Three Types of Push-offs

Video Transcription: There are three different styles of push-offs. You can push off and go straight to your stomach. You can push off and go straight to your side. You can also push off and go straight and stay on your back.

Out of these push-offs, if you look at them on a spectrum, the one that’s the most stable and consistent is staying on your back, where the one that is the most variable and inconsistent is going straight towards your stomach. The goal here is to make sure that you carry that high speed, because pushing off of a wall is the second highest speed of any swimming race.

So if you push off and you have a lot of variability, those two things counteract each other. We want to find a push-off that’s stable, allows you to carry speed well, but isn’t highly variable. The one with the most amount of variability is going on to your stomach; so that is not a push-off that I love. If you climb down that ladder a little bit, getting to your side as soon as possible has some variability to it, but it’s not as much as going on to your stomach. But it does promote flipping and twisting at the same time, which can affect your plant on the wall, which then affects your force that you’re able to produce off the wall. Out of these three styles, the most consistent one is my favorite, staying on your back for a little bit, because you are able to really direct the body on where you want it to go.

But there is a caveat here, and that’s due to Ryan Lochte kicking on his back at the end of 200 IM races back in 2014, that you can’t actually push off during a Freestyle race and stay on your back anymore. You have to have the intent to roll. So what I mean by push off and stay on your back is, you push off on your back so your knees fully extend, but as soon as your feet and your toes actually leave the wall, your body has to start rotating towards its side and then eventually towards its stomach.

If you’re truly in on your stomach, out on your back, that’s a no-go and you will get DQ-ed for it. But if you push off with your belly button pointing straight up your toes and your knees, but then you roll, you won’t get called. The goal with the plant, as we went through before, is to plant in a squat-type position, toes, knees, and belly button pointing straight up towards the sky. You want everything to look like you’re sitting in a chair, so your body can go straight off the wall.

You go where your fingertips and your back points. If your fingertips are pointing down, your body’s going to go down, your fingertips are pointing up, your body’s going to go up, and then if they’re just pointing straight back, they’ll also go straight out.

We’re looking for the ability to produce force after you plant. After that flip and you plant, if you have any sort of rotation with that flip, it’ll affect the amount of force you can produce, which will then affect the amount of speed you have off the wall.