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This simple body position technique is the swim secret coaches rarely talk about


– So, there’s some footage
here that I want to show you to explain what I mean about tautness. (upbeat instrumental music) Everything is stretched out
basically as long as it can be. (upbeat instrumental music) – I am piece by piece
teaching on how to hold different portions of your body properly. – Morning, trainiacs. It is currently minus 13,
five 46 in the morning, and we are locked out of the Pan Am Pool. It’s a tundra out there. I joke about being on the frozen tundra, but we are on the frozen tundra. (upbeat instrumental music) Alright, I’m going out there. Wish me luck. (upbeat instrumental music) So later today, we are
doing a podcast interview with Jerry Rodriguez, and doing research yesterday, I gleaned a couple of really good tips about tautness, tautness. We’ll talk about that after I swim. (upbeat instrumental music) So there’s some footage
here that I want to show you to explain what I mean about tautness before we get into what Jerry
Rodriguez is talking about. Here we’ve got footage of
Trevor from our swim group, who is around, I think,
just under a five minute, 30 second per 400 meter time trial. I, on the bottom, am about
a six minute, nine second. Seems like that 39 seconds
is not a huge deal, but when you get into a race, he’s going to be somewhere around a minute to two minutes faster than I am, even in a wetsuit. Take out a wetsuit and
just do a non wetsuit swim, he’s going to be like well
into that two minutes, because he’s just a better swimmer. He’s constantly going past me. And what we can look at here is we’ve got a side on angle. If you look at Trevor from
the foot to the fingertips, everything is stretched
out basically as long as it could be. His leg is almost straight here, his body is really stretched out. His arm is way in front of him, whereas my leg, even
though I’m kicking here, you can see that it’s not like I’m really trying to be long and lean. My body has this V shape, so I’m not stretched out as long as he is. My arm, same thing. I’m kind of tucking it in, and he’s, I want to say,
three or four inches taller than I am, but from foot to fingertips, his vessel, like the
entire length of his body, is probably stretched out
more than a foot longer, and we can see it from
the other angle too here, where my feet are just
a little bit cut off, so I wouldn’t be quite
so far in behind him, but you can see that there’s
probably a difference of 12 to 14 inches, and in real life, what this means is, let’s say you had, in a water, on one side of you, a
long, stiff, straight log that was floating in the water. On the other side of you is a pool noodle. Even though the pool
noodle weighs so much less, if you try to push the log, it flies. You try to push the pool noodle, it basically doesn’t go anywhere because something that is all wiggly creates a ton of drag, so what Jerry Rodriguez talks about is having tautness in your body, strengthening your core so
you can get long and limber and stretch out, and
how hydrodynamics works, basically the drag of our
body interacts with the water. It’s like aerodynamics, but in the water. The longer a vessel is,
the faster it’s going to be in the water, so the two
drills that Jerry recommends to improve your tautness is one, vertical kicking, and you can start out with as little as 15 seconds, and what that does is
you’ll feel it instantly, is you’ll feel your body elongate and you’ll feel tightness
right here in your solar plexus and on the side. You’ll feel your body
starting to pull itself because it’s really got no choice. What I then did was after about 15 seconds of vertical kicking, I’d start
kicking towards my stomach, holding that feeling in
my stomach and my core, as well as I could, and it allowed me to get the sensation of what
a long, taut vessel is like. The second thing that he recommends, I’ve been talking about
for the last few weeks, but I’ve never thought
about it in regards to this, is kicking with a snorkel on, now as opposed to kicking
to practice your kick and propulsion where, for
most of us age groupers, because we don’t have flexible ankles, if we developed an awesome kick, it might amount to 10 to
12% of our total propulsion. However, if we can use that
kick to practice the feeling of long tautness by having a snorkel, stretching a kick board
way out in front of us, and keeping our body nice and elongated, that’s a way that we
can practice being taut. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to actually let you hear it from the horse’s mouth himself, right from the man. We’re going to get Jerry
Rodriguez on a video after we do our podcast and you can hear him explain
tautness, taut, taut. I like the sounds of that, tautness. Which I think most recently, your special project
has been Lionel Sanders, who has obviously been a. – Name a few people might have heard. – Name a few people might have heard. (upbeat instrumental music) So we’re here with Jerry. We just did the podcast, and as I just mentioned before, I’ve been talking about tautness, your concept about structure
and posture in the water since listening to your
podcast about it yesterday. Probably just easiest if you
explain what tautness is, and how people can work on it. – Tautness is the body’s
structural integrity and how we hold our posture
in the water when swimming. The thing is, it’s difficult to do, or more difficult to do in
water than it is on land because of the heavy
subsidy of your weight. Once in water, a person’s
weight is displaced quite a bit and it’s a lot easier to sort
of get slouchy or scrunchy in the water, so we have to learn how to hold ourselves properly, so we need to do a number
of things in training, in the swimming pool, to
have the body recognize, and the mind, especially, what
you need to be thinking about while swimming, and it starts
off with that foundation, which is tautness, how you
hold yourself properly. You know, you can have all
the power in the world, but if your structural
integrity’s really loose, that power is displaced
in lots of different ways. It’s not going where you want it to go. As an example, you know those
little toys that kids have, long, skinny, torpedo. – Okay, yeah. – They’re firm in structure, right? And you have the little wings in the back and you push them in the water and they go really fast. Remember as a little kid
playing with those things? – Yeah, yeah. – Well there’s a reason
why they go really fast, and they go fast because
of how they’re shaped and the structural integrity
that they have to them. If those things were soft and pliable, they wouldn’t go very fast underwater. – So the couple of drills
that I tried out today that you had recommended,
one is the vertical kicking and the second was kicking with a snorkel, but not for propulsion
or working on your kick, but for body position
and feeling that long, stretched out position. Is there anything else that
swimmers should be working on? – I believe it’s in
podcast number 41 or 42 where I really go into
a step by step breakdown on how to achieve tautness because you’re not going
to get it in one session. This is several weeks’ time you
need to progress through it, so you’ll start off with
simple kicking with fins and learning how to hold
your upper body properly, not having any rocking of the shoulders, and it’s pice by piece
teaching on how to hold different portions of your body properly, so very progressive in nature. – So, there you go, tautness.

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