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There's a right way to freestyle.

swimming is another crosstraining gem that won't result in impact-induced musculoskeletal musculoskeletal /mus·cu·lo·skel·e·tal/ (-skel´e-t'l) pertaining to or comprising the skeleton and muscles.

Relating to or involving the muscles and the skeleton.
 stress, and it provides a full-body workout in a cool setting to boot. Yet many people fail to enjoy swimming. This may be due in part to the assumption that we are swimming correctly, and that the sport is unduly taxing and inherently unpleasant. A walk through proper crawlstroke form could greatly improve it and enhance your enjoyment of this undervalued Undervalued

A stock or other security that is trading below its true value.

The difficulty is knowing what the "true" value actually is. Analysts will usually recommend an undervalued stock with a strong buy rating.
 sport. By maximizing your efficiency and achieving a regular, relaxed breathing pattern in the water, you may reassess swimming as an enjoyable variation in your training, and not simply the dreaded first leg of a triathlon.

Remember that you need not, and most likely should not, swim continuously. Fatigue will only exaggerate flaws in technique. You might try a 10-second rest for every 50 meters; it's fine to rest after each pool length, concentrating on one aspect of your stroke form at a time.

The Balancing Act. First, practice discovering a relaxed, balanced position in the water. Lay belly-down in the water and with your legs extended, consciously protrude pro·trude
1. To push or thrust outward.

2. To jut out; project.
 your chest; this will bring your buttocks buttocks /but·tocks/ (but´oks) the two fleshy prominences formed by the gluteal muscles on the lower part of the back.  up like a see-saw and balance you. Relax your neck and look down and slightly ahead of you. This is the position from which you'll want to begin.

The Entry. Next, bring your right elbow up and out of the water, palm facing away from your body. You'll feel a need to rotate your left shoulder deeper into the water; do so. When your right arm is bent (at a 90-degree angle) above your head out of the water, with your hand about to stab the water 12 inches or so in front of your head, your head should be turned to the right, with your face out of the water. Inhale. The real surprise for many novice swimmers is that you should take a fresh breath with each, or at the very least, every second stroke. How is that necessary? For one thing, the strokes aren't as frequent as they may seem. Swimming fast does not demand a high cadence. A swimmer's rhythm is more like a figure skater's: power, followed by glide. Secondly, you should take only small amounts of air with each breath, concentrating more on a forceful exhale exhale /ex·hale/ (eks´hal) to breathe out.

1. To breathe out.

2. To emit a gas, vapor, or odor.
 than a deep inhale. Never hold your breath.

The Catch. As your right arm enters the water, straighten it as if reaching for something floating on the water ahead of you. This will feel natural as your neck straightens and you rotate your face down into the water. As you affix affix v. 1) to attach something to real estate in a permanent way, including planting trees and shrubs, constructing a building, or adding to existing improvements.  your eyes just a few feet ahead, cup the water with your right hand and, keeping your elbow high, pull using both your hand and forearm as one large, powerful paddle. Begin exhaling ex·hale  
v. ex·haled, ex·hal·ing, ex·hales

a. To breathe out.

b. To emit air or vapor.

2. To be given off or emitted.
 now. Don't go for choppy turnover here--stay with the pull phase until your hand is brushing your thigh in a long, efficient stroke.

The Pull. You'll feel your torso want to rotate; go with it. Let the rotation of your hips provide the key power source, in the same way the hips rotate when you throw a baseball. Take care not to let your elbow drop into the water or get ahead of your hand. Think of the elbow as the end of a broom and your cupped fingers as the bristles. Note that power early in the pull is not as desirable as power once the hand gets past your navel on its way to the thigh. This is when you'll need to accelerate. For most of the pull phase, let your body travel over your hand as opposed to pulling your hand under your body. Once you graze the thigh (but never before), stop pulling, rest your arm and release your hold on the water. This important continuation of the pull past the thigh is also known as the "push" phase.

Repeat. Once your right arm is straight at your side, lift your left elbow up to the sky. Now the left side of your body will rotate toward the water's surface. Swing your left hand out of the water and into the pre-entry position, applying the broom principle--in reverse--to keep the out-of-water motion as efficient as possible. Rotate your head to the left, and as your face catches daylight, inhale once more. Stab the water 12 inches ahead of you (thumb and index finger first) to begin the left-side entry phase.

Follow your hand with your face. That is, as your hand comes up out of the water initially, you are turned toward it. As it hits the water, you're almost facing forward. Don't forget to extend before pulling. Then, once the pull begins, your face should be underwater. Exhale as you launch your body forward once more, rotating right as the left hand passes the navel.

During this, your right arm is recovering. The two hands should meet just below the sternum sternum: see rib. , but remember the plane of motion is different: the left hand is pulling water, the right hand is moving straight up and out of the water as the elbow points skyward sky·ward  
adv. & adj.
At or toward the sky.

skywards adv.
, preparing for the reverse sweep motion that sets up re-entry RE-ENTRY, estates. The resuming or retaking possession of land which the party lately had.
     2. Ground rent deeds and leases frequently contain a clause authorizing the landlord to reenter on the non-payment of rent, or the breach of some covenant, when the

Meanwhile, you're legs will naturally want to scissor scissor

pertaining to scissors; like scissors in effect.

scissor bite
see scissor bite.

scissor mouth
a narrow space between the rami of the mandible so that the molar arcades do not meet.
. Point your toes and relax your knee joints. Don't attempt a piston-like motion; let your legs play along in the same tempo as your upper body. The name of the game is smooth efficiency.

(Adapted from Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week by Eric Harr, Rodale, 2003, 242 pp. $18.95)

RELATED ARTICLE: The Result is Clear

Wearing goggles goggles,
n the protective eyewear worn by dental personnel and patients during dental procedures.


see periocular leukotrichia.
 when you swim will increase your enjoyment dramatically--but not if they fog up Verb 1. fog up - get foggy; "The windshield fogged up"
cloud, overcast - make overcast or cloudy; "Fall weather often overcasts our beaches"
. To avoid this, visit a sporting goods Noun 1. sporting goods - sports equipment sold as a commodity
commodity, trade good, good - articles of commerce

sports equipment - equipment needed to participate in a particular sport
 store and purchase anti-fog solution. Rub it on both sides of the lenses and leave it for several minutes. Only then should you rinse it off.
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Title Annotation:The Crosstraining Report
Publication:Running & FitNews
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:Fitting your bicycle to your body.
Next Article:Look to the open trail.

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