Home Chat General Chat

Kiddle's 'arm over the barrel' swimming technique is killing me!

Are you going faster?


  • garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    At a recent training day Mr. Kiddle got us to image we were stretching our arm over the top of a big barrel (beer barrel works for me)......this helps you to keep a high shoulder position as well as a high elbow........

    .....so i've been working on it but WOW its turning out to be lots more exhausting!

    anyone else?
  • MGMG Posts: 470
    High elbow drills are certainly worth sticking with, it took me AGES (best part of 12 months)to get it so I do it without thinking and I still do drill work at least once a week to further ingrain it in my memory!!

    I found that I was struggling with this particular technique because I wasnt rotating enough, with the body rotated (stretch your arm RIGHT out to try and touch other end of pool) its easier to keep your elbow high and then to engage your core etc.. for a more efficient pull phase......
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    i started focussing on using a stronger 'catch' over the last couple of weeks and 2 things really struck me.

    firstly, concentrating on and carrying out an 'over the barrel' or bent elbow catch is knackering. i haven't left the pool with my arms and shoulders aching like that since i learned to crawl properly 5 or 6 years ago.

    secondly, the pace. i found that when i got a good catch the movement through the water worked to pull my body and other arm through into the next stroke. it was almost like the crawl swam itself! if i can smooth it out then it will be great, but heaven only knows how long that will take!

    i should add... my technique for the catch is probably poo. i aught to go to the rookie day just so that kiddle can get me right!
  • stratoTomstratoTom Posts: 36
    I've been trying the exact same thing after someone at my swim coaching session recommended it (the very same barrel jobbie no less), and came away from it yesterday wondering whether I was doing it right or not as it was so much more tiring than what I'm used to.

    I'll stick with it because I definitely had a better 'feel for the water' even though the tiredness took the speed out a bit.
  • garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    Are you going faster?


    No extra speed at this stage but with a change in thinking i shouldn't expect anything too soon.

    I can 'feel' the water more, by that i mean i can feel more resistance in my arms which means i must be 'catching' and pushing more water, which should make me more efficient when i get it sorted out. I think i may need to slowly build new muscles to support this!

  • joolzdjoolzd Posts: 245
    Swimming is soooo frustrating & I think you have to go 2 steps backwards to go forwards!!! Keep at it, when I had my technique analysed and then started doing the drills etc...I was def slower and it was so difficult to maintain the programme, but slowly/surely, I am getting quicker, despite my rantings about swimming (although I still don't like it - why do it? Hmmm coz it's a mental and physical challenge)...anyway perseverence is key![:D]
  • MrSquishyMrSquishy Posts: 277
    I'm with you on this one Gazza! I've reached a plateau where I know my technique is going to have to improve to get me under 7min 400m pace, and I know it's there somewhere.

    I tried the "over the barrel" high elboe catch drill yesterday (as well as that other one where he said to dip your palm at the very end of the glide to start the catch) and I felt like my stroke was all over the place.

    Some of the other stuff felt more natural - slowing my stroke down and making the glide longer, and running my thumb up my side to my armpit to keep a high elbow in recover.

    All the while though I felt like I was going slower even though I know I need to reduce my stroke count and become more efficient to go faster for the same/less effort.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I think "barrel" is a good thought to keep. It helps the classic "early vertical forearm" and early catch.

    The thought I try and use is "beachball" which I say to myself hundreds of times a session!

    Imagine you're reaching over a beachball, dropping your hand over the far side and once you have a grip on it you're bringing it back and then flicking it up in the air behind you.

    The purpose of this is as much the timing as the technique: slow catch and pull at first then a quicker movement towards your hand's exit.

    I think that's what it's about anyway....
  • Ron99Ron99 Posts: 237
    This is the same technique that i was shown at SwimForTri - basically reaching around a ball (pivoting at the elbow, using the whole forearm/hand like a paddle), then slow pull back, but accelerating towards the end of the propulsive phase. The elbow exits first, staying high, with the hand travelling under the elbow. Seems to work for Dan Bullock.

    Now I just have to put it into action! Drills, drills, drills. I've definitely noticed improvements from using them, e.g. dragging fingers, shoulder touch, doggy paddle, shark fin etc.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262

    I know nothing about swimming, but if I did...

    If the high arm action is making you tired, then a root cause could be your balance - or lack of. Are you doing the swimming downhill bit - consciously pressing down with your chest? If you are out of balance, i.e. legs sinking, then you have to work harder and harder with the arms, which makes them ache.

    Blah blah Front Quadrant blah blah blah.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    turning out to be lots more exhausting - Gary

    oh my - does that mean I'll be crawling into my car to die quietly?[&:]

    I have a OW Kiddle session on Tuesday at Blueseventy - lowest possible group is seaweed I think there will be a new one by end -plankton[:D]

    Wednesday the legend that is Conehead is giving me a swimming lesson in Manchester

    I may never want to get in the water again and they both may be praying I don't to[:D]
  • u_j_2001u_j_2001 Posts: 47
    Can someone please explain in as much detail as possible how to perform the "arm over the barrel" technique?

    I've heard it many a time but not sure how to do it.

    Where is the barrel supposed to be?

    In what part of the stroke is the high elbow?


  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Get your head down and get on with it, Mr. Roberts! [:D] OK... I'll try to be a bit more useful...

    The 'barrel grabbing' image works for a lot of people, so let me extend it a bit:

    The purpose of grabbing the barrel is to get your catch sorted. Once your hand is fixed in the water there is no need to keep your arm extended: you see, your arm has the same surface (or paddle) area when it is crooked a bit as when it is straight, but it is a damned sight easier to get some leverage on.

    Try to think of this... the barrel is just a little keg, really. You reach over it, get your hand halfway round then push it straight back. Don't try to scoop it up otherwise you are pressing it at arms length which is mechanically wrong. I never swim with extended arms... my hands are about 40cm below my body pressing that barrel backwards, not trying to scoop it into my tummy.

    Also, think about your body roll a lot more. Never EVER be flat in the water, always be on your side. It is the only way to get your power into the water, make it dead easy to recover your other arm and to minimise the amount of turbulence around you.

    An alternative image which works for me is the speed skater. You know the way they seem to do that exaggerated powerful swing from one side to the other? Wooosh...wooosh... woosh.... I picture that when I'm swimming. Big long stretching strokes lying on my side.

    Last night I had my monthly 400m time trial. I held it at long distance pace, ice-skating all the way, concentrated on staying on my side, about 50 strokes per minute really stretching out. I was rather pleasantly surprised at the 5:48 time... go slower to go faster. Swimming is all about technique. I bet you If I tried to hammer it I'd go slower.

    Keep working on your catch, Gary. Stay shallow-ish, rotate from your hips-ish and keep your head down-ish. Vague enough??


    Gary (Bopo)
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    I am rubbish at swimming!

    I have, however, been swimming in the pool in my wetsuit twice a week to get used to swimming in the suit. I thought I woul just concentrate on technique at first and wow. I'm not going faster, but my strokes are smooth, I am using less strokes and I am not out of 'puff'.

    Cop this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avzUuAjMe7o&NR=1 ignore the cheesy music


    The next thing for me to do is to try and build up the pace but I am achieving a consistent, albeit, slow pace compared to the 'fishes', not getting out of breathe as much and starting to feel happy with myself for the first time in the swim.
  • ShaggyShaggy Posts: 140
    Found my catch last night after Rick Kiddle session on the excellent Rookie Training Day.

    It was actually faster and less tiring than before, but does depend on the roll and the catch being separate. The core muscles rotate you 45 degrees either side, the shoulder is only involved in anchoring your forearm. Your balance is crucial so that your arm is only catching and driving, not having to hold up your upper body too, this means you're rotating to breathe not lifting.

    Rick's over the barrel tied in with the T.I. lessons I had and it all worked together. Can't recommend lessons enough. I used www.Swimshack.co.uk and although it's taken time and been frustrating, but Ian was excellent and I would not have got any better by myself. Also I don't try to go fast or even measure my times (I will now I think I've got my stroke working) just concentrate on one bit of my stroke at a time and make it as good as I can.

  • BmanBman Posts: 442
    Is Kiddle the man in the gold wetsuit? Is he dutch? I think I saw him down at heron lake last weekend.
  • clarkey30clarkey30 Posts: 270
    Hes the old boy in full war armoury! anyone would think it was cold in that lake!

    Gaz with regards to the tiring aspect, it is i agree and i have had to go back to the pool with drills and sets etc, its mostly down to the fact your using different muscles as your doing the stroke properly and these muscles take time to develop.

    In terms of the Barrell motion there are smaller drills, like doggy paddle and hand paddle that you can do to cement the intial high elbow, catch phase of the stroke.

    Agree though when you get it right you fly across the water!
  • BmanBman Posts: 442
    Ah yes, the booties, so it was him terrorising some newbies. Was good watching everyone hussle out of the water and getting out of wetsuits on the grass while he gave advice. While racing, you never notice everyones different techniques and how funny some are. But he set them straight.
Sign In or Register to comment.