Sunday, January 8, 2012

Swimming with Ankle Bands

If you are not sure what ankle band swimming is, then I can assure you you have not done a set of freestyle with the nast little band around you ankles.

What makes this drill so effective, is the fact that the athlete must exhibit proper body position, a high stroke rate and effective propulsion all at the same time. This is exactly what needs to happen if you plan to swim fast in a triathlon.

Many athletes work on these three aspects of freestyle swimming independently, and then expect them to all come together when it counts.

So what is an ankle band? you can but premade rubber bands or ankle cuffs that velcro from many popular swim vendor. An inexpensive verion can be made from an 18 inch length of old bike tube tied in a knot. The band is placed around the ankle so that it is snug and prevents you from kicking.

Begin with 4-6x 25 with the ankle band with 20-30 sec rest interval. You will quickly learn if if some aspect is lacking.
1. Over glide and you will lose momentun and sink.
2. swim with a low stroke rate and you will sink.
3. Maintain poor body position, and you will sink.
4. Do not obtain a good hold on the water or VF ( vertical forearm)and you will sink.

The great thing about ankle band swimming, is that if you are able to make it across the pool, you are doing something right. Its self correcting execise/ drill.

Think if it as the swim equivolent of hill running.

Another critical benefit of ABS ( ankle band swimming)is fatigue resistance. This is the ability to maintain body position, stroke rate and pulling power as fatigue sets in.

Here is a sample set progression
1. Begin with 4-6x 25 y/m with a 1:1 work to rest ratio twice a week
2. Add 2 reps per week.
3. I like to build to 10x 50 on 1 min send off or 5x 100 on 2 min. send off.

It is important to work at ABS. At first, you will not like it, but with persistance, it can really make you a better more powerful swimmer.

If you are like my athletes, you may have some choice words following your first set of ABS. but it will work!

Coach Tim