In order to get the most performance out of your Lunocet Pro, some attention to your form and technique is warranted.
All improvements in form, streamlining and technique will pay dividends and you will find yourself covering more ground (on a single breath, if you are a freediver), having less muscular fatigue and being able to realize more speed with the same effort.
Aharon Solomons of Freedivers.net has created a great primer on proper technique and outlines some of the common mistakes that people employ when using a monofin.
Streamlining / hydrodynamics:
In order to move through the water efficiently, we need to work on our "slipperiness". This is done by focusing on reducing hydrodynamic drag. There are 3 easy ways to attack your drag:
The 2 primary reasons that we want to work on "flexibility" are for effective hands-over-head streamlining, as well as to facilitate a proper dolphin-kick / undulation.
The shoulder girdle, chest and upper back require flexibility in order to achieve the proper hands-over-head streamlined position. My ultimate test is to see if you can remain in this position during a dry breath hold and last almost as long as if you are lying down fully-relaxed for a more traditional dry static hold.
MANY shoulder stretching exercises exist including the ones starting at 5:00 in this freediving stretching video:
Another good exercise that I use is to get into a streamlined position and rest my hands on the top a door frame and lean forward to get a good stretch. You can hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable, rest and then repeat.
This stretching is particularly important and can be done as often as daily until you get that flexibility and range of motion that you need and then scaled back to 4x / week to maintain. Just because you can rest in the ideal, streamlined position does not mean that you will have the required mobility in your upper body with a maximum inhale and trying to undulate. Keep at the stretching!
The lower back can also use some attention with the exercises in the video above, as well as to lie backwards over an inflatable exercise ball to ensure that you have flexibility with your lower back.
Once you have good flexibility in your upper back and shoulders, you need to be conscious about starting the undulation somewhere in between your shoulders and upper-sternum. The chest goes down, the butt lifts up and the "whip is cracked" down towards the fin.
For a beautifully smooth application while freediving, check out Lisa Mattes below:
Other technique elements that are often neglected include the up-kick, as well as the ankles.
Place special note to your up-kick so that you are getting some additional propulsion from this "return" phase of the kick. Most people use far too much knee-bend in their down kick and simply return the fin back to the top to be able to repeat the motion. Not using the up-kick phase for forward propulsion is wasteful and is an easy area to gain additional efficiency.
In addition, the ankles can also be actively included into your range of motion to increase the whip-like effect and velocity of the fin, while using only the small muscles in the lower-legs to do so, without having to increase the amplitude of the larger or the core muscles. If nothing else, try incorporating some ankles into your up-kick / return phase.
Please understand that achieving an ideal, classical monofin technique is a journey that takes time and practice and that with effort put in, will yield progression over time and is well worth the effort.
A great tool to aid you in your progression is underwater video for your analysis. Work on some of the drills for a couple of weeks and re-video your form. This is an iterative process, but be analytical in what you see and you will improve.
Other misc. tips:
- Face / Eye wear:
With a monofin, you will be moving at higher velocities than bi-fins or no-fins, this is partially why low-drag is important. You may find the familiar situation of your mask ripping away from your face the first time you swim with a quality monofin. A simple band-aid is to tighten the strap down. A better solution is a low-profile mask like the Aqualung Micromask (or one of its many clones) or an Aqua Sphere Sphera, etc. Goggles will also eliminate this source of drag.
- Swim cap:
Not only will a swimcap keep your perm bouncy, hold your hair colour and eliminate chlorine damage... but the smooth silicone will reduce drag... AND improve your form!?
The silicone cap will provide a degree of "stickiness" that you can use to put your arms (biceps) against and they will help you retain your form without much energy expenditure. I only realized this once I stopped using one for training and the difference was obvious. $12 well spent!