The Proof of Coupling Motions

by SwimSwam Partner Content 3

November 30th, 2018 Training

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.


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For several years I have written many Aqua Notes at The Race Club pertaining to coupling. I have come to believe that coupling motions are extremely important in swimming all four strokes and on the start to enhance power. I have never been able to prove that belief is correct…..until now.

Recently we invested in some technology at The Race Club that enables us to measure propulsion (pressure) on the hands during the pulling motion. The technology also measures the speed and degree of body rotation (angular velocity) with each stroke. We synchronize those measurements precisely with the swimmer’s video so we can see how much propulsion and body rotation are happening at each .02 seconds during the stroke cycle. No one has ever done that before. We call this technology the Pressure Meter and it is now available to any swimmer that wants to use it at The Race Club.

This week, in Lanes 2, 3, and 4, you will see in our webisode how one of the three and perhaps the most powerful coupling motions on the start, the back-leg kick, has a profound impact on the start of elite sprinter, Aaron Greenberg.

Aaron had never used a meaningful back leg kick in his sprint career until we recently worked with him. In just two hours, he completely changed the intensity and height of his back-leg kick, resulting in greater peak velocity and acceleration off the block, as well as increasing his distance to entry and decreasing his time to breakout. Using Velocity Meter technology, we were able to compare Aaron’s old start with the new one. You will find all of the details of the outcome of this comparison, along with a comparison with Brad Tandy’s start, on this new webisode.

As interesting as that information might be, since we didn’t actually measure the forces off of the starting block, it doesn’t necessarily prove that the leg kick increased those forces, even though the back-leg kick was the primary difference in the two start techniques. It is suggestive, but not proof.

When we recently tested several elite athletes from Indiana University’s post grad program, we used the Pressure Meter technology for the first time. Soon, we will release our first webisode publicly on this technology that does prove the relationship between coupling energy and pulling propulsion, showing Zane Grothe, one of the world’s fastest distance freestylers, and Margo Geer, one of America’s top female sprinters.

We are excited to share this new information with you. Hop in Lanes 2, 3 or 4 to check out the back-leg kick and enjoy our entire library of great swimming technique videos. Stay tuned!

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

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2 years ago

Still didn’t provide any proof of coupling motions in this article. You merely say you COULD prove it and leave it up to us to trust you…or pay you to show us.

gary hall sr
Reply to  Dan
2 years ago

We will release the upcoming webisode that I refer to soon….and it will be free to anyone that wants to watch it.

Dads Fastest Swimmer
2 years ago

A pressure meter that doesn’t account for arm/hand surface area. A velocimeter that uses a fishing reel and low precision hardware.

Can’t wait for my athletes to come back with wacked out strokes that rely heavily on these science projects.