Why is it so important to swim with open fingers?
You probably heard the expression: “You don’t eat soup with a fork”, that’s what we were told as kids when we swam with open fingers.
**Swim WEST makes you swim looser, faster and protect your shoulder and lower back.
Twenty year ago we started teaching people with shoulder, neck and lower back pains to close the fingers and lift the elbow as high as possible, to pull more water. They ended up with strong pains and some of them even said swimming is not for me…
We saw that most ordinary people (not Olympic swimmers) couldn’t lift the elbow high with closed fingers and when they closed their fingers strongly- they caused pain to the shoulders and neck.
We tried a different approach. We taught swimmers to loosen their fingers above water- and close them in the water. They didn’t succeed. Their fingers got mixed up uncoordinatedly. They didn’t understand when to open and when to close their fingers.
The approach needed to be changed. Swimming fast is important but not as important as our health or protecting our body.
In 1997 we started swimming oddly !! We swam and taught swimmers to swim with fingers opened, but not only that we found three (3) different types of opened fingers for each swimmer, but the more flexible we are- the more we swim with straight fingers. And the more pain or lack of flexibility we have the more bow in the palm is going to be.
An amazing thing happened. Swimmers swam faster with loosen and opened palms.
I changed my swimming style to opened fingers and my swimming technique has improved dramatically. Myself and some of the WEST swimming coaches improved their speed with 2-3 workouts a week- instead of 16, when we were young.
In 2004 something changed in world of swimming. The first gold medalist in 100 fly Ian Crocker swam with opened fingers. The world went crazy.
Millions of Dollars were spent in order to learn how to swim faster. Has it become better? Swimming has been changed forever when the coaches saw that with your open fingers while swimming not even a little bit of water passes through your fingers and swimming becomes faster.
Today there is no research that shows that opened fingers swimming is better than swimming with closed ones, but in 2015 most swimmers swim with opened fingers.
So what do we know in WEST swimming technique that the world doesn’t know?
Of course we try swim therapeutically, which means treating the body, before thinking about speed.
We know that when you loosen your shoulders you get less oxidized.
The more your fingers are loose especially above the water, the more power you have during the pull. But not only that. Even when the pull is not as strong as in closed fingers, while resting above the water, we get more power in longer distances.
Swimming WEST with loose fingers, loose palms according to our flexibility level and pain- will let you swim faster, with no injuries. It will be much easier, and in 10 years from now the world will understand what we already know from 1997.
Remember: protecting your neck and lower back will make you swim much faster.
Swim WEST classic, opened and loose freestyle palm
No flexibility at all or shoulder and neck pain- bowl
Don’t think fill in the WEST swimming questionnaire and let us think for you.