Stroke Effort

2 months 6 days ago - 2 months 6 days ago #31809 by SpaceSputnik
A dumb newbie question (as an a dumb question coming from a newbie, not a question from a dumb newbie :D)

So, my first season in a ski, an Epic V7 (which is probably irrelevant). I have been putting in hours to get my basics in order. Seating position, leg drive and rotation. This all seem to be improving and I am understanding most of it.
One thing however that bothers me is that I feel like I always fight the water so to speak. Just seem to always want to go faster and put in too much power in each stoke. It seems kinda wrong to me. I can put in 10 km paddle with no particular issues, but if I want to go 20-30 km, it will probably kill me way more than it should. My other activity is weight-lifting and the mental patterns I have for that probably don't help on the water.

So...how do you mentally define the amount of power to put into a stoke when you paddle for speed and distance (i.e. not busting it to make it on top of a wave, but rather cover 10-20k in a decently short time).
Is it a light effort with increasing cadence as you build up speed? Or something of that sort?

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2 months 5 days ago #31811 by kwolfe
I'm a few seasons into paddling now and can tell you that I had the same issue in the beginning. My shoulders would be wore out after a good paddle.

A couple of things. First, try and get a GPS watch and strap it to your footrest. Then try and pick a reasonable pace and keep it. This way you can see if you are speeding up because you feel the need to achieve an "effort" level.

The other thing I am working on now is trying hard not to pull with my arms at all. Hands and arms are only to control the paddle while putting it in the water and taking it out. The rest is done through the lats, core, and legs. It definite gives me more longevity because these are way bigger muscle groups.

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2 months 5 days ago #31812 by SpaceSputnik
+1 on all the points. Have the GPS watch on the footstrap and my shoulders don't get tired since the power comes from legs-core and a bit lats at the end of a stroke. I also record a video during each paddle.
When I work out one or two days after I feel that what is tired is legs, core and lats legs being the most affected and lats least affected so I guess that part is going right.

An interesing observation from my last paddle is that immediately after a mad sprint to catch a wave the effort feels ligther. Something to do with muscle control and discipline.

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2 months 5 days ago #31814 by mcnye1
Good advise above. To add to that, I find a heart rate monitor to be invaluable when racing/training. I have a chest strap HRM that connects wirelessly to my Garmin 310XT attached to my foot strap. Generally, I set a target for the race that will leave a little energy in the bank for extra effort the last km or so if needed. Sometimes I have two targets, a little higher for upstream/upwind and lower for down. To add to that, I have three paddles of different sizes that I choose from depending upon race length/conditions. For the longest races and/or those with hard paddling conditions (upwind/upstream/shallow water) I choose the smallest paddle. For shorter races or easier conditions, I choose one of the larger paddles depending. With practice, you will get pretty good selecting the right paddle and HRM target.
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2 months 5 days ago #31816 by PSwitzer
SS, do you mean to say that you simply haven't figured out how to pace the effort for a given distance? Versus "fighting the water" meaning losing efficiency which makes it hard to maintain speed over a specific distance?

If you're simply having pacing issues, then realize the effort for 10 km (1 hour ish?) can be above the anaerobic theshold, versus 30 km will need to be below AT. Without a HR monitor you can recognize the AT as roughly the effort level where your breathing rate markedly increases. So if you're going for 30 km, and 10 minutes in you're already breathing hard, you know you need to back off to prevent a flameout

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2 months 5 days ago #31817 by SpaceSputnik

PSwitzer wrote: SS, do you mean to say that you simply haven't figured out how to pace the effort for a given distance? Versus "fighting the water" meaning losing efficiency which makes it hard to maintain speed over a specific distance?

If you're simply having pacing issues, then realize the effort for 10 km (1 hour ish?) can be above the anaerobic theshold, versus 30 km will need to be below AT. Without a HR monitor you can recognize the AT as roughly the effort level where your breathing rate markedly increases. So if you're going for 30 km, and 10 minutes in you're already breathing hard, you know you need to back off to prevent a flameout


This is useful, thanks.

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2 months 5 days ago - 2 months 5 days ago #31820 by zachhandler
If you already lift weights and want to attack the water and go harder all the time, the it is pretty clear that strength and fitness are not going to be limiting factors for quite some time. Maybe a few seasons. Technique is what is limiting you at this point. I am sure you have all ready read all the usual things on the web, but reading and understanding and thinking you are doing it right does not translate very predictably into actually doing it right. That is based on my own experience and that of every paddler I know.

Remember if you are pulling so hard that the blade is agitating the water and moving towards you through the water (rather than you moving toward it) then you are spilling water off the blade and losing huge efficiency. Focus on a silent catch with zero air bubbles, then do the stroke with the legs and core and lats, but focus on finding the movement with the blade that makes the water feel rock hard against the blade. when the water is rock hard, then you can actually use your strength and fitness to apply power to the blade efficiently.
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2 months 5 days ago #31821 by SpaceSputnik
Yes, exactly the points I am working on. Not much pulling, mostly leg-core-punch out.
My catch is not perfect but improving.

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2 months 5 days ago - 2 months 5 days ago #31822 by SpaceSputnik
Just to use the opportunity to get feedback, here is a fragment of my most recent paddle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyW5GnIX6Ik&feature=youtu.be

One thing immediately obvious is that my paddle is off-center and I am not properly submerging the blade on the right side...I need to watch it.
Another thing I should mention is that there's no particular pulling action, the paddle mostly is dragging. Maybe I should take it out earlier.

Any feedback is super welcome!

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2 months 4 days ago - 2 months 4 days ago #31828 by RedBack
Hey Sputnik!

Great to see another paddler on the water. Welcome to our world!

In watching your video, I can see you're certainly putting a lot of effort into each stroke and you're also "separating" the strokes too (which is important).

A couple of observations:

1. You need to bury the blade fully and much earlier. The blade should enter the water and be fully submerged by the time it reaches your foot. This will necessitate a lot more rotation than you're currently using.
2. To get that rotation and to have the blade enter as vertically as possible, you'll need to have a much higher release at the back of the stroke. This will involve keeping your stroke arm straighter and only allowing it to bend as the blade releases from the water, then bringing the released arm up to ear level, - don't let the blade drag in the water.
3. Related to the observation above, notice the angle at which your blade is entering the water, - pretty close to 45 degrees. The optimum angle is somewhere above 65 degrees in order to get the wing to generate "lift" across the blade's surface during the power phase. (If you're unfamiliar with this concept, reply, and I'll post a link to an article that explains the physics of the blade's shape.) Getting a high angle is a little more difficult in a boat as wide as the V7, but still doable.
4. You're "pumping" your rudder pedals (we all do it!) but you're doing it "a lot" and a washing-off speed off as you go. Drive with your heels and try to keep your toes off the pedals.
5. I could be wrong (nothing unusual!) but your leg drive seems to be "going through the motions" rather that actually generating power. Make sure you're feeling the weight of the blade transferred to your heel as you drive that initial movement at the catch.

I suspect we're of similar age (60ish?) so I understand the limitations of our respective bodies!

With that in mind, the following video demonstrates the elements discussed above. This was taken at the end of a 60 rep x 30 sec sprint session, so I was (to use an Australian vernacular) rooted!, - consequently, my technique was by that stage, pretty ordinary! :-)
However, - the basics are still there (despite the early leg drive and premature rotation (left side) and crap trim control of the boat and splayed leg movement, etc. etc).



If you look at your video, then the other, I think you'll see what I mean in the comments above.

Keep up the good work! For someone who's just getting into the sport, you're doing well!

PS: Ocean Paddling is what makes this sport special, - get into it! Below is a quick video of a relaxed down-wind with a friend of mine. I'm on the right. Best fun you can have sitting down! :-)
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2 months 4 days ago #31830 by sski
thanks for posting those videos! Would u pls post the wing blade physics link?

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2 months 4 days ago - 2 months 4 days ago #31840 by SpaceSputnik
Thanks, I will go through your points...from a quick read I think I am understanding most. Thanks for addressing the entry angle and position, I wasn't clear on that. I don't think I can very easily bury the blade at the foot due to being a pretty short/stockyish person (and no, my hams are not tight, and no my belly is not that large :D). I can do it probably it just feels like I am stretching my entire upper body in that case.

Just yesterday I realized that my foot plate was too far. Moved it a bit and just air-paddling in a boat in my garage I feet that it would make a lot more power.

Thanks. It's probably my 5th or 6th time out...at least I can now sit in the dang boat for 2-3 hours :D

60-ish...no not quite there yet :D I blame the camera amd lighting :D

Ocean is not in the cards, but lake Ontario will have to do :)

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2 months 4 days ago #31841 by RedBack
SSKI:

Some light reading... (Old but still valid).

people.eng.unimelb.edu.au/imarusic/proceedings/11/Jackson.pdf

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2 months 3 days ago #31844 by Davidw
My very amateur observation: you're pulling before the blade is fully submerged. So your blade is already accelerating before it hits the water.

If you watch the Ivan Lawler video he describes this as creating "infinite resistance", hence your feeling that you're fighting the water with each stroke.

If you focus on fixing this, and its a fine timing thing, you will find the pull becomes much easier.
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2 months 3 days ago #31847 by kwolfe
Just my two cents (maybe worth a penny) is that your top hand is pretty passive. It drops quickly and then pushes a bit. That top hand is really key to getting a good catch and guiding the blade in the right direction as your bottom arm does the pulling.

If you take a look at recback's video. His top hand is really dictating the path and rotation of his torso. His technique is really pretty damn good.

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2 months 3 days ago #31848 by SpaceSputnik
Yeah, his video is really helpfull. I am air-paddling in my garage with a camera trying to replicate him. Being able to freeze two videos side by side is really helpfull.

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2 months 3 days ago #31849 by SpaceSputnik
This feels important. So, when does the power comes in, when a blade is fully in the water? I take anything prior is just positioning that shouldnt involve a significant effort?

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2 months 3 days ago #31852 by SpaceSputnik

kwolfe wrote: Just my two cents (maybe worth a penny) is that your top hand is pretty passive. It drops quickly and then pushes a bit. That top hand is really key to getting a good catch and guiding the blade in the right direction as your bottom arm does the pulling.

If you take a look at recback's video. His top hand is really dictating the path and rotation of his torso. His technique is really pretty damn good.


This feels important. So, when does the power comes in, when a blade is fully in the water? I take anything prior is just positioning that shouldnt involve a significant effort?

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2 months 3 days ago - 2 months 3 days ago #31853 by kwolfe
Basically yes. If you pull to soon, then the blade is going to suck air down and cavitate which makes you loosed grip on the water and speed. This may be one of the reasons your blade wobbles when you pull. Use that top hand to help spear the blade into the water. Once submerged it should feel anchor and then you pull. The top hand sweeps across at eye level, helping guide the lower hand and body rotation.

In essence, you are not pulling the blade through the water but instead pulling the ski past the paddle shaft (think sticking post in the ground, sit on skate board and pull yourself past the pole).
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2 months 3 days ago #31854 by zachhandler

SpaceSputnik wrote: This feels important. So, when does the power comes in, when a blade is fully in the water? I take anything prior is just positioning that shouldnt involve a significant effort?


Yes. Exactly.
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