate at the shoulder joints.
Now, what’s important to understand with the latissimus dorsi is if you go through and if you look here, it comes down and it didn’t show up the greater stand and the screen through there. This area through here is what we call the thoracolumbar fascia, which is kind of a broadened area; fascia tissue or thick tissue, down through kind of the lumbar, the low back and the sacral region. And what’s important with that is that, when we talk about the core-stabilizing muscles, you’ll see that they come around and they attach and meld into where that thoracolumbar fascia is. So basically, we’ll talk about how core muscles help to transfer force from the upper extremity down to lower extremity and one of the key ways in which this is done is through how that latissimus dorsi goes through that thoracolumbar fascia and essentially connects into those core abdominal muscles.
So, when we go through and when we talk about shoulder girdle activity, we kind of group together freestyle, breath or backstroke and fly. So initially we’ve talked that upon firsthand entry, we want to really try and have that shoulder blade or scapular in an upwardly rotated position. The key to doing that is having those scapular rotators rotating upwards but then also being strong, so they are stabilizing that shoulder blade with hand entry. And then initially what we first see is that hand entry and initiating that first portion of the catch. Primarily what’s firing is going to be the clavicular, so that upper portion of that pectoralis major and then as that initiates that catch and goes into the pulling phase, we are going to go through and see that the latissimus dorsi quickly joins in to generate force at the shoulder joint.
Now, where it’s a little different is with backstrokers, depended upon how deep their initial catch is they may rely less upon the pec major. So if you have a backstroker that really catches deep down in then they are going to rely less on the pecs and more on the lats versus one that’s more shallow, they are going to kind of probably be and even split on how much they activate their pec major and the latissimus dorsi. So when we go from initial entry to mid pull, we transition from that clavicular portion. As we are coming down more of that external portion to the pec major starts to take over and we see that basically we transition from pec major initiating movements so lats joining in. The more we move downwards, the latissimus dorsi starts to become more active with how much it serves as a force contributor. And then deltoid and rotator cuff, they do perform some internal rotational movement, but they’re only minor contributors to kind of the force that is created during those rotational movements. And then when we go from kind of mid pull, basically once our shoulder gets below what we would consider to be a horizontal position, the pec major really isn’t that much of a contributor anymore and the final portion, the pull phase is going to be dominated by the laps as we bring our arms downward.
So recovery phase, and this is just demonstrating backstroke recovery, this is where the deltoid and the rotator cuff are going to be extremely important. So in this case, when we hit recovery and we need to bring the arms out of the water and go from this position of extension to bringing them round up front, we want a good degree or we want to have good scapular retraction to pull the shoulder blades back and then the deltoid is going to be assisting to bring the arms forward from a recovery standpoint. So it’s really important that we have good retraction with the fly and then when we talk about recovery and include a picture for freestyle, but with recovery for freestyle, we’ll see that there is a body rule that assists with the recovery process. So initially when hand comes out of the water it’s going to be more posterior delt, but then as we start to transition forward, we go from posterior delt to middle delt and then as we bring the arm forward then that’s going to be more of an anterior deltoid bringing it forward like that. And it’s going to be the opposite for backstroke. So initially you’re going to go through and you’ll see its anterior deltoid coming forward, transitioning to middle and then to posterior deltoid. So with shoulder girdle activity in the breaststroke, it’s a little bit of a different pattern.
So initially again, the focus on having good upward rotation of the shoulder blade, so we can have an elongated stroke, the pec major again the clavicular portion is going to the initiate the pulling phase with the lats quickly joining in, but then what we see is that the pec major and lats function to start to pull the arms down from a position here, starting to come into more of a mid line position. And with this we’re going to have forward movement in the water but then also upward movement of the torso. So if this would be a picture from straight on what we’re seeing from the side, is that the lats and the pec major are not only helping to move the swimmer move forward in the water, but starting to help bring them out of the water. And then from a recovery standpoint, what we’ll see is that the pec major is really what is going to help to transition from this position to bringing the arms into midline. And then from here, the anterior deltoid is going to go through and help to do forward flexion to bring the arms out to help initiate again the pulling phase. And as we go through this movement pattern, the rotator cuff as it helps to rotate the shoulder; it’s going to be important from a rotational standpoint but then also a cuff stabilization standpoint.
And then I forgot to mention that as we go through that recovery and we’re bringing the arms forward, that anterior deltoid is really what helps brings the arms forward with preparing again for next phase of the breaststroke pull. Okay, now transitioning over, just to talk about general anatomy with the arms, basic skeletal anatomy through here is we see that we have long bone of the upper arm, the humerus and then coming through here we have the ulna and then the radius through here. There are a couple of major joints at the elbow. The biggest one, the hinge joint, that we mainly see is going to be the humour ulna joint. So where the humerus and the ulna come down through here, we see that there is a joint between the humerus and radius and the radial ulna joint. But it’s really at this joint right here where most of the movements, meaning the extension and flexional movements, occur.
So basic movements, just the slide demonstrates right here, extension is straightening out, flexion is curling in and then supination is we turn the pumps upwards and pronation is when we roll downwards. So, primary muscles that we are going to look at from an elbow flexor standpoint, the biceps brachii. If we look deep to the biceps brachii, you have underneath it a muscle called the brachialis and then there is a longer muscle through here called the brachioradialis. Primarily, it’s the biceps brachii and the brachialis which are really the main elbow flexors. The brachioradialis goes through and it’s more of an assister in the motion. I tell people that brachioradialis mainly functions as the beverage dinking muscle, as it goes through that motion. A lot of times what people overlook with the biceps brachii is, when we talk about with breaststrokers, and we go from this position to bringing the palm inward like this, so that supination motion, the biceps brachii is that primary muscle that helps to supinate to bring that palm inwards.
So when we look at how the biceps muscles or the elbow flexors go through and function from a swimming standpoint, really there’re rules to go through and maintain elbow position during the pulling phase. So as we go through and whatever the swimmers’ technique is, when they get that initial elbow positioning, it’s the biceps brachii or the elbow flexors that are helping to hold that position as they go through the remainder of their stroke. And then when we go through from a recovery standpoint, they’re assisting into…as we roll out of the water and we need to get a certain degree of elbow flexion, that’s what the elbow flexors, the biceps or the brachii muscles are doing. Now when we look at the triceps extensors, the main one that we’re all familiar with is going to be the triceps brachii. Triceps because it has three separate heads, through here, primary function at the elbows it really drives the extension component. Now there’s a smaller muscle that is called the anconeus, which is just tucked in right through here and that really just helps with that last end stage of extension. Really not much of a contributor for me, overall force generation standpoints. So if the triceps, their primary role is going to be elbow extension during the propulsive phase and then also elbow extension during the recovery phase.
So arm activity with freestyle backstroke and fly; so as we have initial hand entry and we go from a position of full extension to anywhere from thirty to ninety degrees of elbow flexion and I kind of give that range because, with backstrokers obviously when they come down we are going to have a larger degree of elbow flexion and then with freestylers depending upon what technique the coach likes to go through and coach and then the technique that the swimmers likes there can be that varying degree and with more of some people swimming straight arm strokes we may even see less than thirty degrees. But really what’s happening is as you’re moving through the water, the elbow flexors are helping to contract and really maintain that elbow position. And the primary ones that are doing that are going to be the biceps brachii and the brachialis. So when we move from mid pull to final pull, the triceps brachii is going to driving extension at the elbow, so as we start to get down here, we are going to start to see more of an extension component at the elbow and that’s really been brought about by the triceps brachii. Now the overall contribution to force generation depends upon where the pull phase is terminated. So you know way back when remember where everyone was teaching where you go through and you really emphasize for free style, that push where you elongate the triceps or push all the way through, some people are going through and starting to recommend more of a starting the recovery process when the hand hits the hips. So we are not seeing as much force generation because we are not seeing full elbow extension.
Now when we go mid pull to final pull with backstroke, we do see that there is more of that full elbow extension component, so we see a lot of force generation from the triceps as being an active muscle at that time frame. So when we talk about arm activity and the recovery, so initially when we are first rolling, we’re starting that recovery process, we are going to go into a position of elbow flexion, biceps and brachial. So initially going to go through and position the elbow in that area flexion, but then as they start to move forward and we’re getting ready to come forward in canned entry, it’s going to be the triceps that will activate and go out into that extended position. And then with back and fly, since it’s more of a straight arm, as we come all the way through, triceps is going to get through and really help to maintain that extended position at the elbow.
So looking at activity at the arm and breaststroke, we see from initial hand entry, to the out-sweep portion, triceps is really firing to maintain a near extension of the elbow. And then as we transition from the out-sweep to the in-sweep and we bringing the arms more into the mid line, we’re going to see that the elbow flexors activate to bring the elbow into that flex position. Again the primary elbow flexors are going to be the brachialis and the biceps brachii. And then when we get into this mid line position and they have to drive out to get ready or going through the recovery process to get ready for the next pull phase, the triceps will go through and with the inter-deltoid, really drive the straightening of the arms. And this is just an example from this position to fully extending; we’ll see that the triceps are really active.
From a core standpoint, when we talk about the core for discussion purposes today, the basic skeletal anatomy is going to be the vertebral column, then the ribs as they come through and then the pelvis. General muscular anatomy we see, I think everyone thinks of the core and they look at the six pack, but we see that’s actually four abdominal muscles groups and then back at the a erector spinae muscle group. And when we talk about core function, the primary function is going to be stabilization but then also they participate in producing certain trunk movements and then there is the energy transfer component when we talked about how that thoracolumbar fascia ties into the lats which can help transfer energy either diagonally through this way, down through the legs or diagonally through the back from the lats down into the legs. So the best or the easiest way to go through and discuss or define or describe the core is, when we look at the abdominal wall, there are three different layers.
You have the superficial layer, intermediate layer and the deep layer. So with the superficial layer, that muscle group is going to be the externally oblique. As the name implies, oblique the fibres run diagonally through here and the way I always go through and remember this is, starting off with external oblique, the fibres run in the way as if I was taking my hand and putting my fingers into my pocket. So that’s going to be the external oblique. And if you think of muscle fibres that run in this direction, if they contract on this side, so right sided contraction will pull me down like this or actually lead to left trunk rotation. So if I come through here and I pull down, that’s what the external obliques are doing. And then bilateral contraction, so if they both contract at the same time that will lead to some trunk flexion movement. Now the internal obliques, they’re going crisscross. So if external obliques come this way, internal obliques come this way and it’s the next deeper layer. When these contract, so internal obliques on this side contract, they’ll actually rotate me to the same side. Alright, so really what’s happening is if you put those two together, if I’m on my right side and my external obliques contract and my internal obliques contract on this side, that’s what will go through and drive a rotational, so external obliques here, internal obliques that will cause rotational movements this way.
And then deeper down in, is going to be the transversus abdominis which is the deepest of those three muscle layers. And this is the one that is commonly overlooked, alright? The reason being is the transversus abdominis, its function is more of a corset function. If you look at how the fibres come, they come directly around, like this, and if they tighten, it’s if you think of an old fashion corset tightening. And through here, and it’s really the transversus abdominis muscle fibres that are the foundation of core stability and core strength. And then the one that people are always concerned and want to look at the mirror and see is going to be the rectus abdominis or the six pack muscle that comes down through here. Primary function of the rectus abdominis is when both sides fire. That’s what really going to help curl us forward and then if we go through, if we just have one side fired that will be more of a rotational, or sideline or a side bending movement. So this is just an illustration of kind of what I put together with how all those different muscle fibres are going.
And then when we look at the, erector spinae, basically this is a series of muscles that are separated into three different columns. And what they do is they piggy back along each other as they move up through the spine. They start low and one level may come from here to here and the next level starts and so they are overlapping as they move up through the spine. Movements that the erector spinae will go through and do is, one sided contraction will lead to basically lateral flexion and rotation to the same side and then bilaterally they will go through and they’ll extend the spine or the trunk. So, when we go through and we look at how these muscles function…now we’re looking at free style and backstroke, the obliques are really going to be important from that body roll component. So remember external oblique and internal oblique on opposite sides fire at the same time to lead to a rotational component. But the key thing is when we talk about how they’re set up; there is a diagonal pattern where we can have force transfers through pecs and lats that come down through. And that’s where we want to make sure that we are not trying to strengthen the obliques and the abdominal muscles from a rotational flexion standpoint, but also from a core strengthening stabilization standpoint, so we can be efficient in transferring energy that’s produced in the arms and taking it down through the hips.
Now in this position, you know the rectus abdominis or rectus and transversus abdominis and the erector spinae, these are the muscle groups that are going to be important for really holding kind of a streamline or flat body position in the water. So when you’re seeing people where their hips dropping usually the area of weakness is that the rectus and transversus as well as the erector spinae aren’t holding a good body position. Now with the undulating motion that we see with the movements for both butterfly and breaststroke, we’ll see that when they’re initially coming out of the water, it’s going to be the erector spinae that helps to elevate the torso and the arms out of the water. So that’s going to be bringing out of the water and then we’ll see that there’s a quick reversal soon as we’re extended out of the water, then we’ll see a reversal and it’s going to be the abdominals that go through and contract to prepare the body for re-entry into the water to prepare for the propulsive phase of the strokes. And then obviously we see that these abdominal muscles are going to be important from a turn standpoint. When you’re first going into the water with a freestyle turn, that initial rolling forward of the trunk is going to be first activated by the upper portion of the rectus abdominis. So as you start to roll forward and then as we roll further in, the remainder of the abdominis muscles will become more active to get that full flip effect. And then with your open turns, this is where the oblique muscles really trying to drive rotation of the body are going to be really important.
So this is just my opportunity to go through and check and see how far I am into this. Some of the mails in here are going through and saying “Ian why did you go through…and for females in the room not to discuss you, this is the top part of a urinal.” The significance of this is this is a picture that I took over in Beijing and I was just happy to see that they had something that said it was made in America actually over in China. So…and they were pretty obsessive about it. They went through and they put stickers on all of these. I just saw one, one day when it was wiped off. Now moving in, just to talk about legs, so general anatomy as we go through here, obviously we have the pelvis going down through the long bone of the thigh; it’s going to be the femur. And then tibia is going to be the main shin bone. The fibula is the smaller bone on the outside and then the talus is the main ankle bone that fits in and I tell people that the ankle joint is like an upside down U where the talus fits in through there. So, obviously joints, we have the hip joint, the tibiofemoral joint which is going to be the knee joint. And then the talocrural joint down through here which is the ankle. So I couldn’t go through and come up, like I couldn’t find a picture that described basic movements, but when we talk about movements at the leg we’ll see that number one hip flexion is where we come forward, extension is the opposite coming backwards. Abduction is going to be coming out to the side and adduction is coming back into the mid-line.
Two other movements are going to be external rotation. So if I demonstrate here, if I rotate my toes out, that’s external rotation and then coming in it’s going to be internal rotation. Where people get a little confused at times is, if you bend the knee, so if I’m here this is internal rotation but as I bend the knee, it seems like the hips or the ankles’ going outwards. Sometimes people let them get mixed up with that and think this is actually external hip rotation, when it’s we’re internally rotating the hip, even though the foot and ankle are rotating outwards. So, again, kind of like the shoulder girdle, large group of muscles so for discussion purposes going to break them down into inter-medial gluteal and posture portions. So, when we look from a standpoint or right through here, this is going to be our adductor group that we’ll talk a little bit more in detail. This is going to be our inter-group through here and then the gluteal group up on top and then the posture group which are going to be the hamstrings.
So, when we talk about the intergroup, probably the one that is most involved from a hip flexion stand point is going to be a muscle called the iliopsoas and it has two portions. You have psoas major portion and then the iliacus portion, in through here. This is the muscle that if you’ve ever had to experience back pain, then you sit down for a while and then when you go up to stand up, you kind of have to do the whole pressing thing, where you have to push your hips forward. It’s that iliopsoas muscle that goes into spasm when we’re sitting in a flex position for a period of time. Then when we look down the main muscle of the inter thigh is going to be the quadriceps group, which is actually divided to four different groups; the lateralis, medialis and intermedius. The key thing is the bottom one the rectus femoris, crosses not only the hip joint but the knee joint. The vastus muscles only come from thigh, down and front part of the knee. So what that means is rectus femoris can do both hip flexion and knee extension while the vastus muscles just do straight knee extension.
A smaller muscle that’s often overlooked in the front part of the thigh, right in through here called the TFL, and we see it running down and through this area. This is one that is particularly important from a breaststroke standpoint, because it’s involved in going through and flexing the hip, but then also it helps to internally rotate. So as we’re getting ready for that propulsive phase and getting into that position for breaststroke kick, that’s one of the muscles that really helps contribute to that movement pattern. And then this long one through here called the sartorius, this is the muscle that really does the motion where, if you’re trying to bring your heel, if you’re seated and rested up here that’s what that sartorius muscle does. So with this anterior group, primary movements that [Indiscernible] [0:43:23] trying to do from a swimming standpoint, are going to be hip flexion and knee extension. So when we talk about hip flexion, they’re going to help generate force from a kicking standpoint, by flexing the hip and extending the knee. But then they are also important with forced generation off the turn walls and the starts. And then they aid in hip and trunk flexion, as we go into our terms. The medio group also along the inner part of the thigh, it’s the adductor muscle group, divided into three different kind or three different small muscles, and so that’s magnus, longus, and brevis. As the name implies those are adductors they bring in the midline.
There’s another one called the pectineus, which is higher up through here and then finally the gracilis through here. The primary function of all these muscles is the adduction component, so where they bring the legs together which is really going to be the driving force during the propulsive phase of your breaststroke kick. So from a gluteal standpoint, so the gluteal muscle group through here obviously, you have the gluteus maximus which is going to be the largest and then if we take away the gluteus maximus and look deeper to it, you’ll have the medius and then the minimus through here. Glut-medius is one that…a lot of times if you watch someone do a single-leg activity, and they go to squat down and they kind of roll outwards like this, powering muscle of weakness with that is actually going to be the glut-medius because it’s not tight holding them in a straight position like this. And then deep to all of these, is going to be a group of sixty rotators which function very similar to the rotator cuff muscles at the shoulder. They really go through and help to stabilize the hip joint itself. So movements that take place with these tuff and hip muscles, gluteus maximus is really going drive, extension at the hip joint. The medius and the minimus are going to be abductors. So they’ll abduct, so take away and then internally rotate and then the deep rotators they will take and externally rotate in this position, but really their main roles is to help stabilize the hip joint. So when we talk about gluteus maximus and hip extension, it’s really going to be beneficial in helping to produce forced generation off of turn walls. So as we really trying too extend those hips, the glut-minit, medius and minimus, are going to help with internally rotating the hip preparing for breaststroke kick and then the deep rotators are going to help stabilize the hip.
Now going through looking at the legs from the posterior group, this is just going to be the hamstring muscles. So we have two main groupings. We have the biceps femoris which comes along down on the outside and then the semimembranosus and tendinous along the inside part. So primary movement that these will go through and do, a lot of people focus on the hamstrings as being knee flexors and fail to remember that their muscle movement pattern also helps them to be extenders at the hip. So what we see with primary function is that, the hamstrings will go through and they’ll position. So knee flexion during breaststroke, they’ll help extend the hip during fly, flatter and dolphin kick and then also their powerful extensors off of starts in turns the hip. So winding down at anatomy, when we look down at the lower leg, just focussing on main muscle groups, when we talk about plantar flexors which are going to be the motion where we really emphasise that point of the toes. I mean cuff muscles doing that are going to be gastrocnemius and soleus and then the motion of invertors or inversion is where we see the toe come inward like that and then eversion is going to be coming outwards. So when we kind of fall into that flatter kick position a little bit of inversion and then eversion when we’re preparing for a breaststroke kick. And we’ll see that muscles that will contribute to these motions, plantar flexion is going to be in the main cuff muscles, the gastroc and the soleus. The inverters are going to be the inter-tibialis running through here, and then the posterior tibialis and the everters are on the outside part of the foot and they roll outwards. So this is just pictures of the anterior and posterior tip and then the fibularis muscles on the outside part.
So kind of bringing it all together, when we talk about leg activity, with flatter kick initially, so with the propulsive phase if we’re talking about free style, which would be stirring the downbeat portion, you’ll have iliopsoas and rector femoris start to initiate the hip flexion. And then acting at the knee, the rectus femoris is also going to be assisted by the other three quad muscles in extending the knee and then the posture tibialis and the anterior tibialis hold into that position of slight inversion. And then the gastrocnemius and soleus help to maintain position to plan our flexion. So when we go to that downbeat bit and then to prepare for the next downbeat portion, the recovery phase is going to be hip extension, that will be driven by the gluteus and the hamstrings and then also a little bit of flexion by the hamstrings at the knee to go through and prepare again for another round of a downbeat kick. When we look at propulsive phase for the fly and dolphin kick, movement patterns are very same. The only addition is that we see that there is more torso movements that are incorporated in and these are going to be guided by the erector spinae and the abdominal musculature.
So we see here in this position, the iliopsoas and rectus femoris will go from this position to slightly more kick flexion, and then the quad muscles will go from the bent knee position here, going into knee extension to really help generate as much force as possible, and then reversing going through recovery phase, to go back into bringing the hips not necessarily into an extended position but more to a neutral position or be the gluteus and the hamstrings and then the hamstrings will flex at the knee to prepare again for that next downbeat portion of the kick. So breaststroke kick there’s a little bit more going on. So this is initial position, if you look down through here kind of preparing for the propulsive phase. We see movements that are taking place right here. Number one there’s a degree of hip flexion, number two there’s abduction, there’s internal rotation, we have knee flexion and then we have toes flexion and eversion at the ankle.
So that’s the position that we are getting ready for from a breaststroke kick stand point. So muscles that are going through in doing this, number one at the hip that small muscle up through here the TFL and the gluteus medius and minimus are going through and internally rotating and also abducting. The iliopsoas and rectus femoris help to get us in that position of hip flexion and then it’s going to be the hamstrings that go through and bring about the knee flexion component. Remember when we talked about the hamstrings there are two main portions we have the outer portion, the biceps femoris, the inner portion through here, the semitendinosus and semimembranosus. Really with breaststrokers we see that the biceps femoris portion is more active and the reason being is, how they go through and you’ll see that they can really rotate from the knee down, take their foot and rotate it outwards. It’s the pull that biceps femoris that really helps them get into that outward rotated position of the foot and ankle. And then the fibrosis muscle group. So what are going to be our everters on the outside, we’ll go through and evert the foot and ankle and then the inter tibialis sticks into that dorsal flex position.
And so from here the propulsive phase we are going to reverse all those movements, so we’ll see extension at the hip and the key thing is adduction at the thigh or at the hip. And so primary muscle group that is really helping to move forward and produce most of the force is going to be contraction of the adductor muscles. So movement patterns that we see at the hip; the gluteus maximus and hamstrings are going to drive from this position to the extended position and the adductors are going to be pulling down into midline, while at the knee, the quadriceps group will be extending and we’re going from that position where they were at the ankle dorsal flexed and everted to be in an streamline position for the glide. So that’s going to be brought about by the gastrocnemius and soleus that point the toes and then the tibialis posterior and interior which bring him into inversion. So that is breaststroke kick and then when we just talk about leg activity from a starts and turn stand point, we’ll see that hip extension. So as we are starting to push of the walls is going to be driven by the hamstrings and gluteals and I think a lot of people think of gluteal muscles is trying to help extend the hip but a lot of times people overlook how important the hamstrings are at trying to drive that hip extension, when we are going from a bent position to straightening out. The knees will go through and at the knee, the extension is going to be driven by the quadriceps and at the ankle plantar flexion, so as were coming of the wall we’ll be driven by the soleus and the gastrocnemius.
So kind of today’s main goal was to go through and say, “okay this is anatomy as how it pertains to the four different strokes,” for tomorrow what I’m going to go through and do is initially talk about the swimmers body. So because of the repetitive nature of swimming, what are typical muscle imbalances that we go through and see and kind of educate you as being coaches you are always frustrated when athletics go through and get injured. So try and give you a better understanding of how this muscle imbalances contribute to injuries and with a goal of that being given your take home points to go through and apply to while in training programs of how to address muscle imbalance patterns, but then also go through and just really focus more on running through various exercises saying, “okay this is the anatomy, these are the muscle groups that are active during this exercise, how do they relate to muscle groups that are active while you are swimming?” so you gaining a better understanding of, “Okay I’m trying to really work on helping my swimmers strengthen that initial catch when they are in the water, how can I go through and understand how I can best try and target that through dry land or weight room training exercises.” So I know its lunch time but I’ll have to be anywhere, so again feel free to go through. Write down my email address and then I’ll go through some general questions.
[audience member]: And it looks like this question is really for tomorrow more of an injury focus that it’s on my mind. Under TFL muscle, supposing my triathletes will come to me and say I injured by IT-band and it’s the same thing that I told you what have they done because I’m worried we’ll have to talk to each other and getting to narrow information from each other. I’m not sure that the [Inaudible] [0:56:04] injury it was, what caused it and I tell them [Inaudible] [0:56:08]
[IM]: Okay so the question was working with triathletes, a lot of them coming in saying that they’ve injured their IT bands?
[audience member]: Yes.
[IM]: So when we talk about the TFL, it comes from a small muscle and it goes down into the IT bands okay. Usually triathletes and runners and cyclists will go through and injure the IT band as it crosses the knee, if it’s overly tight, then it causes a friction syndrome. Since they are repetitively bending the knee it starts snapping and the IT band itself it gets tight. So from a stand point with that the main importance is, because it’s friction due to the tightness really trying to stretch out the TFL muscle, but then also people overlook that the gluteus maximus comes down and attaches in, so it’s stretching TFL but then also gluteals. And then a good way to just try and loosen that IT band is form roller exercises along the IT band itself. Did that answer your question madam?
[audience member]: Yeah.
[IM]: Okay. Gentleman in blue shirt.
[another audience member]: Okay it was difficult to tell from the picture through the biceps brachii and hand brachii [Inaudible] [0:57:12]
[IM]: A good question, so through here when we go through and we look at attachment site typically running through the biceps brachii is going to come in and attach on the radius and then the brachialis is more on the owner, okay.
[audience member]: Okay.
[IM]: Other questions?
[audience member]: About my first part of [Inaudible] [0:57:58] that gradual, part land based athletes [Inaudible] [0:58:06] weakness or a failure to involved with glut medius played a big role in [Inaudible] [0:58:11] saying principal or not sure is like you didn’t make sure that you’re [Inaudible] [0:58:25] or land activity what do we know?
[IM]: Yeah so the question is when we talk about lower extremity injuries with land base athletes a lot of times when we see injuries that occurring, it’s because of one of the primary contributing factors is weakness of the glut medius. And the reason being is, if I do a single leg squat ideally I should drop down and I should have well controlled movement pattern. If the glut medius is weak you’ll see people drop down and they have a tendency to rotate in which goes through and it places stress in through the kneecap region alright. Key things is how to go through and strengthen glut medius to prevent that from occurring is really educating people when they are doing land base strengthening activities not focus on, “Can I drop all the way down and come back up,” what is the quality of the movement pattern meaning that, if I do a squat can I go through and I keep good line as I come down okay. That’s why you see lot of people favour more single leg activities, as opposed to double leg activities. It’s because if I do a single leg squat, I can monitor my position to make sure I’m not rolling inwards like that, did that…
[audience member]: So even if the action is different and maybe the sort of injuries in the area [Inaudible] [0:59:54] I’m guessing it will loose as to be obvious and it will be [Inaudible] [0:59:54] stabilize…
[IM]: It’s more about…
[audience member]: Can somebody help you, like…
[IM]: And it’s a stabilizer because if my glut medius is weak, as I’m standing right here my hip will drop outwards like that. So, one of the things I’m going to talk about tomorrow is when we talk about just from a dry land training stand point, the key thing is when you are going through and kind of coming up with exercises or watching people who do exercises you know watching the quality of the movement and if there’s the need making sure that there is instruction to avoid that move. That answers your question sir?
[audience member]: Thanks.
[IM]: Okay, other questions? Yes madam.
[another audience member]: How do you strengthen the deep abdominal muscles?
[IM]: Deep abdominal muscle strengthening? A lot of it comes down to what we call setting the core okay. And what that means is if you go through, if you think of that transversus abdominis muscles being a core set that comes around through here, if you can go through and you can learn how to activate that transversus abdominis, meaning tightening in through here and hold that muscle tight and still be able to kind of carry on a conversation, the ab activates that muscle. As soon that becomes active carrying that in and actually incorporating it into various exercises that you are doing. So what I mean by that is, when we talk about the transversus abdominis a lot of times it’s a muscle that people don’t actually activate because they focus so much on trying to develop other muscles, that those muscles are more dominant. So they take over more of that stabilization role but they are not as efficient at it. So a lot of time what I recommend is learning how to go through and set the transverse abdominis and then feeling, holding everything tight in, that core side effect and then whenever you are doing any kind of abdominal related activity or kind of multi joint movement type activity, initially the first focus being setting the core, holding that while you go through and you do that movement pattern. Because what that does is the more you do it, it’s like trying to go through and learn how to pat here and rub your belly. Initially it’s hard but if you always focus on pulling that into all the movements that you do, it almost becomes second nature.
[audience member]: So those are the muscles when you are doing [Inaudible] [1:02:40] holding everything in line?
[IM]: Correct. But the problem that we run into or that we see a lot is that, people just go through and they just say, “well I’ll just get in my plank position,” and they really don’t initially say well “before I get in that plank position or as I get into it let me tie everything.” And then you’re essentially going through and you are missing out on adding in or incorporating that key component. Okay? That answers your question?
[audience member]: Yes.
[IM]: Okay. Yes sir.
[another audience member]: You mentioned earlier about swimmers hurting their shoulders [Inaudible] [1:03:19] what is the exercise that will balance that out?
[IM]: Okay so a lot of times what we go through and see with swimmers is what we call an upper extremity postural distortion pattern, where they are tightening the Pecs, tightening the lats. So what that does is, it pulls downward like this and then also internally rotates the shoulders okay? So exercises that will really go through try and help balance that out are going to be a lot of your rolling type movement’s okay. And typically exercises that I’ll go through and recommend, they are a variety of them but you know, first if you start of with like any kind of pull down type activity, doing like a straight arm pull down where you get a little bit flexion in through here, I like that one because it can help teach them to be up in a upright elongated position and then pull all the way down through here. So that will help develop the lats and then also help them focus on pitching those shoulder blades backs through a four range emotion and then you’re seated rose where you are seated and then you are pulling in through here with the emphasis being not on trying to get the weight to my belly or the handle to my belly, point here and then emphasizing a shoulder retraction type movement. And really the key movement is, not here it’s from here rolling the shoulder blades back okay. Along the lines of talking about setting the core or something else called setting the scapula and the thought process with that is that a lot of people don’t think about their shoulder blade or their scapula being as the base of support. So I always encourage people when you are doing any type of approach extremity activity, think that you want to have that shoulder blade in a stable position and initially thinking about okay, “I’m going to pull the shoulder blade down and back,” because those are the muscles that will help to set that postural imbalance.
A lot of times when people do certain type movements like they’ll do rolls and they will pull upwards like this. Well that overdevelops the upper trapezius and that just kind of curls things more. So when I go through and I look at trying to set people up with rolling type activities, I encourage them not to have the pulley down low because that just encourages this type of movement. I encourage it to be up higher, so at least that chest level or slightly higher, so the movement is they are pulling down and they can really emphasis pinching down and back okay. So key things are with any type of rolling or pulling type movement emphasizing that shoulder blade kind of pinching back in and then another one that I really like is, what we call a prone TYA. So if I was laying on my stomach I’d start off here and then pull the shoulder blades down and back and do small postulations here for 30 seconds, come here small isolations and then come down here small isolation movements, focusing not on moving not your shoulder but moving here just to try and develop better endurance through those areas okay. And then one other one is going to be what we call a scapula punch type exercise. So if you have like a band behind you and then have the band or stretch code here go from a movement where that will pull you backwards to pushing forward like this. What that does is, that’s the activity of that serratus anterior muscle that allows it to wing outwards if it was weak. So that helps to strengthen that okay? That answer you question? Okay.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [1:07:13] actually twelve when you are rolling, [Indiscernible] [1:07:14] to just get them together at first and then well you did the reverse [Inaudible] [1:07:18] exercise over there will that [Indiscernible] [1:07:20]?
[IM]: I usually go through…what I want to try and do is when they are in that rolling position, I want to get them out and I want to get them kind of stretched, so I can emphasize trying to go through and strengthen through that whole motion. Is it incorrect to go through and first set the shoulder blade?
[audience member]: You’re looking at better posture [Inaudible] [1:07:40] and then movement since here then…
[IM]: It really comes down to how they are doing the exercise. If someone is really not getting the idea of setting it, then I would go through and initially say, “Well kind of just get in that position and pull down.” But I like to go through and try and have them focus more on a full movement pattern, okay? Gentleman at the back.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [1:08:04] kids. You know you mentioned the shoulder blade [Inaudible] [1:08:11] with little ones let’s say puberty, do you need to worry about this exercise [Inaudible] [1:08:15] not so much weight in the side of the body. You know maybe with the stretch or something [Inaudible] [1:08:21] still too young?
[IM]: It’s a great point. So when we talk about a real little age groupers and stuff and when I was over at Pentax, as part of their medical staff, there’s a gentleman by the name of Cannon Robinson who works at North Baltimore as kind of their director in medical services. He and I kind of talk a lot back and forth of when do you incorporate dry land in, when should you start educating? And I’m a big fan even at the younger ages, really going through and trying to initially first teach them the concept of how to control their hips. So learning how to move their hips and once they feel comfortable with that, learning how to tighten those core muscles same thing with the shoulder blade not doing a lot of necessarily strengthen exercises, just more…learn how your shoulder moves, learn how to get your shoulder down back into position of stability because if that is their first foundational, those two components are the first foundational things that they learn from a dry land training stand point. The earlier they learn it the more they just tie that into everything else that they go through when they do. So initially I’d recommend really teaching how to support down and through here then adding in just basic. You know I called it T exercise to start here, the side, the back and then those TYA movements just as not really trying to bulk or really get them much stronger, just helping them to go through and re-emphasis muscular patterns that will be important as they start to get into more intense dry land training.
[audience member]: This maybe something for tomorrow but the difference between a nice [Inaudible] [1:10:11] kick and bicycling motion, is there something you can strengthen to help them get the flutter kick delay directly?
[IM]: Not like a specific exercise to try and establish more of a smaller flutter kick type motion?
[audience member]: To use your hips in the right direction instead of…
[IM]: Trying to pull through? Not a specific exercise that I can think off of the top of my head. Usually, just having like being on your back and just doing abdominal flutter kick exercises, where they are out of the water environment and you can try and teach them that movement on the land as opposed to being in the water. Other things to go through and do and your concern is that they are doing just more of the pulling, other things to consider is more of a stretch cord standpoint, where you can put a resistance behind them and put them in a position where they can be up on something where they can have a movement pattern through here but almost a small like a light stretch code and just trying to teach them kind of on land how to do that movement. So that’s a tough one okay. Other questions…yeah?
[audience member]: You talked about what young kids ado the [Inaudible] [1:11:43] I camp the last couple of weeks working on that, to tilt their flat their back, there’re some kids who just can’t do that. I don’t know if they are just too weak or just not don’t understand that the kids can’t even do that, is there anything you can suggest to introduce kids to that?
[IM]: They are just even having a problem with the rolling motion like this?
[audience member]: Yeah.
[IM]: That’s a tough one. A lot of it is almost just trying to go through and sometimes what you will have to do is put your hands on their hips and say almost, “push into my thumbs, let me just roll you forward and then roll your backwards.” Sometimes people have problems laying down and doing it, so if you just say well standing kind of try and almost stick your butt out and then curl back in and they work on that out of standing and then trying to transition it over the lying down. And the key thing is when we do go from pelvic tilts, to trying to teach a position of core stability, we don’t necessarily want to try and have them rolled their hips all the way backs, so their backs completely flat on the ground okay. When we look at how the spine is designed to be the most stable, it’s got a little bit of a curve in through the low back. And that is where some people run into problems is, they think their position of core stability is completely rolling their hips forward and tightening through here, well that really just tightens those iliopsoas muscles and as soon as I flat my back, if I put any kind of weight here, it’s just going encourage me to lean forward, versus if you say “okay now that you’ve learned how to roll your hips, so you’ve learned that muscular control, now use that to just get in one position and hold it there, ideally in more of a neutral position where is not a lot of either aching in one way or over flattening in other way.” Answer your question okay. Alright. Thank you very much for your attention and hopefully I didn’t scare many off and I’ll see some people tomorrow.
Welcome everybody. One or two things as I get to have the privilege of introducing Ian McCleod. First, the business meeting for ASCA is going to follow this talk in this room; hopefully you’ll all stay, whether or not ASCA members, but especially if you are an ASCA member—we need support and input for the organization. So that meeting is going to be at 11:30-12:30; we’re going to talk about some of the issues that affect us today as coaches and we are also going to have elections for new board members. So it’s going to be here, you’re not to go anywhere; just relax and stay.
When I started going to clinics years ago, we did it mainly by what we like to call meat-n-potatoes. It was all… you came in every year, and you listened to the person who spoke about how they are training, or how they are teaching, breaststroke because they happened to be coaching the fastest breaststroker that year. And it was the same thing, year-in/year-out. The person who had to lead breaststroker or backstroker or butterflyer, the first hour talked about that. The person who had to lead I.M.’er, talked about coaching I.M. And then about 20 years ago, John Leonard came in and said: we have to expand our knowledge, we are just rehashing over and over information, and we are not opening our visitors to an education of information that’s going to make better coaches. So he started bringing people into our clinics, and they talked. One year they brought in somebody to talk about training the Kenyan cross-country runners. Different perspective, different information, a lot of it doesn’t relate as directly as this talk is going to.
Ian is a certified trainer and physician assistant, and he’s worked with athletes at schools like Virginia, ASU. He’s worked on National Teams. He works for massage therapy as well, and he’s a professor at a school in Mesa, California. He’s going to talk to us today about the anatomy of swimming, and help us understand our athletes physically in a much better sense than we do right now. And the last thing we’re going to ask you is make certain that your cell phones are on vibrate and take the ringers off, please. If you get a call, just go-on outside and take the call. Other than that, I want to introduce, for our next talk, Ian McLeod.
Alright, thank you very much. I have a funny story about going through and turning your cell phones off. One time I was at a conference where I was the conference coordinator but was also a speaker and I was presenting and I left my bag kind of all the way over in a corner and someone’s cell phone started to ring and whose do you think it was? So and it wasn’t one of those once where they just called once, they called multiple times. So eventually I went over and turned it off but I put my email address up here on the front, feel free to copy it down, I’m open to receiving emails from people; little bit better there? Okay, not only from questions that you have in relation to what I’m going to present on today but as a PA, I work in a Primary Care sports medicine clinic, probably 60 percent of the patients I go through and see are muscular or skeletal injuries so if you are ever looking for a sounding board for guidance with a swimmer that has injuries, what direction to go, feedback, I’m open to going through and trying to answer your questions and give you a little bit of guidance.
A couple, quick disclosures. I am affiliated with your USA Swimming as a member of the Sports Medicine and Science Network and also as a member of the Sports Medicine and Science Committee, and I am the author of Swimming Anatomy, a book that a lot of this presentation was based upon. So the question comes about: why swimming anatomy? When we look at coaches in general, a lot of us or a lot of coaches, have very little background from an anatomy standpoint. Some of you have had anatomy as an undergraduate course, some of you may have never ever had anatomy, some of you may have gotten a C in your first anatomy course—like I did. So Swimming Anatomy is… a goal of the book was to go through and find developed coaches understanding or give them a better understanding of the relationship between anatomy and swimming, and so for those of you that joined me yesterday for my presentation, what I focused on was really breaking down the four different strokes and looking at how anatomy pertains to those.
Today we are going to even try and make more of the connection between certain exercises and how those from an anatomy standpoint are important to swimmers. Two things that we’ll go through and we’ll talk about today is we’ll look at some muscle imbalance patterns that are commonly seen in swimmers and really wants, as a take home point for you to go back home thinking of this muscle imbalances because when we talk about putting together strength training dry land and training programs, the goal should be improving performance but then also injury prevention and the addressing muscle imbalances. So when we look at challenges that swimmers face in the water, first off swimming is a total body sport, so it involves not only the arms, the legs, but the core, so it requires a coordinated effort going from the arms all the way down to the legs and this is just a slide to demonstrate what we call the kinetic chain concept, that even though a swimmer may be focusing on the initial portion of the pool, there’s movement that should be transferred and there’s movement that’s going throughout the entire body. And the important thing with this as we look at it as a chain, if we have one area of weakness basically that’s going to break the chain and we are going to need discontinuity in our stroke we are going to lose efficiency in the water. So really when you think about strengthening, think about everything is tied together from the chain standpoint.
Other things are that swimmers need to go through and create their own basis support, we don’t have the luxury of being a land based athlete where we can go through and we can anchor our feet on the ground, basically in the water our basis support comes from this area through here and when we talk about core stability what is important about being able to go through and have good core stability;, number one; maintenance of a streamlined position in the water, number two; being able to emphasize that body role that’s going to be beneficial with your freestyle and your backstrokes but then also the undulating body role that takes place with backstroke or with flying breaststroke and then it’s going to be the basis support for stronger pulling kick. Good analogies, when you’re watching the swimmer in the water and they kind of have that fish tail weave back and forth, well they are doing that because they are not stabilizing their core well enough or when we think about trying to have a good basis support for the kick, if you think of a wet piece of spaghetti and you’re trying to push a wet piece of spaghetti it’s going to kind of move on you and that’s an example of kicking, trying to kick through an area where there is poor core stability.
And then also the core is going be what length the energy that we produce from our core portion as we try and transfer it down and through the legs. And then as having the athlete training background and sports medicine background obviously I have an interest in why the core is strong from an injury prevention standpoint. So a lot of times people think core stability and they think of the picture here on the right and while this individual on the right may have good core stability, just having a muscular abdomen does not mean core stability, core stability is the ability to go through and keep the pelvis or the core and trunk stable when you put the body in the position where it’s challenged. And then other areas of importance is it’s not just holding the position like this, it’s being able to keep that area tight while extremities are moving, the arms are moving and the legs are moving. So just to give you little bit of a background and kind of the underlined anatomy with core stability, when we look at the abdominal wall it’s divided into four different muscles groups but really three different layers. You have the outer layers which are going be your external obliques that come down in this direction and then crisscrossing those, the next layer’s going to be the intermediate obliques or the internal obliques that cross this way. It’s a combination of the action of the obliques, the external obliques on one side and the internal obliques on the other that lead to that trunk rotation body role component. And then the deepest layer is where we see that there’s the rectus abdominis, so your six pack muscle, but more importantly is going to be your transverse abdominis muscle down and through here. And this is really the key muscle that contributes to core stability. The reason that this is the primary contributor is the direction that the fibers run, they run transversely, so when they go through and they contract they help to pull everything in, if you think of the old fashion girdle or corset they used to wear that would tighten and pull everything in, that’s the function of the transverse abdominis muscle.
Various abdominal muscles also come around and they have intricate attachments to the group of muscles in through our back area called the erector spinae, the erector spinae as the name implies primarily goes through and help keep the spine erect. So when we talk about how to go through and incorporate core stability into training programs, Dryland Program, the basis of this is going to be learning how to go through and do what we call lock the core, locking the pelvis. And the key with this is learning how to go through and activate that transverse abdominis muscle, and a lot of times what we see is individuals go through and the preferentially recruit more of the rectus abdominis muscle and the obliques when they are trying tighten their core and not the transverse abdominis. So it’s one of those things that as we grow older, as we, I don’t want to say as we grow older, but as we developed or progressed our bodies forgotten how to go through and tie that transverse abdominis muscle into basic stabilization exercises for our cores. So the kind of the queuing method that I go through and use when trying to teach individuals how to contract or incorporate that transverse abdominis muscle is just to get them in an hook-lying position like this so where they are relaxed, the knees are bent by pulling the knees upwards, it takes out the hip flexor component and the visual queue is that I teach people to try and focus on putting their fingers here so they can feel part of their lower abdominal area and just think about trying to draw that lower abdominal area in and upwards and if they think about that with trying to visualize that corset effect, that helps to queue pulling that transverse abdominis muscle into the activity. The key thing with this is when you do it we’re not trying to suck our abdomen in like this, we are not trying to pull the diaphragm up so you are in this position and you’re trying to focus on this and you are not able to go through and carry on your conversation or breath, that means that you’re really just pulling up the diaphragm.
And when we talk about setting lock in the core, it’s an exercise or concept that should be considered or what I would call a foundational exercise so on your young age group or this is something that you want to try and teach them early. One of the ways to go through and start incorporate teaching this to them is first by starting to teach pelvic tilt exercises, where it can be lying down on the ground or some people teach it where they are against the wall and just having the young swimmer learn how to go through and control their hips, going from on the bottom on a normal sitting position or normal position to really arching their back to rolling their hips down till their back as flat against the ground. By learning that pelvic control, they learn how to go through and control the muscles through this area and then transitioning into helping to do a run back, walking or stabilize the core concept. Once this is part of what I would call an individual’s tool box, if they go through, if every time they say, “Okay, I’m going to do a select abdominal exercise or even I’m going to do a squat exercise, if the first thing they do is they mentally think about walking those muscle in that’s going t take pretty much any exercise you go through and do and turn it into a core exercise because as soon as you activate those core muscles as part of that exercise pattern and you keep them activated, they are going to strengthen through that movement pattern.
So moving on to other changes that swimmers face are going to be the development of muscle imbalances just due to the repetitive nature of the sports. So really what we’ll go through and see is we’ll see two specific areas where we see muscle imbalances. Number one, up at the shoulder we’ve seen upper cross syndrome as demonstrated here and then at the lower back and hip we see more of a lower cross syndrome and we’ll break those down a little bit further. So with this upper cross syndrome what you really see is that the pectoral muscles and the lats really go through when they tighten in and if you look at the alignment of the lats, they come down start here; the lat muscle actually comes up through this area to cross along the front part of the shoulder. So with swimmers they are overdeveloped in their lats as that lat goes through and it gets tight because of overdevelopment that’s what really pulls them down into that hump back posture and then leads to that rotation inward of the shoulders. So really what’s going on here is we see that the pectoral region through here that pectorals are tight, the lats are tight which pulls them into that rounded shoulder forehead posture and then because those muscles are tight we have an additional weakness of another muscle group called the rhomboids and serratus anterior.
So concerned that we see what this upper cross syndrome and you can just demonstrate this on yourself if you want to look at the impact of the swimmers, if I’m [Indiscernible] [0:16:05] forward trying to lift your arm up, you’re going to be limited in how far you are able to do that. So that rounded shoulder posture is going to limit their ability to elongate in the water, it’s going to lead to a poor streamline so decrease that efficiency in the water but again it’s also going to increase the risk of what we call shoulder impingement and basically pretty much any time you have a swimmer that goes to see a medical provider and they come back with… because of shoulder pain, I’d say nine times out of ten, probably ten times of ten, what’s causing their pain is what we call shoulder impingement; the most common injury in swimmers and basically it’s an inflammation of the biceps tendon as it comes through the front part of the shoulder, the bicep in this area and the rotator cuff and if you want to look at that area a little bit more closely this, yes sir.
Next Speaker: [0:16:58] where that kind of body upper back was just like [Inaudible] [0:17:06] and that I didn’t understand all this but [Inaudible] [0:17:14] it just brought that up now [Inaudible] [0:17:19].
Ian McLeod: Yeah, we’ll kind of bring some more talk into that, okay? So this illustration didn’t go through in habit on there but I drew in a red line through here to depict where that bicep’s tendon runs through coming up into the front part of the shoulder. So what happens is that the bicep which we see right here and then the bicep’s tendon are in a position where as the arm gets in the overhead position, they get caught between the ball portion and the top part of the shoulder causing tension. Well if you think of how many times you do that during the day when you’re swimming a normal practice, that repetitive pinching leads to inflammation in through the long head of the bicep’s tendon and then the rotator cuff muscles in the – or the bursa. Contributing factors to impingements in shoulder pain in swimmers number one; swim flat in the water, if they are not gaining good body role to put in that position where they’ll pinch more. Number two; if with hand entry their cross arming again just putting themselves in the position where they are going to pinch, number three; that upper cross syndrome just because they can’t elongate this far so it’s going to lead to pinching in the front part of the shoulder. And then number four is going to be poor scapular stability, when we talk about scapular stability, what that means is when you look at the scapular or the shoulder blade you have a group of muscles that their primary function is to do two things. Number one, if you think of the shoulder blades as the basis support for the shoulders when you are going to an overhead movement, those shoulder blades are supposed to move upwards to allow swimmers to become elongated in the water. Now when the swimmer gets elongated out here they are essentially in a position of vulnerability so we need a strong basis support so what that means is the muscles that help to rotate the shoulder upwards are also supposed to be strong to hold that shoulder blade and serve as a good basis support.
So with you if you look right here, this is what typically and all the swimmers that come in with shoulder pain, usually what we’ll go through and see from an exam standpoint and on the left side is going to be considered the normal side and then the right side is the unhealthy side. So if you just compare left side to right side, you’ll see here what we call winging of the scapular or the shoulder blade and then when this subject goes to move their arms upwards, you see that that shoulder blade is actually rotating more or outwards more than it should be. So that tells us that the muscles in through, I’m waiting for my arrow to come up, in through this area are basically weak and not able to stabilize that shoulder blade. And then this is an example of what we call scapular winging, so if you are going through your supervising dry land activities, you see this on any of your swimmers this is indicative of a area of weakness in the muscle that we call the serratus anterior, that serratus anterior is supposed to take the shoulder blade and hold it flat at back or flat against the back of the posterior chest wall. When that muscle is weak, that shoulder blade will wing outwards and later on will touch upon exercises or one exercise that can help to strengthen serratus anterior.
So key thinks to go through and try and focus on strengthening the scapular stabilizers, like we talked about learning how to go through and trying to set the core, we also want to teach swimmers at a young age how to go and do what we call setting the scapular. Now here on the right side here this is, I used to say this is little bit of an exaggerated posture but unfortunately this is really the posture that we see in a lot of individuals I always put this up and you see a few people in the audience go through and sit up a little straighter, but really if you go through, if you look at your kids when they are just seated, this is the position they fall into. If you look at adults when they are at work, this is the position that they fall into. So it’s one of the things and if we are always in this position, its juts going further to perpetuate those areas of weakness and over imbalance. So the queue that I give people is to tell them to go from that slump forward position to, I call it sometimes a dinner table exercise, where they need to pretend they are at the dinner table with grandma so they sit up tall, try to hold their shoulder blades back the key thing is when they pull their shoulder blades back, initially people want to go through and pull upwards like this, because they are dominant in the upper trapezius. What we want to go through and do is we want to pull the shoulder blades down and back, think about taking back that shoulder blade and trying to put it in their back pocket. What that does is it goes through and it helps to queue, oh-oh, there we go, hold on one second. So what that does it helps to queue, strengthening or recruiting the muscles right through this area, those key muscles are going to be the rhomboids and the lower and middle portion of the trapezius. Those are the muscles that are responsible for taking the shoulder blades and pulling it down and back and providing that with a good basis support and then they are just applying pressure rate up here on the trapezius just to indicate that when an individual performs this set in motion they, shouldn’t feel any tightness, there shouldn’t be any contraction of that upper trapezius muscle.
And this is again kind of one of those foundational components early on, trying to get your younger swimmers to start to learn to do this and teaching them that now that you’ve learnt how to just set or stabilize that shoulder blade or scapula, now when we start to add in more dynamic movements or movements of the upper extremity be it rolls, be it pushups, that if they first think of setting that shoulder blade into a stable position, it creates that firm basis support. So when we look at kind of the lower cross syndrome what we see is a lot of times there’s going to be weakness in the glute medius, in the glute muscle through here and then also weakness in the hamstrings and then they are really tight through that iliopsoas muscle and iliopsoas is a deep hip flexor muscle, for any of you that have ever had kind of that onset of back pain where you sit down and then after you sat down for about five minutes you kind of have to do the old person thing where you feel like you have to push your hips forward just to try and straighten out. The muscle that’s going in spasm there is that iliopsoas that’s deep down and through there. Now what happens is the iliopsoas is it’s tight and then spasm it comes up to attach on the front part of the vertebra and as it’s tight, what it does is it pulls those vertebrae forward leading to excessive curvature of the lower back area. So tight so as it pulls it forward and then the fluids are weak and they can’t help compensate and pull back down underneath. So swimmers where you are going through and they are constantly having problems where you’re seeing that their hips are dropping into the water, typically it’s because they don’t have the strength to maintain that streamlined position and then offset that tightness of that iliopsoas muscle, other things this lower cross syndrome will contribute to poor streamline and then because they are not able to go through or let me take a step back, because of the increase in curvature that they are going to have at their lower back, when you go through and put them in a position that you’re trying to do weight groom or dry land training exercises with the arch back, they are just going to place more stress in through the lower back area, so they are going to be an increased risk of injuring themselves outside of the water.
So when we look at these upper and lower cross syndromes, key things that need to be focused on; number one, for the upper cross syndrome the lats, the pectorals and the upper trapezius are tight so you need to focus on trying to stretch those out and then also focus on strengthening the mid and lower trapezius muscles, the rhomboids and the serratus anterior and then from a lower cross syndrome key thing is, really making sure that you are incorporating stretches to try and loosen or target that tight psoas hip flexor musculature and then from a strengthening standpoint, if you’re going through that core stability concept of teaching them how to hold in one set position and then also a lot of times for me strength training standpoint, the glute max, glute medius muscles, so through here and the hamstrings are neglected a lot of the time and hopefully today I’ll go through and I’ll be able to give you some exercises that you can take home with you, if you’re just kind of in a position where all you have is the pool deck to go to and do exercises where you can try and start to target those muscle groups. Some great resources if you go to usaswimming.org, up along the top part through here, you’ll see “a tips and training” tab, if you click on that then click on strengthening conditioning and then at the bottom of the link or then strengthening conditioning as the dry land coach link, if you click on that there’s a video series with four separate lectures that really go through and it kind of get more in depth to other ways to look at postural evaluation in your swimmers but then also exercises that you can go through and incorporate to try and address those postural imbalances.
And then well another one is if you go to this website www.esopt.com, that will take you to the home page you want to look at, there are two things there; number one, the shoulder injury article or link, basically that’s where you can get a copy of the task force recommendations of the USA swimming put together, several years ago one had to go through and address shoulder strengthening and shoulder injuries in swimmers, but then the other one, other link is there is the guidelines for stretching shoulders in swimmers and that was that stretching guideline was put together by George Edelman who’s a physical therapist that does a lot work with swimmers. But that will go through and that will basically covers how do you go through and address not only the flexibility issues that you see with swimmers but then also gives you a good set of strengthening exercises. So, the reason I put this picture up here is a lot of times and there is some clubs in the area where I work that I’ll go by and when I worked at issues enough like trainers involved with SDAs and double products and I still go by there and check in with them every once in a while, a lot of the times you see coaches that are really attentive what practice is going on and then they go through and it’s, okay start your dryland training socket and then they go through and they are not as attentive and they’re really not paying attention to what’s going on. So that they key thing is when you’re taking your swimmers through dry land, while they are in the wait room, if you are a college coach go with them, go over to the wait room, see that they are doing, better understand what they are doing in the wait room so you know how it’s going to impact what they are doing in the water, but just as your job is to go through and work on refining techniques in the water, your job is also to go through and monitor technique and go through and monitor what they are doing while they are doing their dry land exercises. So what we are going to go through and do is I got a kind of overview selected exercises and this is how I’m going through and break things down.
There are tons of exercises out there and really what I try to go through and do with this is some of these are common exercises that you go through and you made use on a regular basis. Some maybe new exercises so I try to get a mixture of those two and really the goals are to really help you come home with some things that you can start to apply with your swimmers when you get back home. So from a shoulder girdle standpoint, these are different exercises I’m going to go through and discuss. The first one is going to be a straight arm pull down, so reason that I like this exercise is because it allows you to go through, it allows the swimmer performing the exercise, when they get their arms overhead to get in an elongated position to really go through an emphasized and gain a good stretch of the…oh-oh let’s see how much I can think and on the fly…. alright, my computer shut down for some reason… [Inaudible] [0:31:30]… Let’s see if it goes through and it starts to polygraph that, well, I’m going to go through and continue talking about things and we’ll go through and see if my computer turns back on, this could be interesting. So when we talk about that straight arm pull down exercise, I like it because it allows the swimmer to go through and get themselves in an elongated position, so mimicking when they are having that initial hand entry into the water so helps to develop confidence with their arms up high but then I also like it because it takes out the movement that we’ll commonly see with the lap pull downs if you are seated here and you’re pulling down with the bar to your chest, you are incorporating in a fair amount of elbow flexion. So with your typical lap pull down exercise, yeah, you’re targeting the laps but then also you’re really incorporating the biceps, okay? With the straight arm pull down, if you did them here and you teach them to get their arms slightly wider than shoulder with the part fixed elbow position of about 30 degrees and then keep their elbows high like we want them to do when they are in the water and then as it goes through, as they perform the exercise, if they keep their elbows high and they pull down in an arching motion, really what that does is that it allows you to really just isolate that lap muscle. And then the emphasis is when they come down, not just trying to bring the bar here, but emphasizing coming down and trying to pull their shoulders blades down and back.
I think my computer is starting back up. So that’s the emphasis with that there. I didn’t bring paper copies for my presentation. So, running through the next exercise that I had on there a different talk about is going to be what is called the single arm pull down. So it’s going to be similar to a lap pull down, where you’ll have a pulley or you can set a band up high and then also taking a step back with the straight arm pull down, typically or you can modify that exercise so if you have stretch codes and they are anchored up above, you don’t have to have a bar to perform that. It’s an exercise that can be performed that can be done with stretch codes. And then the next exercise was a single arm pull down. So the set up would either be with a pulley apparatus up above or a stretch code up above and then gripping it in the supinated palm inward grip and then when they start to do the movements, they are in an elongated position with the emphasis now as they pull down, to not only try and engage that lap but as they go down into that lower position and they get down here since it’s a single sided movement, emphasizing the pinching of the shoulder blade backward but then also a rotational component to try and tie in those rotators of the trunks, so the oblique muscles. So that’s going to carry over and be a benefit to our swimmers and not only trying to target the lapses they contribute to the pulling phase of all the four strokes but then also teaching them when they are coming down and they are trying transition from for example with freestyle to the pull portion to recovery, incorporating that body role component so it’s kind of a unified movement through there. And then moving on, next exercise is that I was going to go through and discuss were Pull up. Oh, yeah.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [0:35:39]
[IM]: So the question was; when doing the ‘straight arm pull down’ exercise is there value to doing the exercise in this position versus going through and trying to do it a little bit off the side?
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [0:36:09]
[IM]: Yeah, so the question is; it more beneficial if you kind of rotate and come down more of in a diagonal position? And to answer that question, yes, that’s the way to modify it to make it more specific to the position that they’ll be in the water. Yes sir.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [0:36:37].
[IM]: With the straight arm, initially if we were doing a straight arm pull down, I’ll initially teach them elongated but then as they first start to initiate the exercise to go to it or above the thirty degree bent in the elbow just to try to more closely mimic that elbow positioning that they’ll have while they go through the full stroke. It’s a lie and now the question is; how long is it going to take them to go through the start up procedure?
The next exercise that I was going to go through and discuss were pull ups; pull ups alike, they are a mental toughness exercise and then they are also an exercise that allows you to go through and it’s a good way to monitor strength gains throughout the season because at the start of a season you can go through and you can basically find out how many pull ups an individual is able to do and then periodically throughout the season you are able to go through and kind of do re-checks and see how they are improving. When you compare pull ups, so hand positioning here to chin ups hand positioning here, I prefer pull ups just because I feel as though they help to, it’s more of a position that we see swimmers performing when they are in the water and then they isolate the laps more than their chin ups. Typically chin ups as long as your go in, they are going to be added benefit of the biceps and when I look at pull ups, I’m really focusing on trying to strengthen the laps. Now when we talk about how we can modify pull ups, your typical narrow or normal grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder width, length or size kind of more for freestyle when the hands are a little bit closer in. If you go through, if you were to do more of a wide grip pull up that can be more specific to trying to target the lapses they contribute to that mid pull portion of breaststroke and butterfly. Let me take a break here to see if I can get this up and running.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [0:38:58]
[IM]: Yeah… I’ve got the world’s slowest computer when it comes to starting up. Here we go. Okay, so the single arm pull down, we talked about here the rotational component goes through and helps to mimic incorporating the body role component as we see with freestyle and then also backstroke then at the end we can emphasize that scapular retraction pulling down which really helps to go through and targets the lower portion of trapezius muscle and the rhomboid muscles through this area. And then pull ups again emphasize, it helps to strengthen the pulling phase of all four strokes, targets the laps better than chin ups. It’s a mental toughness exercise and then also good for monitoring strength progression and then we talked about wide grip pull ups transitioning outwards can make it a little bit more focused for breasts and fly and key things with doing pull ups controlling the movement downwards. What we don’t want to go through and do is allow people to drop in to it and then avoid prolonged hanging in that overstretched position, okay. Raise your arms in the back.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [0:41:15].
[IM]: So with the shoulder blades this is when you’re doing a pull up type activity, the focus should be really when they are doing the pulling motion. Note this that they are trying to take their chest and bring it up to the bar but they are trying to go through and have that shoulder blade as part of that work movement and they are emphasizing pulling that and the whole shoulder girdle down and back. So key thing is, while go through and they get started, going through and setting the scapular, setting the shoulder blade at the initiation of that exercise. So moving on, a seated row and this can be, this is demonstrated here on the pulley apparatus but can be set up on a pool deck with stretch codes. Focus on this is really trying to go through and for breaststrokers, it can help to strengthen the lats as they contribute to that second half of the pull and if we vary the weight, so for using a lighter weight it’s going to go through and allow for the individual to focus more on scapular retractions for taking the shoulder blades and pinching them and holding them back really nice and tight and that emphasis on scapular retraction is going to be beneficial for trying to teach more pulling backwards or better butterfly recovery but then also in individuals that have history or currently have shoulder pain, this is typically an exercise I’ll go through and I’ll incorporate in, trying to teach them that shoulders stabilization position pulling down and backwards.
And then with the seated row, a tip that I’ll usually go through and provide people is however you set it up, you don’t want the pulley or the anchor points to be below the level of the navel. The reason I recommend that is, let’s say I’m going through and I’m doing this exercise and I anchor it down there, just because of the angle of the pole, there’s going to be that emphasis or almost kind of that natural inclination as you’re pulling, to the pulling instruction to try and think about more pulling upwards. So I always try and anchor it at the level or a little bit above the navel so when they are pulling, the emphasis is to pull downward and back, again trying to pull that shoulder blade down and back. Now variation of a rolling movement is going to be a bent over on single row, so another one that can be done in kind of different environments with this, the head position is going to be vital to positioning of the spine and what that means is if you are going through and you are doing this movement, you think that may prone as soon as I look upwards that’s going to go through and cause me to arch my lower back versus as soon as they look downwards, if the look downwards successively they are going to start to roll their shoulders. So typically what I’ll go through and recommend is if I’m stabilizing in this position, this is my supporting hints, what would be the left hand, I’m going to go through an angling focus, kind of had a point through my arm all the way down on the ground that usually keeps him in a good position of a neutral spine. As you go through and you perform the movement, it can be set so you just isolate, so you just do the movement where you pull up or there can be an added or rotational component. Now as you add in the rotational component and you try and emphasize more prompt rotation with the exercise, you’ll incorporate more of the obliques but you are also going to go through and you’re going to sacrifice recruitment of those lats because you are gaining more of the movement coming from that trunk rotation.
So moving on to the exercises that target more of the chest, push ups are great. They are an all round of versatile exercise. They are what we call a close chain exercise which means that while you are doing the exercise, the hands are in contact with the ground which those types of movements kind of put more of a focus on shoulders stability and reason why I say they are versatile exercise is because you can do them anywhere and there are ways in which you can go through and modify them to target the muscles through the shoulder girdle in many different ways. So when we look at push ups strengthening the pectoralis and the triceps, it’s going to go through and helps strengthen them as they are contributors to pulling phase of freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly. Yesterday when we talked a lot of times with backstrokers unless they have a real deep catch, they are more dominant or they produce more of the propulsion just by including the lats. So when we talk about push ups, again just like that bent over single on row, head position is going to be vital and this is one area where you really want to work on coaching your swimmers to focus on keeping a fixed head position because if they are constantly moving their head up and down, they are rotating from side to side, they are going to make it difficult to keep nice and tight and through the core and then with this… I’m a big fan of not being afraid to have individuals start doing push up exercises from their knees, okay. Reason I say this is a lot of times you’ll see a lot of people going through and they are more fixated on being able to go through and do 20 push ups and their hips are sagging and they are putting stress on the low back versus the emphasis should be, you know what, even if you have to start to be able to go through, learn how to do them from the knees properly, once the swimmer shows maturity meaning that they can keep a nice straight alignment from their knees through their hips, through their shoulders and doing push ups from the knees then progress on to going through and doing the movement from the toes.
And then a way to go through and modify the push ups is to do what we call a scapular push up, and initially I’ll teach people to actually start this from the elbows and what a scapular push up is, is if you are on your elbows, basically if this is a starting position, the movement is protraction or rolling the shoulders forward in this direction and this slide through here. This is showing it incorporated into an actual push up but you start up here, this should be our normal start position for a push up dropping down and then as they come up to a fitness position really emphasizing that forward curvature rounding of the shoulder. Reason that this is an important exercise is because this is what’s going through and really helped us target and strengthen that serratus anterior muscle and hat serratus anterior muscle is the one that is responsible for keeping the shoulder blade tight back against the chest wall and preventing it from winging outwards. And if you’re going through, having swimmers with a shoulder problem or a shoulder pain, this is a vital exercise for them to be going through and doing. You’ll see a modification of this done sometimes with what we call more of a scapular punch where someone may have their arm forward, a bandier that’s anchored behind them and then they can try and mimic that protraction and retraction movement by pushing through the band in that manner. Now if we go through, if we modify push ups to where we go with the foot or feet elevated position, what this does is it shifts the emphasis from the entire pectoral muscle to more of the upper clavicular portion of the pectoralis major and it’s that upper clavicular portion that we see more up and through this area that is the portion of the pectoralis major that when you have that initial hand entry and really starting the initial pull or the initial catch, that’s the portion of the pectoralis major that really initiates kind of that portion of the swimming stroke.
With close grip push ups, they’re an easy way, you just bring them in, the key thing is from an exercise or shoulder protraction standpoint we don’t want to be coming closer in and then midline, so we still want to keep the shoulders so the hand placement, so where we can come down into this position. What these will go through and do is it find increase emphasis on the triceps brachii muscle but because of that or in the process of doing that it also has a tendency of placing extra stress in through the anterior part of the shoulder, so it’s the exercise that I typically recommend avoiding in swimmers with a history of shoulder pain or that have shoulder pain. Cautious with young swimmers that may not, if they can’t go through and perform a normal push up, don’t add this in until they can go through and perform normal push ups and the other key thing is, you want to stop when the shoulders reach neutral. What that means is, this is the starting position, I’m going lower down until my shoulder hits neutral, this position right here and then I’m going to push myself back up. If we go from her and push all the way back down, then we are just going put stressing through that one head of the biceps and put them at risk of going through and you retain the front part of their shoulder.
Now other variations to push ups, clinometric push ups, these are going to be great for emphasizing kind of explosive muscle contraction, so the movement is just getting to set position to begin a push up and then explode up you can add in a clap and then going back down and catching themselves, these are great for developing quickness with open turns. A very similar exercise that probably a lot of you go through and incorporate in or going med ball chest passes. Again focus here is pectorals and then also the triceps muscle and it really helps teach individuals number one; how to develop, how absorption but catching the ball and then being able to quickly force it out and explode, so it helps develop explosiveness in that triceps muscle but then also quickness with open turns, so when we look here, we’re always trying to go through and teach swimmers how to, when they get into the wall to be able to be quick as far as getting off the wall, the med ball chest pass because of that catch and throw movement helps to really teach that.
Now looking at bench pressing exercises, if you go into any gym typically, you’ll probably see more people doing bench press than any other activity in the gym, not necessarily an area that we really need to emphasis a lot in swimmers. When I go through more of my interest with swimmers is really targeting pulling type movements, strengthening lats, if you are going go through and incorporate a bench press type movement, the one really I like to go through and utilize is going to be doing it on the physioball with dumbbells, reason being is, it’s still goes through and it targets the pectoral muscles and the triceps but it puts them in a position where they’re going to have independent arm movement so more similar to what they’re doing in the water but then it adds in that core stability component, not only do they need to focus on what they’re doing at the arms but they need to make sure that they are able to maintain their hips in a controlled position. So just movement through here, and then moving on shoulder girdle, getting into kind of more shorter actual exercises. First it’s going to be what we call a ‘T’ exercise and basically the movement pattern with this and cut off on the side and screen a little bit is just forming a “T” motion so coming up here, coming up to the side and then retracting backwards, I call this or I consider this to be a great foundational exercise. The way that this can be used as a foundational exercise is with the younger swimmers that you’re going through and teaching that concept of setting the shoulder blade or setting the scapular after they’ve initially learned that then going through and having them focus on that while they do this as a controlled movement is a good way to go through and say, “Alright now you’ve learnt how to stabilize or set that shoulder blade, now let’s add in an exercise component.” It’s a relatively easy exercise to go through and do but it essentially helps in to start bringing things together. Once they’ve gone through and learnt how to hold that shoulder blade in a certain controlled position with this, then that’s when you can branch out and try and incorporate same shoulder blade into other movements. And then when we look at the role that the deltoid plays in the recovery phase of all the four major strokes, basic “T” exercise like this will help to kind of improve the ability of the deltoid to contribute to that recovery phase.
This is just looking in a little bit closer at specific muscle groups the anterior middle and posterior deltoid. Prone TYAs this is probably one of my favorite exercises for trying to improve scapular stability and scapular strength, you see the targeted muscles all in through here with this it’s a combination of three different movements going from, starting off at A position to a T position and then to a Y position up through here. When doing the exercise, I didn’t write it down here, what you want to do is, they’ll be lying prone on the ground, so for starting in the A position, it’s going be arching the back a little bit, to keep the shoulders up, off the ground and the movement that we’re trying to have them focus on doing are going to be small oscillatory movements and when I say small oscillatory movements, not that they’re moving their arms this way, that they’re trying to focus on the oscillatory movements trying to be more of a shoulder movement with the arms falling, okay? And when teaching this to younger swimmers what I found is the best progression to go through and do is starting off, just teaching them how to do the movement in an A position and once they can go through and do three sets of 30 seconds in the A position, then you can go from A to adding in the T portion and then once they develop to maturity and they can go through and handle that exercise then you go from the A to the T to the Y progression. You can go through and you can increase the complexity or have challenging exercises by going through and adding in a physioball component so now not only do we have to work on stabilizing the shoulder blades and controlling the movement there but then also going through and stabilizing the trunk.
Other exercises, the reverse dumbbell fly, I like this one just because it allows them to go through and puts them in a position where they can work on trying to emphasize retraction or pinching back from the shoulder blades, wider weights. This is going to allow you to go through and focus more than movement on the rhomboid major and minor, so focusing on how they can contribute to improving scapular stability or shoulder blade stability if we increase the weight there’s going to be more of a recruitment or more emphasis placed through the posterior deltoid and that’s when strengthening posterior deltoid more as it contributes to kind of the recovery phase for certain strokes and then also bring the arm around during recovery with butterfly. There’s that demonstrated here. Now a lot of times when you go through and you see individuals doing exercises like shoulder stabilization exercises, you seem doing a combination of internal rotation and external rotation movements, I know when you were going through training together, strength training, dry land training programs it’s, okay I had this set amount of time and I need to go through and pick out what exercises were going to be the most beneficial that I can fit in, in that time frame and you know, when you need to make a choice by far external rotation is going to be the more important exercise than internal rotation. The reason I’d say that is, with internal rotation, if you look at what swimmers are doing all day long, they’re constantly doing that internal rotation movement, the reason that we want to add this in is because we need to try and work on strengthening the rotator cuff muscles, to offset that imbalance where those internal rotators are stronger. And it targets mainly the posture rotator cuff so we’re looking here at an anterior picture and what we see back through here going to be the posture rotator cuff, particularly the infraspinatus and the teres minor.
What’s important is that when going through and doing the exercise, I usually have individuals or swimmers take a towel that they can tack in and hold it against the side of their body, the reason being is when you have your elbow all the way at the side of your body, it puts the rotator cuff muscles in a little of a position of vulnerability simply by bringing that arm out about ten degrees, it takes them out of a position of vulnerability and then also it serves as a queue when they do that rotational movement, they’re not doing what we see people go through and do sometimes is their focus to here and they’re trying to pull outwards, they keep that elbow tacked in so they really isolate it as a shoulder movement with the emphasis being that as they start to get backwards emphasizing, hold that shoulder blade down and back. Okay, when run through arms strength is a suitable contributor because I want to start to try and get into the legs and the abdomen because we are getting a little cut short on time, right, put the presentation together I thought that they weren’t going to have the business meeting so I put probably more than I could fit in, in an hour, so I just wanted to kind of try and get some more pertinent things, so when we talk about score abdominal exercises, the one I like to start off with are going to be hollow holds, reason being is it allows them to go through and focus, initially they can get in that hook line position where we talk about the pelvic tilts and then they can progress from there to setting that the core and then they add in just trying to, from that set prone position, roll the shoulders up off of the ground and with this the key things are that they want to try and focus on tightening the abdominal muscles like a corset with their shoulder six inches up off the ground and then when they take their arms forward, trying and reach towards the top part of the knees. I like this better than your classic kind of arms behind the head crunch position because no matter how many times you tell them well don’t put your fingers on your head, you always see people that emphasize and they pull forwards.
What we’re trying to do is, keep the spine in neutral and then emphasize more of the movement trying to roll forward like this. And then hollow holds by initially targeting that upper portion to that rectus abdominis, that’s what’s going through to contribute to the initial portion of the flip turn with freestyle but again knees are just a good foundational exercise, we can do that progression from pelvic tilts to holding the position of core stability to starting to starting that in hollow holds, I didn’t include variations but with the hollow holds you can go through and you can make them more difficult by going to a leg extended position, so once they’ve developed maturity and being able to do just a hollow hold and then go through and put them in a position where their legs are straight and they lift the legs up off the ground and then from there, they can start to add in a footer kick component. Watch TVs, kind of probably one that everyone has seen before, great exercise just because they can go through and they target many different areas, not only is it just a core but dependent upon the position you have them in so here it’s going to target the glute max, the hamstrings trying to hold them in an extended position but then when we go through and we put them in a sideline position, it’s going also go through an target glute med and then it’s again just easy exercise to add in, yeah.
[audience member]: How long should you keep them in a flat position [Inaudible] [1:02:47].
[IM]: Typically, what I’ll go through and do is I’ll start off watch, once they can hold watch TVs, I’ll progress here 15 seconds to 30 seconds to 45 seconds to 60 seconds, when they can hold a good watch TV position like this for 60 seconds then I’ll transition to starting to add in getting them over here, this is going to be a more challenging position, so initially starting off with about 15 seconds progressing up to 30 seconds and the progression I like to use is prone for 30, side for 15, flat to the other side for 15 and then once they’ve shown maturity with that then go 30, 30, 30 in each position. So physioball bridge, just starting to try and give you some exercises that you can add in that can start to teach how to incorporate the glute max and the hamstring muscles as they go through and they contribute to trying to learn hip extension and I think that’s where a lot of times we’re not incorporating enough exercises from a dry land standpoint for a lot of our swimmers. Starting position is here on top and then they go through, the key thing when trying to teach this is that you’re tightening the glutes and then you’re trying to go through and tighten the hamstrings as they function as hip extensions. And then a good, what I would consider to be an advanced exercise for trying to incorporate the oblique muscles is going to be physioball upper trunk rotation, so this is the position that you want to ultimately try and get to, progression that I’ll use is first I want them to be able to hold the starting position with good form for about 60 seconds.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [1:04:38]
[IM]: Okay and then I’ll go through and start to add in small rotational movements, so initially just starting from 12 o’clock to 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock and then starting to progress from there, ultimately going to where they can try and rotate all the way over to a three o’clock to a nine o’clock position.
[audience member]: [Inaudible] [1:05:05]
[IM]: It’s kind of like a rotational position and with that elbow, you’re not looking at doing like sets of 20 rotations, it’s just controlled movement like a set of six back and forth. Okay, I got the call then down to about four minutes then this is going to be kind of like speed slides, I apologize about that. So dry land wise and I really like lunges, primary reason being with lunges is that you can go through and you can modify them, you can do them straight but then you can also go through and you can add in either a diagonal component or a lateral lunge component as you begin to move outwards you start to open the hips up more which I hope to target not only the inner thigh the adaptor muscles but then also more the gluteal muscles, the glute medias and squats, kind of a standby. Why do people go through and do them? Just quickly more of my emphasis and something that I hope you go through and start to think about is with younger individuals when you’re starting to teach squats, not with weight, but with like a PVC pipe or wooden balls thinking of starting your squat progression more in this manner. The reason I like overhead squats to start off with teaching squats is that as soon as you put someone in a position like this, it almost gives them that emphasis as they squat down that they’re going to lean forward. If you point them in an overhead position just with the PVC pipe and you teach them to be tall and upright and you think, tell them you’re going to push up this ceiling as you squat down that’s going to help them keep that tall upright chest posture, so they learn that as the tall upright posture and then you can transition into more of a traditional back squat.
And then just quickly another exercise to develop from that prone bridge, to try and work on incorporating hamstrings are going to be a physioball hamstring curl where they can work on pulling the inwards. This is going to be beneficial for hamstring recruitment for your breaststrokers but then also it’s a hamstring isolation exercise which is difficult to be able to go through and do on a dry land when you don’t have like a hamstring curl machine, it can be made more difficult by going through and doing a single leg. And then last, remaining dead lifts, great exercise at going though and trying to teach people again how the gluteal muscles and the hamstring muscles contribute as hip extensors and low back extensors. I think a lot of people are afraid of going through and doing this because of kind of the dead lift thought of the exercise with these, they are safe exercises as long as you follow some key points; number one, you initiate, we don’t want to do them straight-legged. Number two: you have little bit of a bend in the hip, number three; you keep your chest up tall and on all of the QAs is just to lower the bar down until they feel stretch in their hips or the hamstrings if you keep the head up, it prevents you from rolling down and placing extra stress on the lower back area. And then that’s just what the lowering position would be and again this is just a movement pattern to go through and teach with wooden balls, PVC pipes and then progress in. So I know I ran through that kind of quickly, had a little technical glitch in the middle. Again, I included my email address just because you know, be it dry land training exercises or anything related to injuries feel free to go through and shoot me an email.
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