EVF, EVF, EVF. Early Vertical Forearm is right up there with underwater dolphin as one of the key moves and key concepts in swimming. This dryland exercise will help you understand and FEEL what EVF is all about. And… it will help you develop the muscles that help make it happen.
Why Do It:
Early Vertical Forearm is a key skill for freestyle…
It means that you’re catching the water out front and early in the pull cycle. And it means you’re catching the water not just with your palm, but also with the entire forearm — getting the forearm VERTICAL so that you can apply maximum surface area and force to the water to help you move forward.
This exercise may not look like much, but if done with focus and on a regular basis, it can help develop muscle memory for how to initiate an EVF catch. It will also help strengthen the exact group of muscles that allow EVF to happen.
How to Do It:
1. Start by lying face down on a mat, with both arms extended. Place your palms flat on the mat, with hands shoulder-width apart.
2. Rotate your arms so that the elbows come off the matt and point UP toward the ceiling. Kind of like "popping" the elbows so they rotate upward.
3. While keeping the elbows up, press DOWN on the matt with your palms. Press directly down and HOLD the press… still keeping the elbows off the matt and rotated up. This is an isometric exercise… where the muscles act against a fixed object…in this case the floor.
4. Hold the press for 5 or 6 seconds, then release… and relax.
5. Now roll the elbows again, press the palms into the mat, and hold the press again for 5 or 6 seconds.
6. Do 5 or 6 repeats, feeling the contraction of the muscles of the shoulder.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Point):
Try to minimize and isolate. Minimize the movement to JUST the rotation of the elbow. And isolate the muscle contraction to JUST the muscles of the shoulder.
Keep your chin and chest on the matt. If you lift up your body, it usually means you’re not isolating the contraction. Focus on contracting just the muscles surrounding the shoulder and scapula.
Try to memorize what it feels like to rotate the elbows and press with the palms. This is the same feeling you should get when you initiate your catch. Take this EVF feeling with you to the pool when you swim.