Apr 082012

Hey, how is that forearm development coming? The drill of the week for this week, April 8-14, 2012 is a sculling drill. Hip sculling is yet another way to develop a feel for the water by sculling with your hands and forearms. There are two different hip sculling offerings for this week. Bonus!

Scull 3: Hip Scull – Face Down

This drill helps you develop a feel for the water and is especially helpful for backstroke, simulating the end of the push through on back and free. A modification of this drill also makes this a good fit for butterfly!

  • This is done face down in the water, wearing a pull buoy and snorkel. Keep your hands down by your hips and scull the water with just your hands. Your hands don’t travel far from your hips, just a couple of inches, and the sculling pattern sweeps from just under your hips to just outside your hips. Tiny sculls!

Key points to success:

  1. Keep those arms straight throughout the drill, elbows locked.
  2. Start the scull with your hands resting on your thighs.
  3. When you initiate the scull, rotate your hands to press the water slightly out and back, keeping close to your thighs and hips. The sweep is roughly 12 inches.
  4. Think of your hands, wrist and forearms as one unit.
  5. When sweeping out away from your hips, your palms face the sky.
  6. When sweeping in, rotate your hands toward each other, thumbs down.
  • To modify this scull to benefit butterfly, the starting position is to bring your hands a bit further under your body, closer to your belly button and about 8-10 inches deep under your body. Flare out to the side with your scull, not back to or behind your hips. This should mimic the tail end of the fly pull through where you flare out, not back. When you flare out (sweep out and up), get those palms turned to the sky. To complete the arm motion, simply bring them back under your body as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is the one exception to sculling drills where you really don’t scull your hands both directions (outsweep and insweep). In fact, work to minimize resistance when bringing your hands back under your body.

Key points to success on the butterfly modification of this drill:

  1. Keep those arms straight throughout the outsweep and keep those palms facing the sky.
  2. Think of your hands, wrist and forearms as one unit.
  3. When sweeping out away from your hips, your palms face the sky.
  4. When sweeping in, minimize resistance and slice through the water returning your hands to the starting position under your body.
  5. When you are feeling really good, add in a dolphin kick or dolphin undulation, refining the timing to match that outsweep flare.

Here’s a video of the Hip Scull Face Down.

Scull 4: Hip Scull – Face Up

There are two purposes to this drill. First, it will help you develop your forearms, which is crucial especially as you fatigue toward the end of a race. Second, this drill teaches you to feel the pressure from the water. It can help all four strokes! For example on breaststroke, this will help as you begin your outsweep, turn the “corner” and then accelerate through the insweep. It helps your catch in freestyle and your pull in backstroke, and the front end of fly where you begin the insweep.

  • On this drill you are on your back, hands by your side and feet first down the length of the pool. Relax every part of your part that you can – loosen your knees and even allow a slight bend in them. Keep your shoulders loose and neck aligned with your spine. Be conscious of keeping your neck relaxed. Once you have that position set, begun sculling with your hands in small circular motions. The key is to engage only your arms, because most of the work comes from the forearms with some deltoid engagement. Keep your hands close to your hips, scull in that circular motion 6-10 inches out from your hips and only perhaps 4-6 inches deep with the scull. (Circular motion – right hand is clockwise, left hand is counterclockwise). Your hands basically stay parallel to your hips. On the outsweep, your thumbs point down and your palms face to the sides of the pool. Once completed with the outsweep, rotate your thumbs up and palms in and finish this way at your hips before staring your next outsweep.

Here’s a video of the Hip Scull Face Up.

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