In the 1950’s Elvis Presley disturbed America with his gyrating hips. Those moving hips were considered the tool of the devil, a form of legitimate porn. And while women of all ages screamed, Elvis gyrated… In the 1950’s this video was not safe for work, now it’s viewed as tame …o tempore o mores…
Which brings me to last week.
I was in Tahoe two weeks ago, cross country skiing at Royal Gorge. The night before I went cross-country skiing I decided to buy the book Total Immersion Swimming. Mostly because it was getting increasingly clear to me that something about my technique was just wrong. And I thought maybe a book for noobs would explain the missing link.
And it did.
The missing link was the relationship between the core muscles and the arms. According to the book if you use used your core muscles as a screw and your arms and legs as the fins, your body would go faster and longer. The theory was similar to a wind up train.
You wind it up, and the release of potential energy creates kinetic energy which causes the wheels to go around.
How absurd I thought. This Newtonian Physics is such nonsense. But… What the hell I thought. So I got up and started swinging my hands with my core and was stunned with the speed and ease of the motion.
So we went cross-country skiing, and I decided to try out this new fangled use your core to move your legs technique. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I was in Heroes: Save the cheerleader, Save the world. But– omg – it worked.
I went faster with more ease than I ever had before, even though I was dragging my son in pulka.
In fact at some point my speed exceeded my technique… my poor son was the victim of that when he fell face first into the snow when the pulka tipped. You can see him here seconds before Father of the Year wakes him up with a face full of snow…
Coming back from Tahoe, with this piece of information about body mechanics I couldn’t wait to go swimming.
And the swim was awesome. After weeks of trying to understand how the various elements fit together, it clicked. You rotate your body to move your arms, you push on the buoy to reduce drag caused by the legs, you keep your arms in front to increase the body length to improve speed. It all just clicked. And whereas I used to struggle vainly to get under 10 strokes per length – only getting there through a supreme effort of power — all of a sudden it was easy.
It was awesome.
So here’s to Elvis, wherever he may be, keep on gyrating!