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Swim Tech Video: Basic one-arm extension drills
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Tuesday 9th October 2007


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This is a drill that forms the basic position of so many other more advanced drills. Once this position is mastered you will be in a strong position to progress onto the likes of sharkfin, shoulder tap, the single arm variations and doggy paddle switch.

Starting out the body should be rolled on one side, one arm extended from the shoulder, reaching out in front of the body. Very little space should be present between the head and extending arm and the body should be in a straight alignment from tips of fingers to toes.

Hold on one side for ten seconds, then switch arms with a single stroke while the body rotates to the opposite side, the other arm now leading in front.

Maintain a steady, relaxed kicking style for balance. Fins may be necessary to start out with.

Breathe every six to ten kicks, then roll into one full stroke to take you onto your other side. The key pointers are:

  • Shoulder to chin rotation
  • Legs kicking softly, keep the scissoring to a minimum by thinking of only kicking in a vertical plane. The body rotation will take the legs slightly off but hopefully not too much.
  • Aim to have the trail shoulder above the surface of the water
  • With the upper body nicely rotated, it should be easier to clear the water with the trailing shoulder. In this position you should also find it easier to breathe to your weaker side.

Progress to breathing every six to ten kicks then roll into three full strokes between kicks. The key pointers are:

  • Shoulder to chin rotation
  • Legs kicking in vertical plane
  • Aim to have the trail shoulder above the surface of the water

As with all drills feel the key body positions coming through into the full stroke. Always practice some full stroke mixed up with your drills. The nice thing about this drill is that it constantly mixes the drill with the full stroke!


Dan Bullock runs Swim for Tri and is a highly regarded coach, winning awards as London Region Coach of the Year in 2005/6 and 220 Coach of the Year in 2005. Contact him on 0870 850 3376 or by email info@swimfortri.com or through their website: www.swimfortri.com

Swim for Tri

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