How to Train the High Elbow Catch in Swimming

A Workout

One workout won't make you perfect, but you will begin to learn and teach your body the neuromuscular (brain to muscle) channels of movement. Making stroke modifications takes deliberate practice and I recommend technique workouts should be all technique. 

TIP: Don't mix and match distance and/or intensity workouts with technique development. Slowly build and train the right movements with lower intensity repetitions and specific focus over six to eight weeks.

Here's a workout example that will help you learn what I've termed the "soft positioned catch." Keep all of the sets within a lower intensity range; you should feel the activity is very light.


Body Line

Technique Focus

200 to 400

Body Line

Level, balanced and streamlined

6 to 10 x 25 + 10s rest

Entry (length)

Elongate the body lengthening as you reach forward (no gliding)

6 to 10 x 25 + 10s rest

Downsweep (pre-catch)

Slowly arc down and slightly flex the wrist

6 to 10 x 25 + 10s rest

Elbow (catch)

Keep the elbow pointed upwards and near the water surface

6 to 10 x 25 + 10s rest

Bicep (catch)

Rotate the bicep muscle inwards as the hand and forearm sweep downwards

6 to 10 x 25 + 10s rest

Fingers, Hand, Forearm (catch)

Slowly position to 30 to 90 degrees (start with 30) – where they are aligned and pointed downwards

200 to 400

All Body Lines

From the push off streamline and hold a balanced position then, elongate to the entry, make the downsweep then, position the elbow high (pointing up) followed by the fingers, hand and forearm slowly positioning downwards.

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