1) Leave arms at side. Turn one side of your body toward the mirror, then the other side. Keep both ears visible in mirror the whole time, and avoid shrugging your shoulder. (Don’t lift it toward your ear.) Each time you turn one side toward mirror, press that arm into your ribcage. It’s already right there next to it, but create the pressure–like someone’s trying to push fingers in between, and you don’t let them get in. (This should remind you of things we do with the ‘sponges’.) Notice how it really straightens you in the pit of your elbow. *Still don’t shrug shoulder!Keep both ears visible in mirror always.
2) Now, with each turn, bring that arm up like backstroke–just partway. Don’t go to the ear-brush. Bring it straight toward its reflection in mirror. When you can see your armpit under your arm, stop and drop. (Remember, keep both ears visible the whole time.) Feel that compression each time, just for a moment, between your arm and ribcage–like you’re squeezing some water out of the sponge right before you release it. You’ll get that straightening effect at the elbow even before your arm is off your body. Let gravity have that hand as armrises.
3) Start in “position 11.” (Make it a good one!) Now imagine a very tall jackhammer right in front of you. (Ask your parents if you don’t know what this is.) It stands as high as your eyes. Get your hands on the handles of it without closing your armpits. (This requires attention!) Now push it straight into the ground. (Your armpits will close, but not faster than you’re pushing the jackhammer.) When you’ve pushed the jackhammer almost all the way down, let your hands come off it and bring arms out–just like you would to make a snowangel, if you were lying on your back in snow! Let gravity have the hands. About halfway up or slightly more, stop and drop. 4) Start in “position 11.” Do the jackhammer again, but with just one arm. Keep the other arm in its ’11’ place. Alternate arms each time you start from ’11’ again. As you do the exercise, really watch those two speeds: how fast you’re pushing the jackhammer down and how fast that armpit is closing. They should match.
extra credit: Do these with a cup of water on your head. . .if you dare! (the top of your head. . .Duh.) Use a plastic or paper cup, not glass. You know, just in case.
5) Start in an extra-close ’11’, so your thumbs are almost against each other, palms facing mirror. Press out to a ‘Y’ without closing armpits at all. This is the opposite of relaxing! Maintain the stress of holding your arms up. You should now have a thinner view of your palms, because you pressed out. Pause at the ‘Y’, then make a party hat on top of your head! (I know, it feels silly. Just do it. No one’s watching.) Go to the party hat without closing armpits: hold your arms up. Now shoot straight back to the close ’11’, palms facing mirror again. Rest your arms, then repeat.Once again, swimmers, these exercises at a mirror would be good for you to do every day! They’ll help you keep the memory of swimming positions and movements while we’re not doing them in water.