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Old 10-03-2005, 09:07 PM   #1
Eugene R. Allen
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http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/26/14537.jpg

As a public service I present for your edification some info on swim toys and after that an eval of some medicine balls. We had a post recently about Shin Fins and since I have nothing nice to say about them, I wanted to speak well of something.

So I'll start with goggles. Get the Aqua Sphere Seal mask which are represented by the larger red and the silver and black goggles. They seal well against your face, are comfortable and allow for great peripheral vision.

The Finis Snorkle is specifically for the crawl and butterfly strokes and the design follows the shape of your head. Great for stroke work as you can watch your hand entry and you don't have to keep turning your head to breath.

The hand paddles are by Tyr and allow for resistance training for your stroke. They come in three sizes, the two I have are the middle and large sizes.

The coiled rubber thing is for swimming against resistance and can be used if you are stuck with a short pool. Tie off to something and swim for as long as you want.

The hip fins make you rotate your hips lest your stroking arm hits the little wing. The wings give your hips resistance when you rotate and when you take the device off you turn your hips very easily. Great tool.

The red and black triangle shape is a Tyr Aquafoil pull buoy/kick board. I never use a kick board (you should do your drill kicking without one) so I only use it as a pull bouy and it is great for that. I like it much better than the tied together foam chunks.

The red fins are called Zoomers and I like them way better than the Shin Fins. The SF's are less than the foot pocket fins I use at the Y and even a bit less than my little Zoomers in propulsion. The are very difficult to put on and take off because you have to make the rubber straps very tight so they don't rotate when you kick. They are clumsy to do an open turn with at the wall because as you push your feet toward the wall they catch water and resist the movement. Flip turns do the same as you flip. When you kick it is smooth and streamlining except when you rotate your hips a bit and your foot is at the surface of the water. As you kick in this slightly rotated position the fin makes your foot travel through the water at a slight angle separating your feet for a moment and screwing up your kick rhythm.

So there you go. Save your money and get Zoomers to drill with and...oh wait, they are good at streamlining your body and putting you high and flat in the water. Those are good points to be sure. Not worth the money on the whole in my opinion.

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/26/14538.jpg

Forget getting Ringside or other leather balls. Dynamax is the way to go for most applications. You do need some D-max balls though. I got 15, 25 and 35 pound balls and they work great. They bounce just enough to get your fingers underneath when you do rage ball or slams. The 3 Valeo balls are 6, 8 and 10 pounds and I got them on Ebay for $71 with shipping. They will bounce higher than your head if you throw them down hard enough and they tolerate street use just fine. As part of today's warm up my wife and I ran the 1/4 mile to and from Jennifer's house slamming the 10 pounder on the ground between us exchanging bounces as quickly as possible. You can run faster with this ball than when throwing the D-max balls because you dont' have to pick them up but the demand is similar because of that extra running speed.

So there you have it. Forget the Shin Fins. Get Zoomers instead.
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Old 10-03-2005, 09:34 PM   #2
Daniel Overvoll
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Eugene,

Good info, but should we call this "Gills gone wild!"?
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Old 10-04-2005, 05:03 AM   #3
Gus Sonnenberg
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Eugene,

What kind of rings do you have in your picture? I workout at a YMCA that does not have rigs or parallelets. There has been plenty of information on making the parallelets and homemade rigs, but I was looking for a set of rings I could bring to the gym and easily set up over a power rack for dips, and over a swingset for muscle ups.

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Old 10-04-2005, 09:38 PM   #4
Eugene R. Allen
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Gus - Power Rings from Tyler Hass...the only way to go.

eug
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Old 10-05-2005, 05:54 AM   #5
Gus Sonnenberg
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Thanks Eugene.

With respect,

Gus
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Old 10-10-2005, 06:31 PM   #6
Marc Lee
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I am the designer of shinfin™ fins and would like to mention a few points please. Thank you for trying the fins, Eugene. From your comments I suspect that the fins may not have been fitted quite right. I think that by adjusting the fin position on your leg, and kicking with a more streamlined kick (with less knee-bend than a foot flipper kick) you could have a very different experience.

You said: “they are good at streamlining your body and putting you high and flat in the water. Those are good points to be sure.” Yes, this is a great start. When you kick from this proper streamlined position you feel the power coming from your thighs and torso, which is where it should come from for a good swimming kick. This is the same kick that you should do for proficient no-fins swimming.

This is very different to a foot flipper kick, which encourages too much knee-bend and thighs sloping down more in the water. You can feel the difference. That's why, after you swim with foot flippers, it often takes quite a few laps of "no-fins" swimming to get back into your correct kick action (and indeed back into your overall stroke - arms too). Many swimmers and coaches have told me this. You can see the increased knee-bend with foot fins, and also feel the different muscles being used and feel your different muscle sequencing. Foot fins exacerbate foot and calf cramps because you have to point your toes to hold the fin in position and there is extra (unnatural) load on the arch and calf muscles to do this.

If you are used to a foot flipper kick, it can take a few sessions to properly convert. Some people need the following tip to help them forget their old foot flipper kick. Start by doing arms only freestyle (or backstroke). Let the shinfin™ fins guide your legs into a horizontal streamlined position with legs straight at the knee. Then introduce your kick gradually over a few laps. Don’t think too much about it – just let the fins flow naturally. Swimming speed will not necessarily be as fast as with foot fins to start with (especially of course for someone who has developed a lot of strength for a foot flipper style of kick) but speed will increase after training with shinfin™ fins.

You mentioned that sometimes: “the fin makes your foot travel through the water at a slight angle”. This can be corrected by fitting the fin a bit further around your leg. This fitting flexibility is a big benefit because you can adjust the fin to your own kick action – but some people need to experiment a bit. Most people centre the fin tips on their 2nd, 3rd or 4th toe nail. It is also possible that you had the fins a bit high up your leg – most people get best results when the fin tips are low and covering their toes. When you find the right position, you will also find that the straps do not need to be as tight too. (We send out tips to all our customers to help with fitting and use.)

Yes, they are a bit different to turn with at the wall. If you bring your knees up as you do an open turn, to minimize fin (and leg) drag, this helps achieve a smooth turn. With flip turns, you need to go into the flip a little harder to lift the fins clear of the water (coaches tell me this is a training benefit). With all turns the actual push-off is better with your feet directly contacting the wall (rather than inside foot flippers).

I hope this helps you crossfit guys. Please also see the other crossfit posting from Fiona who really likes her shinfin™ fins
- http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/26/13769.html -
If you have any questions just ask – I am here to help.

Cheers,
Marc
www.shinfin.com
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:28 PM   #7
Eugene R. Allen
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Marc - Thank you for the Shinfin tips. Perhaps in anticpation of them working out for me right away I did not give myself quite enough time to learn how to use them properly. Where do they fit as to purpose? I have the Zoomers that I use when I do stroke drills and I use the foot pocket fins for underwater swims. Do I use the Shinfins during regular swims to improve my kick or do they have a more specific training purpose?

I will spend more time with the Shinfins and see if through practice I will develop a greater appreciation for them. Thanks again for the tips, I'll report back with an update.
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:00 PM   #8
Nikki Young
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Just a question about the Valeo balls. I haven't ever used one and was wondering if they would be benifical as an 'all round' medicine ball. Or are they only best used for activities for bouncing.

I'm wondering because im looking at purchasing some medicine balls, the valeo's sound cool because of there bouncing ability which can be added into the variety of exercises. But is there anything the Valeo style ball would be better done with by a non-bouncy medicine ball?

I'm thinking a heavy ball is a heavy ball! But just wanting to make sure. Thanks!
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Old 10-15-2005, 04:44 PM   #9
Eugene R. Allen
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Valeo balls bounce and are best used for things where you want a lot of rebound. D-max balls don't bounce very much at all and you want them for slams and rage ball where you do not want any rebound (though D-max does make balls that bounce a little). Dynamax balls are best for throwing back and forth with another person or a bazillion other medicine ball exercises Dynamax recommends and for wall ball. Best not to slam a Dynamax ball and for sure you don't want to catch a D-max ball with your face.

Best solution, get a variety of medicine balls. You can surely make do with one but it will be a compromise to be sure. Various weights, various balls. The Valeo ball will be fine for wall ball but you won't be able to slam it. You will be able to run down the street with it and slam it in front of you to another person who can slam it back. Great warm up exercise.
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Old 10-18-2005, 09:13 AM   #10
Eugene R. Allen
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Marc - Just finished a 2,500 yard swim workout with about 600 yards spent with the fins on. My problem was in getting the fins with propulsion in mind. This is the wrong idea when considering Shinfins. Shinfins are not for propulsion but for streamlining and the development and training of a proper freestyle swim kick that originates from the hip and maintains fairly straight (and thus more hydrodynamic) knees. They gave me no more (perhaps less) propulsive force than my Zoomers, but they give me much more accurate swim feel. I did my drill set with them on and found that I was slower but had to work much harder to keep the pace that I had. The fins are soft and short and while on the one hand they give only marginal propulsive assistance they provide a tremendous feel for the water and a kick with a normal range and tempo.

They go on easier upside down. Put the straps up and slide you foot in that way and then rotate the fin around your shins. Take them off one strap at a time over then heel and then slide them off. For closed turns turn your feet around at the last second as close to the wall as possible. For flip turns throw your feet high spend as little time as possible pushing your feet toward the wall. That catches water on the underside of the fin and they don't move very well through the water that way. I rotated the fins slightly inboard and I no longer have the feeling of my right foot slicing through the water sideways.

I had my swim buddy put the fins on and it improved his kick immediately. It took him a bit to take the bend out of his knees but when he did we both recoginzed a very obvious increase in speed with out increased effort.

I will be using the Shinfins for my swim drills and for concentrated practice on my stroke mechanics for which they are ideally suited.

Thanks for chiming in Mark. I might have written the things off had you not straigtened me out in how to use them properly.
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