COMBO � Single-Arm IM

Jan 14, 2005
COMBO � Single-Arm IM

Most of the time, we think about drilling as working on ONE aspect of ONE stroke. We don't usually think about combining several drills into a set or a continuous swim, but this can be really interesting and challenging.

This week's drill is actually an IM sequence of single-arm drills (except for breaststroke), all of which have the same theme: BODY ROTATION. We didn't use single-arm breaststroke in this sequence because we want to give you a chance to really stretch out and think LONG for one of the lengths.

single-arm IM

Why Do it:
For those of you who�d like to do more IM work, but find it a bit too tough for long sets, you can alternate, or incorporate this type of drilling into your set. And you don't have to drill fly, back, and free every time. You can insert a drill into just ONE of those three strokes if you want to focus on just that one stroke.

You can even go fast on some of these drills. But if you choose to go fast, just make sure you�re getting the MEANING of each drill. Don�t sprint through it just to make an interval.

How To Do It:

1. Starting with single-arm fly. Do 2 strokes with the left arm, then 2 strokes with the right arm, and then switch to full stroke for the rest of the length. This type of single-arm fly, with the hand flying much higher in the air, and breathing to the side, focuses the attention more on your hips. The arm that you're not using should be extended out in front, and be careful to keep that lead arm shallow or near the surface. Many swimmers have a tendency to drive that hand down and to dive down too far.

After you�ve complete the single-arm strokes, move directly, and without losing your rhythm, into full-stroke butterfly. The swimmer shown here is also working on varying the width of his entry. He starts with a wide entry, then tries to move his hands in a bit on each stroke, and then reaches for the wall.

2. After your turn to backstroke, get ready for three strokes with your right arm, then 3 strokes with your left arm (or reverse; personal pref on this one). Hold the non-stroking arm at your side (rather than over your head). Your focus is ROTATION, and you can use your shoulders to help you focus. Most swimmers think that the shoulder of the non-stroking arm (the one at your side) is the one to focus on, and the only one that needs to rotate. WRONG! It's easy to rotate -- or "show" -- the shoulder of that non-stroke arm, but the real challenge of this drill is to rotate and "show" the shoulder of the stroking arm. When the stroking arm pulls down, you don't have a lead arm to balance you or leverage you, and it's easy for you to stop rotating at that point. Make sure you show BOTH shoulders on every stroke that you take.

After you�ve completed three strokes with each arm, switch to full-stroke backstroke, but continue to focus on the rotation.

3 As soon as you push off the wall for breaststroke, switch your focus to LENGTH! Begin the length with a double underwater pull. This will get you WAY down the pool. Continue to focus on this LENGTH by using two-down, one-up breaststroke (breaststroke with an extra kick). Stay deep and in a streamline position when you�re under, and time your pulls to continue a good rhythm.

4. As you move to freestyle, you return to a single-arm stroke. Start with either your right or left arm for three single-arm strokes. Keep you non-stroking arm at your side (rather than extended). Again, your focus and attention is on full rotation to both sides. After you�ve completed the single-arm strokes, move to whole-stroke freestyle, trying to maintain that great rotation you�ve just worked on.


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

Try to maintain a flowing, steady rhythm, especially when you switch from one arm to the other.

When you switch from one side to the other, make sure you�ve got good rotation on that stroke, especially on fly.

Remember what it is that you�re thinking about on each of the drills, and over-do it a bit. Really rotate when you need to, and stay really long when you can.

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