Aqua Fun Academy
Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly Arms

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday:

Bring your arms up barely above the water and out to the sides.

This advanced swimming tip Tuesday is going to focus on the coordination of the arms during butterfly. This article will also focus on the importance of muscular balance and flexibility. The stroke itself requires a lot of upper body strength. Good upper body strength combined with the proper technique enables the swimmer to have explosive power. This application of power is required to pull the swimmer in an upward and forward motion. The arms circling forward resembling the image of a butterfly. Hence the name of this advanced stroke.

It is important to develop all the muscles in the shoulder and rotator cuff as pulling your arms forcefully around in a circular motion may cause discomfort if the muscles are unbalanced.

Exercises that strengthen the three deltoid muscles can be accomplished by both land and water exercises. Water exercises such as: water yoga or aquafit.

Further more it is equally as important to work on maintaining flexibility for rotation of the arms to prevent injury. Stretching in general is a great way to remain limber and avoid injury. When muscles and tendons become tight we are more prone exercising with improper form.

Lastly it is important to coordination when to flex and relax the arm muscles. Flexing throughout the entirety of the movement can also bring about the opportunity for injury. For example: many exercises have a phase of intensity which is when we aim to generate power. Flexing during this phase allows us to accomplish that. However if remain flexed we are sustaining a load and putting unnecessary pressure on our antagonist muscles.

In regards to executing the stroke; when pushing the arms down into the water is to try and draw the shape of a key hole. This shape allows the swimmer to generate both forward and upward momentum.

Another important factor lies when the arms are coming up out of the water. Ideally you want the back of the hands to meet in front of the face. This sets us up for drawing the key hole shape once the arms have reentered the water.

Remember exercise smart, focus on building balanced muscles and swim on. That’s all until our next swimming tip Tuesday.

Bring your arms up barely above the water and out to the sides

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday – Diving and lift off

Todays’ Swimming Tip Tuesday, we are going to discuss diving and the importance of using our legs!

When diving it is important to bend at the knees to provide proper lift off.

A common mistake amongst new divers happens when we forget to use our legs correctly, especially during a standing dive. Trying to generate force without bending at the knees creates the opportunity to enter the water chest first instead of hands first. What those of us familiar with diving blunders call a “belly flop”. To avoid this painful lesson, here are some tips about how to position ourselves to enter the water hands first.

From the start push your feet down into the ground preparing to jump, pointing where you want to enter the water with your hands. Remember to keep your hands together, throughout the glide phase of your dive.

  • Place feet side by side

If this is uncomfortable, one may spread their feet no wider than shoulder width apart. This marks our take off point, make sure ones’ toes are as close to the edge of the pool as possible.

  • Bend at the knees till about mid-squat position

This position allows the swimmer to prepare for proper execution of the dive. Furthermore, holding this position we will want to push off with our toes pointed towards our take off point.

  • Bend at the hips bringing the upper body close to the legs.

By lowering the body, we give ourselves a closer point of entrance into the water. We also allow the swimmer to achieve the arch necessary for entering the water hands first.

Remember when moving from the take off point, we want to aim our body out. As to travel forwards, as well as upwards. The image we want to form in our mind is an half moon.

Best of Luck, and Happy Diving!Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday: Water Yoga

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday is all about Water Yoga

Why Water Yoga? Well as the old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Exercising in the water as a stand alone has a multitude of benefits for the body.

  • Reduced stress impact on joints
  • Increased blood flow due to hydro-static properties
  • Water resistance assist in balanced muscle development
  • Water buoyancy assist in maintaining as well as increasing range of motion

These are just a few of the benefits that come with working in water, when coupled with Yoga we introduce a broader list of benefits, that also incorporates a positive effect on the individuals’ mental health.

  • Reduces mental tension
  • Improves cognitive functions
  • Regulation of sleep schedule
Swimming Fit Friday

Tree Pose

Please refer to the link below for the article on Oneness and Buoyancy:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/swimming-fit-friday-oneness-buoyancy/

When combining water and yoga together, we can enhance the following benefits:

  • Postural strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Weight distribution*

When thinking of our weight, often it is simplified to how much one weighs. Contrary to this method of thinking, the distribution of weight can be broken down into and various elements. Visceral fat (around the organs) or subcutaneous fat (underneath the skin), musculature, and water weight; all of these are important. Through the movements of Yoga combined with water and performed correctly, can improve overall weight distribution.

Focusing on the overall number of our cumulative weight distracts us from achieving our fitness goals. Through Water Yoga, we can,

  • Boosts Metabolism
  • Promote and maintain muscle growth
  • Better balance and coordination
  • maintain and increase flexibility
  • Promote brain elasticity by engaging in new movements*

Working in water forces us to adjust the way we move in it. In order to properly isolate muscle groups, and safely utilize the resistance of water. Learning these new techniques and movements strengthens the motor centers in the brain, promoting brain elasticity.

aquafit-slider-2Well that just about wraps up  today’s Swimming Fit Friday. Why Water Yoga -not convinced? Seeing is believing, but why not try a class?

Check out Aqua Fun Academy’s Health and Fitness section in the link below:

http://aquafunacademy.ca/health-fitness/

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Back Crawl

In Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday: A breath is taken every time an arm completes a full cycle. Try breathing in as one arm passes your ear and exhale as the other arm passes.

Breathing, something we do every single day of our lives. Breathing in passion, and breathing out results! Breathing, as it is something we do involuntarily should be easy enough to do in the water! Integrating our movements to sync up with our breathing requires a little more thought than expected. Though while swimming on our back a swimmer has the added advantage that their face is out of the water for the duration of the stroke. So, when do we breathe? In any exercise, we want to exhale on the effort and inhale during the recovery phase.

In back crawl the effort is when the arm is re-entering the water, during the push phase. While the recovery phase is when the water enters the air, or exits the water, both of these elements are what compose a complete cycle of back crawl arms. Understanding the basic mechanics of the stroke it should be easy to break down when to breathe.

However, when back crawl is done both arms move juxtaposed. Meaning one arm is always in the opposite phase to the other. To get around this conundrum, the swimmer can focus on one arms cycle and co-ordinate their breathing in time with that arm. Our dominant arm can vary from sport to sport, so an easy way to find out which of the two is a swimmers’ dominant arm, is to take note of which arm the swimmer start their stroke with. When the swimmers dominant arm is out of the water they must remember to inhale, similarly when the swimmers dominant arm is in the water, they must remember to exhale.Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Butterfly – Dolphin Kick.

Today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday Butterfly – Dolphin Kick.

Butterfly is a more advance stroke, for it requires controlled upper body strength and coordination of the arms and legs. Because of how advance this skill is we will revisit and discuss other components in future article, so keep your eyes pealed for some helpful pro tips.

Swimming is all about transferable skills, for those who have master Breaststroke an intermediate skill in which there is a large amount of coordination involved between the upper and lower body. The coordination of arms and legs during Butterfly will come more naturally in comparison to those who are still grasping Breaststroke. Another transferable skill is mastery of dolphin kick, as it is a direct building block for the overall mastery of Dolphin Kick.

In today’s Swimming Tip Tuesday we will focus on the how to execute the dolphin kick component of Butterfly.

When executing dolphin kick a large part of the movement comes from isolation of the hips. In a streamlined position along the water, the swimmer will push their pelvis downward to generate momentum that will move down the body from the hips, thighs, knees, calves, and then feet.

This downward push of the pelvis is done twice. The first wave to allows for mostly forward momentum, the second wave is used to generate upward momentum to bring the torso and head out of the water. Allowing the swimmer to breathe.

Pro tips:

  • Swimmers often use the imagery of a mermaid tail to describe how the legs push through the water, while keeping them close together.
  • The catch in between kicks is important, you want to pull the hips up higher on the second kick to help generate more downward momentum.
  • While doing the kick the first kick will always be smaller then the second. The size of the kicks refers to the amount of downward movement from the hips.
  • Powerful downbeats of the feet then propel the body forward. Try to keep your legs close together with your ankles relaxed.Swimming Tip Tuesday
Swimming Fit Friday Natation Forme Vendredi

Swimming Fit Friday – The Importance of Stretching

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday Post we will discuss the importance of stretching.

Many of us are guilty of neglecting stretching as a part of our regular routine. Though as we age it becomes increasingly important to stretch in our daily lives. Stretching dependent on the duration and intensity can be it’s own separate work out. For example Yoga is highly focused on learning ones body but also on stretching ones body and increasing the general range of motion. Our range of motion is composed of two elements; how well we can rotate and twist around a joint, secondly, how easily are these movements accomplished. The more frequently we stretch our range of motion increases. In the water it is relatively easier to work on expanding our ROM (range of motion).

I’m going to give some pointers on a helpful stretch one can do over time to help alleviate stiffness and reduce pain, which one can do in the water, as well as on land. Though the effectiveness of these movements is greater within the water.

A stretch for those of us with tight hips, or pain radiating down the outer most portion of the thigh the following stretch can help.

The equipment needed for this stretch is a pool noodle. Though it can be done without if one has a very strong scull.Swimming Fit Friday

  • Bringing the noodle underneath ones arms and keeping good posture
  • Place your right foot over top of your left knee.
  • Just above the ankle as well as to the left of your knee apply pressure and ease yourself into a seated position.

This stretch will open up the hips. If one has good balance within the water, try to pick your foot closest to the ground off of the floor – putting the body into suspend. This will further allow you to open up your hips and stretch the IT band down the side of the leg. Hold for up to 15-30 seconds at a time, on each side. If one is doing this as a beginner on land do so while sitting on the edge of a chair to Swimming Fit Fridaymaintain proper form.Swimming Fit Friday

MotivationMonday

Swimming Motivation Monday: Failure

Today’s Swimming Motivation Monday:

Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once. – Drew Houston.

It is a well known fact that as an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Before undertaking any new adventure or endeavour, it is vital to check your mindset. Especially if it’s your first time trying something, the likelihood of failure is very high, and you need to be prepared to deal with it. You must have the guts to experiment, you must have the courage to try hundreds of different things and you must be prepared to fail. You must be prepared to learn through failure and put your ego aside. You have to admit to yourself that you’re wrong, that you don’t know anything. At least in the beginning.

It’s easy to call failure after the first setback. But preparing for the unexpected is isn’t just sound judgement, it’s solid life planning. It’s impossible to get everything right every time. The best way to cope with failure is adjusting your mindset. You can either call it a failure, or you can call it learning a lesson. If you choose to think of failure as a teacher, then you can approach the problem again, with updated information and a revised plan that accounts for your circumstances of failure in the original scenario. There’s an old saying, first attributed to German General Helmuth von Moltke, and now used the world over in all walks of life: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” When plans meet the real world, it’s not the real world that will yield to your plan; you much adapt whatever you’re doing to the circumstances truly at hand. Being caught up in your plans is like being caught up in your vehicle’s dashboard instruments. They provide local information, but they do so without context.

There is nothing out there you can’t accomplish. However, the problem with a negative thought is not just contained within that moment. One singular negative thought can often serve as a catalyst for a chain of negativity. That negativity, if gone unchecked, will lead to pessimism, and ultimately defeatism and hopelessness. The resulting cycle leads to perpetual cynicism, and an aversion to new thought, new ideas, new experiences. A helpful tip is to look for the silver lining in every situation. If you’re thinking negatively because of the fear of failure, remember you only have to be right once. No matter how dim it seems, there is always a way through. Life never throws you more than you can handle.

Remember, the master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.

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Don't Worry About Failure

MotivationMonday

Swimming Motivation Monday: Plan A

Today’s Swimming Motivation Monday:

If “Plan A” doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. – Claire Cook.

It’s easy to call failure after the first setback. But preparing for the unexpected is isn’t just sound judgement, it’s solid life planning. It’s impossible to get everything right every time. The best way to cope with failure is adjusting your mindset. You can either call it a failure, or you can call it learning a lesson. If you choose to think of failure as a teacher, then you can approach the problem again, with updated information and a revised plan that accounts for your circumstances of failure in the original scenario. There’s an old saying, first attributed to German General Helmuth von Moltke, and now used the world over in all walks of life: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” When plans meet the real world, it’s not the real world that will yield to your plan; you much adapt whatever you’re doing to the circumstances truly at hand. Being caught up in your plans is like being caught up in your vehicle’s dashboard instruments. They provide local information, but they do so without context.

There is nothing out there you can’t accomplish. However, the problem with a negative thought is not just contained within that moment. One singular negative thought can often serve as a catalyst for a chain of negativity. That negativity, if gone unchecked, will lead to pessimism, and ultimately defeatism and hopelessness. The resulting cycle leads to perpetual cynicism, and an aversion to new thought, new ideas, new experiences. A helpful tip is to look for the silver lining in every situation. If you’re thinking negatively because of the fear of failure, remember you only have to be right once. No matter how dim it seems, there is always a way through. Life never throws you more than you can handle.

Be ready for anything.

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If “Plan A” doesn’t work

MotivationMonday

Swimming Motivation Monday: Quality

Today’s Swimming Motivation Monday:

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking, – Henry Ford.

It’s been proven that people behave differently when they know they’re being watched. Suddenly there’s a need to display the best version of yourself, whether it’s to avoid criticism, to fit in, or to show off. In today’s super competitive business world it is easy to lose sight at the importance of taking pride in what you do and what you produce. But successful people always perform as if they are being watched. Even when no one is watching, they are watching themselves and hold themselves to that standard. The higher standard forms the foundation of their success, it is a reflection of their peak performance levels. The result is high quality in work, which can also positively affect those around them.

There is nothing out there you can’t accomplish. However, the problem with a negative thought is not just contained within that moment. One singular negative thought can often serve as a catalyst for a chain of negativity. That negativity, if gone unchecked, will lead to pessimism, and ultimately defeatism and hopelessness. The resulting cycle leads to perpetual cynicism, and an aversion to new thought, new ideas, new experiences. A helpful tip is to look for the silver lining in every situation. If you’re thinking negatively because of the fear of failure, remember you only have to be right once. No matter how dim it seems, there is always a way through. Life never throws you more than you can handle.

Someone with determination and an aspiration to do something in life will focus on their tasks, accomplishments and goals, instead of focusing on competition around them. Many a times, people get driven by competition around them. If you are more keen on getting ahead of others, you will never be focused on your goals because you attention is diverted elsewhere. People who are genuinely interested in achieving their goals for their self-satisfaction are those who have real talent and are keen on enhancing their skills and capabilities. This group of people will go far in life. Being the best is a byproduct of your drive to achieve.

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Quality means doing it right when no one is watching

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Front Crawl Breathing

Our Swimming Tip Tuesday of the week:

When you are swimming, exhale slowly through the mouth, nose or both. Inhale upon rotation of the head.

The most common problem swimmers have with their breathing is not exhaling under the water. If you exhale under the water between breaths you only have to inhale when you go to breathe. This makes things much easier. It also relaxes you and helps greatly with bilateral breathing.

Your exhalation should be twice as long as your inhalation. A longer exhalation leads to a more relaxed exchange of air. Sustain this breathing pattern for a minute or two and your heart rate slows, your blood pressure drops, and your muscles begin to relax. The more you master this basic skill, the more effective your endurance swim will become. This activity can also be practiced on land.

It is important to be mindful of your capacity in this exercise. If you extend your exhalation farther than your capacity allows, your body will go into survival mode and reflexively gasp on the next inhalation. You’ll need to shorten your next breath slightly in order to compensate. One way to prevent yourself from overdoing here is to focus on creating a smooth transition between your in-breath and your out-breath, and back off a bit if you feel any urge to gasp for air.

Learn more about Aqua Speed here.

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Exhale Through Mouth and Nose