Why am I slow? My experiences of late...

2 months 4 days ago #35634 by PharmGeek

Epicpaddler wrote: One tip I learned from the Ivan Lawler video is the "broken arm". Some folks have said to lock the elbow and keep the lower arm straight until the end of the stroke when the paddle is lifted out. When I tried this my elbows would always get sore. By keeping the pulling arm slightly bent or "broken"  takes a lot of the strain off the elbow joint. I've also realized (after my first ocean race last week) when the conditions are really rough my technique goes to hell. I was happy just to maintain forward momentum after I had capsized a bunch of times. Once I got out of the big stuff I could focus again on the proper techniques. I'd love to build an erg and practice my stroke every day now that it's dark when I get home from work and can't paddle.



yeah - mine stays a bit broken for sure 

https://youtu.be/n9QC-Po-qB4

The erg for me is crucial during this time of year as I simply rarely am able to paddle. 

Sounds like a tough tough race to struggle like that!! 

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2 months 4 days ago #35635 by Epicpaddler
Your form looks pretty good to me. What is your heart rate when you're on the erg? My max heart rate during my last race was 167 with a average of 153. I've been trying to track my heart race to make sure I'm not over doing it and still getting a good cardio workout. 

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2 months 4 days ago #35636 by PharmGeek

Epicpaddler wrote: Your form looks pretty good to me. What is your heart rate when you're on the erg? My max heart rate during my last race was 167 with a average of 153. I've been trying to track my heart race to make sure I'm not over doing it and still getting a good cardio workout. 


HR is very person to person specific and age related also 

I’m age 36 - Hayley Nixon (my web coach) says my HR runs higher than average but that this is not really a good or bad thing - my MAF HR is 144 (180-age) - and I can crank the erg pretty good now at MAF - my max HR is around 204 bpm - I used to be able to push that up paddling or on erg but only can hit that HR running now it seems - hard hard intervals or time trials on the erg I’ll hit 195-199 

my marathon pace on the erg and on water I’ll hold mid 175-185bpm - apparently I run high lol -

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2 months 4 days ago - 2 months 4 days ago #35637 by RedBack
Hey PG, - If I may make a few observations...

(Bear in mind that I've only seen you on the ergo and your technique may change when you're in the boat.)

1. Your leg drive and hip rotation look good.  If you're feeling the "weight of the blade" transferred to your foot for the duration of the power phase then that's great.  Just watch out for inadvertent movement of the rudder pedals with your feet.  Moving them even slightly has a significant effect on boat run.
2. Your catch arm could be a little straighter (not locked though, that would be bad), so try "reaching" for the front of the ski a little more before dropping your hand for the stroke.
3. Related to the above, - you appear to be "unwinding" your body rotation a little before the blade enters (or would enter) the water.  This reduces your effective stroke length and demands a higher rating, which will push your HR up.
4. Hard to tell from a single angle, but you appear to be lifting your shoulders slightly at the exit.  Your shoulders should remain completely level.  Rotator-cuff damage could result from prolonged extraneous shoulder movement.
5. Try to make sure your top arm elbow remains low (almost pointing down) as your top hand passes in front of your face.  This is invariably linked to your shoulder position.  If your shoulder lifts, so too does your elbow, putting tension on your trapezius muscles and stressing the small locating muscles of the rotator-cuff.  
6. Once again, this is hard to judge on an ergo, but it looks like you could do with more stroke separation.  By this I mean allowing your exit hand to come up to the same height as your top hand, hold it there (set) for a fraction of a second (at full body rotation) then drop the stroke hand and unwind.  This ensures your body geometry for each stroke is correct and it allows the boat time to "run" between strokes for maximum efficiency.
7. The curve of your back (everyone is different) may indicate tight hamstrings.  You should be leaning slightly forward from the hips with a straight back.  Tight hamstrings will make you "roll" the lower half of your back and reduce core stability.  Hayley has some good stretching routines.  Ask her about hamstring stretches.

OK, - that was more than a few, - sorry!
This probably seems like a lot of "observations" when your technique is actually pretty good, but clearly you've made very good progress in a short time, so while your technique is still quite "plastic", small tweaks such as these are still easy to make.

Caveat:  All these suggestions are based on a single ergo video, taken from only one angle, at an indeterminate effort level, so feel free to disregard anything said!  :-)

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2 months 4 days ago #35640 by PharmGeek

RedBack wrote: Hey PG, - If I may make a few observations...

(Bear in mind that I've only seen you on the ergo and your technique may change when you're in the boat.)

1. Your leg drive and hip rotation look good.  If you're feeling the "weight of the blade" transferred to your foot for the duration of the power phase then that's great.  Just watch out for inadvertent movement of the rudder pedals with your feet.  Moving them even slightly has a significant effect on boat run.
2. Your catch arm could be a little straighter (not locked though, that would be bad), so try "reaching" for the front of the ski a little more before dropping your hand for the stroke.
3. Related to the above, - you appear to be "unwinding" your body rotation a little before the blade enters (or would enter) the water.  This reduces your effective stroke length and demands a higher rating, which will push your HR up.
4. Hard to tell from a single angle, but you appear to be lifting your shoulders slightly at the exit.  Your shoulders should remain completely level.  Rotator-cuff damage could result from prolonged extraneous shoulder movement.
5. Try to make sure your top arm elbow remains low (almost pointing down) as your top hand passes in front of your face.  This is invariably linked to your shoulder position.  If your shoulder lifts, so too does your elbow, putting tension on your trapezius muscles and stressing the small locating muscles of the rotator-cuff.  
6. Once again, this is hard to judge on an ergo, but it looks like you could do with more stroke separation.  By this I mean allowing your exit hand to come up to the same height as your top hand, hold it there (set) for a fraction of a second (at full body rotation) then drop the stroke hand and unwind.  This ensures your body geometry for each stroke is correct and it allows the boat time to "run" between strokes for maximum efficiency.
7. The curve of your back (everyone is different) may indicate tight hamstrings.  You should be leaning slightly forward from the hips with a straight back.  Tight hamstrings will make you "roll" the lower half of your back and reduce core stability.  Hayley has some good stretching routines.  Ask her about hamstring stretches.

OK, - that was more than a few, - sorry!
This probably seems like a lot of "observations" when your technique is actually pretty good, but clearly you've made very good progress in a short time, so while your technique is still quite "plastic", small tweaks such as these are still easy to make.

Caveat:  All these suggestions are based on a single ergo video, taken from only one angle, at an indeterminate effort level, so feel free to disregard anything said!  :-)


No no, thsese are valid points, and this video is quite old, and Hayley has corrected some of those things you mentioned with me!! and I'm still working on them for sure! 

I absolutely have a HABIT about my feet screwing with the rudder pedals...this has been a HARD habit to break to be entirely honest! it seems early in my learning, I was pressing on the footboard with not a focus on the heels so much, but more of the full length of the foot, and I engaged the toes instinctively also (as you see in the video) - ive been working on that since, and I think its still an issue but improved....ive focused on just keeping the heels engaged...been a weird habit to unlearn! 

My lower arm angle at the catch always is a bit bent...ive noticed that as well, but for some reason ive not found it to be a problem...I try and think about a deep catch as far forward beyond my feet as more of a function of my hip pivoting forward and shoulders winding up to achieve greater reach...if I straighten that arm a bit more, it likely would add4 5-10cm more so your point is well taken...could be a big difference.....its just I find some bend there natural feeling....natural vs. "bad habit" I guess is the discussion lol.

regarding unwinding early....boy ive chased this demon and continue to.....if I recorded you longer bits of my training on water or on erg, its a moving target....early in learning I think before the catch I unloaded rotation often....it took quite a bit of deliberate drills to stop myself from doing it, and I still battle this issue....

shoulder lift at exit...hmm...ill have to look at that, didn't notice it.

curve of my back...back when I submitted this video to Hayley, she did "yell" at me to improve that posture, I hunch, my hamstrings are CRAP flexible...and boy have we worked on mobility exercises and yoga in the past 8 months, it has helped...in this video my inflexible problems are less to blame, but just bad posture more so...even back then when shot, I needed to sit upright a bit more, straighten my neck...this tends to add a bit of tension to my hammies, but now with improved flexibility, it is doable...my posture is another demon I fight, although since back then, it has improved.

Elbow low...yeah, so I discussed this with Hayley....I'm not sure...ive wondered about that...I shoot for keeping my elbow just below shoulder joint, but she seems to like having it up close to 90 degrees...I aim for just shy of that when I paddle...ill shoot a new video at a couple angles tonight and you can look if you like, but it seems people vary a bit on precisely how they keep their top hand position and elbow.....? I think from this camera angle it looks worse than it is? In my mind's eye, I keep my elbows fairly close to me on the whole, although at one point in discussions of technique with Hayley, she wanted to see the elbow up just a tad from what I had before, and I recall asking her about that overall position and being advised the elbow be just below the level of the shoulder (gonna circle back and ask her later come to think of it).

Stroke separation....ill need to shoot it again....this is old footage you saw....I DEFINATELY have noticed that by not rushing and focusing on good form and setup, wind up, catch, powerful rotation and hip and leg drive, output is far better....the "pause" people talk about in my mind always helps to ensure I work to make things right and get boat glide like you said...its funny about that "run the boat" with that pause...ive heard pros talk about that, ive heard from folks that say "in a k1, that is more important than a surfski where you get relatively less boat glide between power phases".....the Mocke brothers talk about that in their online video tutorials (which I watched just because like, ya know, Ima  nerd and want to consume ALL) - it seems stroke rate for racing is crucial to maintain boat speed, but of course, as we have said, if that means form breaks down then it does not work well...when those guys talk about high stroke rate, they are keeping pretty good form regardless...for a mortal like me, it may not be that easy haha

Ill shoot another video just for fun...I actually have not sent Hayley over video in a couple months and need to do that this week (will send to her and post on here for fun).....my tecnhnique has improved but I think your points are valid and ive been working on much of them....

on the water I think I more or less have the same issues....I feel form "feels" better on water, more natural...but I chase these things there as well...

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2 months 3 days ago #35641 by PharmGeek
RedBack

I need to think more about the discussion of "pause"...sometimes people say "micropause"....in your case, you mentioned a slight pause after finishing exit and recovery.....Ive done that in drills...but when paddling hard to keep a fairly HIGH HR be in for racing or interval workouts, etc...I'm not sure I pause at all because it is quite fast? 

Is the discussion of a "pause" more of a discussion of a drill to use or does it apply also under high cadence also? 

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2 months 3 days ago #35642 by waverider
I think at high cadence the micropause becomes more of a mental retargeting. Whereas one stroke comprise 4 fluid stages that run together without thinking, This step is a distinct step from one stroke to the next. The better and more instinctive you become the less significant it becomes.

The idea is the boat is at its maximum acceleration as you finish the power stroke so you dont want to place the blade back in the water, which is adding a resistance until power is fully engaged again, even if minimal, until the boat is starting to decelerate which is when you want maximum power to bring it back up to speed.

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2 months 3 days ago #35643 by PharmGeek

waverider wrote: I think at high cadence the micropause becomes more of a mental retargeting. Whereas one stroke comprise 4 fluid stages that run together without thinking, This step is a distinct step from one stroke to the next. The better and more instinctive you become the less significant it becomes.

The idea is the boat is at its maximum acceleration as you finish the power stroke so you dont want to place the blade back in the water, which is adding a resistance until power is fully engaged again, even if minimal, until the boat is starting to decelerate which is when you want maximum power to bring it back up to speed.




right ok...the mocke brothers in their instruction video series (I watch everything a nerd like that) make a point of saying that running the boat in a k1 is different than a ski - they say the resistance of the ski is more and therefore (and I’ll have to dig up precisely what they say later)  for more boat speed and maintaining it there is incentive to keep the blade in the water more of the time...this seemed contrary to what some say like Lawler but they are a k1 marathon background? I may ask Hayley what she think about this too but at high cadence it may be a moot point anyway perhaps but it struck me as an interesting contrast - albeit perhaps minutia? I don’t claim to know haha!! 

Thanks for all the feedback - I’m gonna shoot another video today or tomorrow 

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2 months 3 days ago #35644 by RedBack

PharmGeek wrote: RedBack

I need to think more about the discussion of "pause"...sometimes people say "micropause"....in your case, you mentioned a slight pause after finishing exit and recovery.....Ive done that in drills...but when paddling hard to keep a fairly HIGH HR be in for racing or interval workouts, etc...I'm not sure I pause at all because it is quite fast? 

Is the discussion of a "pause" more of a discussion of a drill to use or does it apply also under high cadence also? 

Waverider described the "pause" very well above.  During training you might make it quite distinct.  When racing it's more of a mental discipline, but even then, if you are correctly accelerating the blade right through the stroke and out of the water, then your craft will be travelling at its fastest for about .2 sec after your blade leaves the water.  The objective is to exploit this "free" momentum before your next stroke (or water resistance) slows the boat again.

As far as elbow angle is concerned, - I teach a low elbow as much for injury prevention as for bio-mechanical efficiency.

Try this experiment.  With your arm directly out from your shoulder, hold your right hand up at ear level (at the position where your stroke finishes) with your elbow pointing down.  Now place your left hand (with fingers spread) on top of your right shoulder such that it touches your right trapezius and your right deltoids.  Now, keep your right hand in exactly the same position in space, and rotate your elbow up (and back) until it is level with, or just below your hand.

If you've done this correctly, you will have felt tension and movement in both the traps and delts.   Neither of those muscles contribute to your power, yet they are consuming energy with every stroke.  You may also have sensed your scapula moving up and off your rib-cage and you might even have found your shoulders tilting to the left side.
As the scapula moves off the rib-cage, it destabilises your "frame" forcing the muscles that locate the humerus in the rotator-cuff to compensate.  Finally, if your shoulders tilt to the opposing side, it can cause the gap between your ribs and your hip to "concertina" on that side, reducing core stability.

None of these things will significantly slow you down in the short term.  As you get older however, they can begin to cause issues that might require medical intervention.
Having said that, there are many, very good paddlers, who have their elbow quite high during the stroke, so it doesn't seem affect their speed.  Over long distances and/or over many years of paddling though, their high elbow action may have consequences.
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2 months 3 days ago #35647 by SpaceSputnik
I often wonder about the concertina effect. I assume we are really talking about arching of the back on the side opposite to the water hand. I see pretty much all top K1 paddlers doing that.
Tried myself and it does seem to add oomph to the rotation. I assume the idea to throw some of your weight into into the stroke. I assume concertina effect refers to the tissue compression on the stroke side.
But Ian says not to do that and I am confused. Understandably that needs to be done right not to become unbalanced, but it seems doable in moderation?

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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2 months 3 days ago - 2 months 3 days ago #35650 by PharmGeek
thanks RedBack....I'm gonna try that arm experiment, but I think I'm going to work on lowering my elbows for sure...and chat a bit more with Hayley again about it...seems from the long term injury aspect, a no brainer really....thanks for the thorough input.

Concertina thing....I'm not sure how doing that would help a paddler get more power? I believe if you set up at power phase with spine straight without concertina, and apply X amount of force on the footplate...as soon as you concertina, you get a new force of X-Y because the form shifts to the other hip, and takes force off the foot that should have the power? surely you see what from an idealized form standpoint great paddlers will have flaws yet be great paddlers....but I think the consensus of like "biomechanics" on this matter is that that sorta bending brings nothing to the table and while not every great paddler will have the exact same shape, exact same technique, there is perhaps benefit to always pursuing what is "best"?  Especially for beginners or intermediate paddlers?

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2 months 3 days ago #35651 by PharmGeek
also, you do not see all top k1 paddlers with what is arguably most often called a "flaw"....many top folks do not right? 

Lets take say Lisa Carrington...I see minimal concertina effect in her stroke....I think with 200m sprint and power, you'll see a bit of it?

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2 months 3 days ago - 2 months 3 days ago #35652 by SpaceSputnik

PharmGeek wrote: also, you do not see all top k1 paddlers with what is arguably most often called a "flaw"....many top folks do not right? 

Lets take say Lisa Carrington...I see minimal concertina effect in her stroke....I think with 200m sprint and power, you'll see a bit of it?


Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing, I am talking about this swing away:
 


(1.42)

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7
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2 months 2 days ago #35654 by PharmGeek
I thought the concertina discussion is about contracting your sides inward and creating significant leaning from side to side in the boat? Tim Knut keeps that boat pretty level through it I think and while some still shots appear like that his spine stay straight? 

See @4:27. ???
https://youtu.be/y_0G9GPi8D0

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2 months 2 days ago - 2 months 2 days ago #35655 by SpaceSputnik

PharmGeek wrote: I thought the concertina discussion is about contracting your sides inward and creating significant leaning from side to side in the boat? Tim Knut keeps that boat pretty level through it I think and while some still shots appear like that his spine stay straight? 

See @4:27. ???
https://youtu.be/y_0G9GPi8D0


Right, maybe it's not the same topic. But this is what my question was about anyways, the upper body position while in rotation. It seems that most paddlers do swing away from the stroke to certain degree. You may say it's simply a byproduct of rotation, but to me it feels like a somewhat intentional  sway of the upper body that brings some upper body mass off center for better oomph, kinda like what hammer and disk throwers do.

And yes, he does keep the boat level by counterbalancing the lean with the paddle in water on the other side.
I have never heard of it being specifically taught although it does appear happening.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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2 months 2 days ago #35656 by waverider
Maybe its paddlers leaning their body weight on the blade through the power stroke tipping the boat to the stroke side, then correcting as they lift on exiting.  Their body staying vertical and the boat tilting rather than actually collapsing their torso. Seems more apparent in flat water boats, where you can control the balance better

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2 months 2 days ago - 2 months 2 days ago #35657 by zachhandler
Dari Fisher’s book is worth getting. He strongly advocates leaning the boat toward the stroke, which to me says that if anything the side of torso closest to the paddle in the water should be an opening concertina, and never a closing concertina. I picture myself pushing water with my butt away from the blade that is in the water and for me that seems to help. 
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2 months 2 days ago #35658 by tve

SpaceSputnik wrote: It seems that most paddlers do swing away from the stroke to certain degree. You may say it's simply a byproduct of rotation, but to me it feels like a somewhat intentional  sway of the upper body that brings some upper body mass off center for better oomph, kinda like what hammer and disk throwers do.


I believe this is a difference between surfski/marathon paddling and K1 sprint paddling. IIUC the top K1 sprinters need to build up rotational momentum right at the start of the rotation using the transition from one leg to the other, and use this swing of the body to accelerate the paddle beyond what a more "normal" spear-then-unwind type of stroke can achieve. Look also at the fully extended top arm, quite different from what someone like Oscar teaches.

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2 months 2 days ago #35659 by SpaceSputnik
Oscar seems to be doing the same swing. Look at 1.20.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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