COMBO – Oil Rigs

My good buddy Dave showed me this drill recently. He uses it to develop power in his arms, and to improve his timing and coordination. He likes the teamwork aspect as well.

Oil Rigs help your body acquire the feeling of flying through the water as your arms are in the power phase of a breaststroke underwater pull, or a strong butterfly stroke. You’ll notice Andrew (Dave’s roommate) using a breaststroke kick to help him get back up, while Dave sometimes simply uses a dolphin kick. Feel free to alternate, or experiment to see which kick feels more natural to you.

Why Do It:

I always feel like writing… WHY NOT here, but I’ll avoid sarcasm. Seriously though, Oil Rigs are a nice break from the usual rigors of training, and are a fun way to develop good teamwork. Swimming is such an individual sport that it�s nice, sometimes, to find drills that require TEAMWORK to make them work. It�s even better when the drill teaches BOTH partners about their stroke. In the case of Oil Rigs, the better you work together, the more you’ll get from the drill.

How To Do It:
1. Take a look at the video clip. This will make it easier to understand the following instructions.

2. First, you’re going to need DEEP water. Trying this in 5 feet of water means each swimmer is simply going to be jumping off the bottom. If you don’t have deep water, there are other tricks to getting the same effect, but it’s more horizontal, and you have to swim toward each other… maybe we’ll show that later.

3. Lock forearms and hold on tight. The idea is not to use too much wrist movement. You want to develop a solid, straight surface from elbows to fingertips. You�ll then use this surface to PRESS down and through the water.

4. Use gravity to allow the first swimmer to sink, while the other swimmer kicks a bit higher in the water. When completely extended as shown, the bottom swimmer uses his forearms to YANK the other swimmer down into the water as he attempts to SHOOT OUT above the surface.

5. Once you finish the pulling phase, you are pretty much at the mercy of the lower swimmer. This works best when a smooth rhythm is used, alternating quickly. When it�s your turn to be above the water�make sure you BREATHE!

6. As stated before, alternate kicks to help you get moving… dophin, or breaststroke. See how many times you can smoothly alternate up and down, developing a smooth relationship between power and rhythm. You’ll see that if one swimmer tries too hard, the rhythm will be thrown off, and it’ll just start to feel awkward.

Of course, swimmers of similar strengths should be teamed up.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):

Feeling the rhythm of your partner, and working together is the key here. Too many swimmers approach the sport thinking only of maximum power. Sometimes you have to learn how NOT to pull as hard as you can, but rather learn to work with the water. This is a good drill to practice that. If you want to do more than just a couple Oil Rigs, you’ll have to match your partner, rather than overpower him/her.

See how quickly you can alternate while still staying high enough for each athlete to continue to get good air. This will also require a good kick to stop you from going too deep.

Now go grab a friend, and have some fun.