General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong? Rss Feed  
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2010-04-07 11:39 PM

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Subject: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
I used the pull buoy to great effect earlier this year to get rid of a bad over-rotation. Since then, I've progressively gotten faster without the pull buoy, but still drill with it.

Here's my paces at endurance pace, though:

- Pull buoy (no fins/paddles): 2:25/100m
- No pull buoy: 2:03/100m 

I know most of you will immediately think that it's all due to some powerful kicking, but I actually try not to kick much without the pull buoy, doing a minimal 2-4 beat kick. 

I feel like with the pull buoy I lose a lot of the coordinated power of the 2-beat kick, which significantly weakens my pull. Without the kick on the same side as the stroke, I just can't get a good grip on the water. My rotation decreases with the pull buoy, and I feel like my pull power drops a fair amount.

Am I doing something wrong? Or are you FOP swimmers slower with the pull buoy as well?
 


2010-04-07 11:47 PM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
agarose2000 - 2010-04-07 10:39 PM
I feel like with the pull buoy I lose a lot of the coordinated power of the 2-beat kick, which significantly weakens my pull. Without the kick on the same side as the stroke, I just can't get a good grip on the water.
 


It sounds to me like hte pull buoy is actually (now) interfering with your ability to continue to develop and work on your technique. I think you've graduated from the pull bouy. If you don't feel that it's benefitting you, don't use it, especially if you feel it's interfering with your technique.

Having said that I have to ask why you are using the pull bouy...what you expect to get out of it?

I'm not a big favor of pool toys at all, technique is best built without them IMO, as long as you have some guidance on what to work on (videos, coach, etc)


(There will be other opinions, I know)
2010-04-08 12:10 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?

It sounds like you suffer from a good kick.  Wish I had that problem...

2010-04-08 5:39 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
Maybe you are a natural floater?

We sinkers benefit from pool buoys.  A lot.  Pace-wise, that is.

I agree with AdventureBear.  I think that tools for swimming training are mostly to avoid boredom, and the best practice for swimming is swimming.

Edited by pga_mike 2010-04-08 5:40 AM
2010-04-08 5:46 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
When I started using pull buoy last year I was slower than normal swimming but in time (4 months using it for maybe 500 yds per swim session) got slightly faster than my free. I think it emphasized  a flaw in my body position.

I only use pb for warm up and cool down as I find it puts me in similar position as swimming in my wetsuit. My ows pace and pull buoy swim pace are pretty similar. I had swim coaches tell me I fought my wetsuit in open water but after consistent time using pb and I put band around my ankle when using it, my wetsuit swimming improved.

It may just be me but for my swim issues limited pull buoy swimming helps me swim faster in open water.
2010-04-08 5:49 AM
in reply to: #2776095

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
pga_mike - 2010-04-08 6:39 AM Maybe you are a natural floater?

We sinkers benefit from pool buoys.  A lot.  Pace-wise, that is.

I agree with AdventureBear.  I think that tools for swimming training are mostly to avoid boredom, and the best practice for swimming is swimming.[/QUOTE]

x3.


2010-04-08 5:56 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
There are training plans that are big fans of pull buoy/paddles - to help build strength - and now that I injured my knee I a routinely doing 3000-3200 yards of pulling.....

I think I am getting a better sense of my arm position and the whole 'over a barrel' feeling.

supposedly a pull buoy is similar in flotation to a wetsuit so that to me says if you are going to race with a wetsuit this is a good way to figure out position in the pool.
2010-04-08 6:03 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
I train some with a pull buoy.  So do many top swimmers.  I think it helps me.  It probably helps them too.

I'm a tiny bit faster with the pull buoy.  One thing that I notice with the pb is that my core bears more responsibility for rotation, I assume because the kick is not there to help with rotation.  Like you, I kick mainly for position and rotation, not propulsion.  The pb compensates for position, but not rotation.

So maybe something there is relevant to why you are slower with the pb?  20+ seconds per hundred seems like a lot.
2010-04-08 7:52 AM
in reply to: #2776115

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Master
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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?

Strange that it slows you down that much.  May be a silly question but where are you putting the PB?

I'm not much faster with a PB if I go all out but my level of effort is much lower with a PB.  I can go all day long at a 1:25 - 1:28 pace with a PB but would drop to a 1:32 - 1:35 pace without it.



Edited by csharp1171 2010-04-08 7:53 AM
2010-04-08 8:07 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
Ironic . . . I'm significantly faster . . . which just seems WRONG.
-k
2010-04-08 8:38 AM
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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?

There was a really interesting blog post on the swim smooth blog about this exact thing based on whether you need to decrease your drag or increase your propulsion.  They divided swimmers into two groups, (kind of three) those that are faster with a buoy and those that are slower with a buoy.  Those that are faster with a buoy, for the most part, need to work on reducing their drag in the water.  Those that are slower with the buoy need to work on increasing their propulsion.  I am part of the slower group, but not because I have an awesome propulsion kick.  I barely kick when I swim, rather I fall into the third group.  I have a good body position in the water that really works to reduce my drag, but I overglide in my stroke and need to make my catch more effective and stronger.  

I have been working some on this this year and am starting to see some improvements.  Ah, there's alway something to be working on isn't there?!  So, back to the OP, I would recommend reading the post and looking at your propulsion in the water - how can you make your catch stronger and are you over gliding?



2010-04-08 8:39 AM
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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?

Who cares how fast or slow you are with a pull buoy.  Nobody is ever gonna do anything in the water that requires a clock when using training tools.  The point of a buoy, kick board, paddles, etc. is not to make you faster when using them, it's to make you faster when not using them.  It's form over fast when you're using a training aid.

And for the record, and to make you feel better, in a masters class I used to attend, I would bring up the rear by a long shot whenever we did drills with any tool.  On timed straight swimming sets, I'd only be behind the girl who was two years removed from a college swimming scholarship.  I'm typically top 10% out of the water in local races, and top 20% in larger ones, but there are some beginners that I'm helping coach that beat me by almost a quarter length on kick sets.



Edited by sesh 2010-04-08 8:41 AM
2010-04-08 8:43 AM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
OP here - normally I'd agre with all you folks who just recommend "go without", but something just doesn't seem right to me with my pull buoy slowdown. That suggest to me that I'll have a problem of some sort with a wetsuit (since I agree that the pull buoy feels like wearing a wetsuit with the leg lift) or that I've got some strange pull issue that I should resolve, since most folks swim faster with the buoy.

I noticed this when swimming in my new 50m (nice!) pool, where there are a lot of strong swimmers, all of whom are blazingly fast with the pool buoy (and without).

I'm inclined to try and "fix" this pull buoy issue if possible, since I'm a believer in that if it's hard for you but works for all the good swimmers, you're likely doing something wrong.

Wish I could get a video up but still no underwater cam yet, let alone finding someone who'd be interested in actually filming me for a good 5-10 mins. Working on it though. 
2010-04-08 9:00 AM
in reply to: #2776552

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?

agarose2000 - 2010-04-08 8:43 AM OP here - normally I'd agre with all you folks who just recommend "go without", but something just doesn't seem right to me with my pull buoy slowdown. That suggest to me that I'll have a problem of some sort with a wetsuit (since I agree that the pull buoy feels like wearing a wetsuit with the leg lift) or that I've got some strange pull issue that I should resolve, since most folks swim faster with the buoy.

I noticed this when swimming in my new 50m (nice!) pool, where there are a lot of strong swimmers, all of whom are blazingly fast with the pool buoy (and without).

I'm inclined to try and "fix" this pull buoy issue if possible, since I'm a believer in that if it's hard for you but works for all the good swimmers, you're likely doing something wrong.

Wish I could get a video up but still no underwater cam yet, let alone finding someone who'd be interested in actually filming me for a good 5-10 mins. Working on it though. 

Ok... I'm just not understanding what the problem is from your original post.

You say you used the buoy to correct a form flaw and it made you faster when free swimming.  That's what they are for!  To make you faster when you're swimming normally. 

So what's next?

I can't be sure, since I can't see what your doing, but I'd bet your arm position is all out of whack.  Use the buoy and some paddles.  If you're pulling with a straight arm, they'll let your shoulders know about it.  I would bet money you are not pulling with your lats.

2010-04-08 9:09 AM
in reply to: #2776529

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
Thanks for that article. It was EXACTLY what I was looking for, and sounds like I fit completely into the description of "overgliding" and "lack of a good pull" with wasted energy in the horizontal and vertical directions. That seems to make sense as well given that when I use paddles, my speed gets even worse than when I'm using paddles.

I'm going to add some regular paddle work to improve this pull situation. Oddly, when I use my paddles, I don't have any problems with the technical aspect of it (I grip the water very well) but with all that resistance, my stroke frequency drops to a near mudlike pace.

Thanks for the tips everyone, especially that article. Looking forward to working on it today. 
2010-04-08 12:11 PM
in reply to: #2776552

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
agarose2000 - 2010-04-08 7:43 AM

OP here - normally I'd agre with all you folks who just recommend "go without", but something just doesn't seem right to me with my pull buoy slowdown. That suggest to me that I'll have a problem of some sort with a wetsuit (since I agree that the pull buoy feels like wearing a wetsuit with the leg lift) or that I've got some strange pull issue that I should resolve, since most folks swim faster with the buoy.

I noticed this when swimming in my new 50m (nice!) pool, where there are a lot of strong swimmers, all of whom are blazingly fast with the pool buoy (and without).

I'm inclined to try and "fix" this pull buoy issue if possible, since I'm a believer in that if it's hard for you but works for all the good swimmers, you're likely doing something wrong.

Wish I could get a video up but still no underwater cam yet, let alone finding someone who'd be interested in actually filming me for a good 5-10 mins. Working on it though. 


10 seconds of film is enough. Just have someone shoot 1/2 lenght of you from underwater about 2 lanes away. it will take less than a minute of their time. I'm sure lots of peope at the pool would do it and you could offer to film them in return and email them a private link to the video on montionbox or youtube.

I understand the wanting to "fix" the issue...but you really need to find out if the issue lies with your whole stroke swimming or not. "Most people" have hips and legs that sink, therefore they are faster with the pullbouy because it decreases drag. You may be someone who has great horizontal body line and the pull bouy is acutally increasing drag due to it's profile, as well as interfering with your rotation.

Whne you figure otu what's NOT workign with the pull bouy, fix it in your whole stroke swimming...not your pull bouy swimming.


2010-04-08 2:36 PM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
i have a long history of training and racing swimming (USS, HS, NCAA Div.I, 1650 was one of my best events) and i have historically, always been slower with a pull buoy on (you aren't alone). with paddles and buoy i can get close to my swimming pace but its never as fast. i use the pull buoy/ paddles as a training tool to zero in on the use of my upper body. this also helps me with feeling the rotation from my core, since i can no longer use my legs to aid with rotation and forward propulsion. paddles also help me with my feel for the water and if i am not pushing all the way through my stroke. isolation (pulling only/ kicking only) has helped me work on technique and strength over the years.

try to get underwater footage but in the meantime, have someone film you from up top as well. get in a good warm up, then have someone film you from the front, side and back while you are swimming. when filming swimmers, i like to get footage at the beginning, middle and end of a longer swim ("longer" is relative) so lets say the swimmer generally starts to fatigue around the 500m point. i might have them swim a 600 where i film parts of the first 100, the 300 mark and then during the last 100. in your case, i would also have them film you w/ the pull buoy (the same way)...this way you can "see" what you are doing when you aren't using your legs and also what happens to your stroke as you fatigue.

why is this important in the grand scheme of things? here is how it helped me: back in my freshman year of college i was struggling with getting my pace/100 to decrease. we spent a ton of time swimming w/ paddles, buoy and bands (wrapped around the ankles to further lock the legs together). what did i learn? my hips were moving side to side when i pull, thus pushing my body out of line and slowing me way down.  news to me, because i didn't have that issue when i was swimming. but spending that time pulling was what enabled me to see that i was not holding my core tight enough and i was relying too much on my legs for the rotation. once i fixed this issue, my pace dropped significantly.

once you look over the film you can see if what is happening to your stroke when you pull vs. swim. that is the first step in making to corrections to become a more efficient, faster and happier swimmer.
2010-04-08 2:46 PM
in reply to: #2777883

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
vApoLY04 - 2010-04-08 1:36 PM

i have a long history of training and racing swimming (USS, HS, NCAA Div.I, 1650 was one of my best events) and i have historically, always been slower with a pull buoy on (you aren't alone). with paddles and buoy i can get close to my swimming pace but its never as fast. i use the pull buoy/ paddles as a training tool to zero in on the use of my upper body. this also helps me with feeling the rotation from my core, since i can no longer use my legs to aid with rotation and forward propulsion. paddles also help me with my feel for the water and if i am not pushing all the way through my stroke. isolation (pulling only/ kicking only) has helped me work on technique and strength over the years.

try to get underwater footage but in the meantime, have someone film you from up top as well. get in a good warm up, then have someone film you from the front, side and back while you are swimming. when filming swimmers, i like to get footage at the beginning, middle and end of a longer swim ("longer" is relative) so lets say the swimmer generally starts to fatigue around the 500m point. i might have them swim a 600 where i film parts of the first 100, the 300 mark and then during the last 100. in your case, i would also have them film you w/ the pull buoy (the same way)...this way you can "see" what you are doing when you aren't using your legs and also what happens to your stroke as you fatigue.

why is this important in the grand scheme of things? here is how it helped me: back in my freshman year of college i was struggling with getting my pace/100 to decrease. we spent a ton of time swimming w/ paddles, buoy and bands (wrapped around the ankles to further lock the legs together). what did i learn? my hips were moving side to side when i pull, thus pushing my body out of line and slowing me way down.  news to me, because i didn't have that issue when i was swimming. but spending that time pulling was what enabled me to see that i was not holding my core tight enough and i was relying too much on my legs for the rotation. once i fixed this issue, my pace dropped significantly.

once you look over the film you can see if what is happening to your stroke when you pull vs. swim. that is the first step in making to corrections to become a more efficient, faster and happier swimmer.


Great post.

Although Id venture that for most non Div I NCAA swimmers, the video footage at the beginning of a swim is probably a good start. that is, most strokes are probably not developed enough that the "fresh" stroke can't provide a lot of good feedback for identifying points to improve.
2010-04-08 4:27 PM
in reply to: #2776552

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
agarose2000 - 2010-04-08 8:43 AM OP here - normally I'd agre with all you folks who just recommend "go without", but something just doesn't seem right to me with my pull buoy slowdown. That suggest to me that I'll have a problem of some sort with a wetsuit (since I agree that the pull buoy feels like wearing a wetsuit with the leg lift) or that I've got some strange pull issue that I should resolve, since most folks swim faster with the buoy.

I noticed this when swimming in my new 50m (nice!) pool, where there are a lot of strong swimmers, all of whom are blazingly fast with the pool buoy (and without).

I'm inclined to try and "fix" this pull buoy issue if possible, since I'm a believer in that if it's hard for you but works for all the good swimmers, you're likely doing something wrong.

Wish I could get a video up but still no underwater cam yet, let alone finding someone who'd be interested in actually filming me for a good 5-10 mins. Working on it though. 


Bingo. You use equipment to isolate and work on parts of your stroke, so you do that and find it a struggle or find problems, why would you scrap the equipment? 
It's like when people have trouble doing certain stroke drills, so they stop doing those in favor of the ones they're good at. Doesn't make sense.

I'm not sure what the problem is from what you've written. My first thought, like others, is that you have a heavy dependance on the kick, but it could be that you feel really unnatural with your legs that high and it throws off your stroke. Filming and posting is my first suggestion, but if nothing else, I would experiment a little with the buoy on.

 For what it's worth, I'm slower through the water with just a pull buoy as well. Give me some paddles though and I can do some damage.
2010-04-08 4:30 PM
in reply to: #2778271

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?

10% slower with the bouy.  My typical average training pace is about 1:35/100.  With the bouy, it's about 1:45/100.

2010-04-08 6:32 PM
in reply to: #2775990

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Subject: RE: Significantly slower with a pull buoy - am I doing something wrong?
Update today- did a bunch of paddle work, with no pull buoy, and was swimming pretty much as fast as I can without the paddles. I don't have any problems with my pull with the paddles, even when pulling as hard as I can. (Got down to 1:53/100m with the paddles and no pull buoy)

Put the pull buoy on, and lost 15sec/100 of speed right off the bat.  

I'm starting to really suspect that the pull buoy kills my hydrodynamicness - my Speedo one isn't particularly small.  The fact that some of you strong swimmers seem to experience this is also somewhat suggestive.


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