the freestyle kick

Discussion in 'Triathlon' started by Lighthouseview9, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. Hey I posted something like this on the swimming newsgroup but no one answered. How do you get a
    stronger kick? I practice doing what the TI people say with leaning on your chest to lift the legs
    up but also should I be practicing with a kickboard or a tube under me? I heard the kickboard sinks
    you and so it doesn't help. Does anyone know how many times I am supposed to kick per stroke? or
    what the range is? Is it really worth it to buy fins and should I get short or long? Does this give
    a good leg workout in general? Thanks for any help.
     
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  2. "LighthouseView99" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hey I posted something like this on the swimming newsgroup but no one
    answered.
    > How do you get a stronger kick? I practice doing what the TI people say
    with
    > leaning on your chest to lift the legs up but also should I be practicing
    with
    > a kickboard or a tube under me? I heard the kickboard sinks you and so it doesn't help. Does
    > anyone know how many times I am supposed to kick per
    stroke?
    > or what the range is? Is it really worth it to buy fins and should I get
    short
    > or long? Does this give a good leg workout in general? Thanks for any
    help.

    You probably don't really need a stronger kick. Almost all of the propulsion in freestyle swimming
    comes from your arms. The main goal of kicking is to help you maintain a proper position in the
    water. When I'm wearing a wetsuit, I rarely even bother to kick.

    James
     
  3. You probably don't really need a stronger kick. Almost all of the propulsion in freestyle swimming
    comes from your arms. The main goal of kicking is to help you maintain a proper position in the
    water. When I'm wearing a wetsuit, I rarely even bother to kick.

    James

    I've been doing strength and endurance on the upper body and pretty much ignoring my legs. I have a
    good flutter kick but its unconscious pretty much now and sometimes I see that I am not kicking much
    though. I read that the kick is like the arms when running that they are there for balance and not
    propulsion. When I start thinking about my kick more it detracts from my upperbody awareness and its
    hard to concentrate on all of it. Perhaps when my form is excellent and unconscious upper body wise
    I can think more about my leg work I was thinking before. But you don't even use it much huh with a
    wet suit? Why is that? Just in a wet suit its harder?
     
  4. LighthouseView99 <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > You probably don't really need a stronger kick. Almost all of the propulsion in freestyle
    > > swimming comes from your arms. The main goal of kicking is to help you maintain a proper
    > > position in the water. When I'm wearing a wetsuit, I rarely even bother to kick.
    > >
    > > James
    >
    >
    > upperbody awareness and its hard to concentrate on all of it. Perhaps when my form is excellent
    > and unconscious upper body wise I can think more about my leg work I was thinking before. But you
    > don't even use it much huh with a wet suit? Why is that? Just in a wet suit its harder?

    As the distance increases, the emphasis on the kick decreases. You have to have a good kick to
    sprint fast in swimming, but it's not a long distance efficient way to swim, particularly for a
    triathlete who needs to get out and bike afterwords.

    A wetsuit helps keep you in a good hydrodynamic position by increasing your buoyancy - in
    particular, it helps keep your legs up. That's the same thing you do with a kick. So it's less
    necessary. Not harder - you _can_ still kick - you just don't need to kick as much to maintain a
    good position.

    On the other hand, just like learning to flip turn, there's something to be said for occasionally
    working on your kick to become a better all-around swimmer. <puts on flame resistant suit>.

    -Dave has an awful, awful kick.

    --
    work: dga - at - lcs.mit.edu me: angio - at - pobox.com MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
    http://www.angio.net/ (note that my reply-to address is vaguely despammed...) bulk emailers: I do
    not accept unsolicited email. Do not mail me.
     
  5. LighthouseView99 wrote:
    >
    > Hey I posted something like this on the swimming newsgroup but no one answered. How do you get a
    > stronger kick? I practice doing what the TI people say with leaning on your chest to lift the legs
    > up but also should I be practicing with a kickboard or a tube under me? I heard the kickboard
    > sinks you and so it doesn't help. Does anyone know how many times I am supposed to kick per
    > stroke? or what the range is? Is it really worth it to buy fins and should I get short or long?
    > Does this give a good leg workout in general? Thanks for any help.

    The best way to work on your kick (leaving whether or not you should work on it to others) is to mix
    kick work with no fins with kick work with long fins. Short fins are generally used for other
    purposes, not working on your kick.

    For work with long fins, to keep it simple, just try to be sure you're working and not just loafing
    off the extra umph the large fins give you. Go for pressing your leg fairly deep into the water each
    time and feel like you're moving through the water pretty quickly as a result. The effect ought to
    be a little like lifting weights - more resistance than just what your body normally gives. If you
    have problems with bringing your feet/legs out of the water, work on that here as well; don't let
    the ends of the fins come out of the water but a very little bit if you can help it. I find this to
    be more of a problem among triathletes and runners than among people who only swim.

    It is, especially for those of us with less than stellar kicks, brutally effective to simply put
    your head in the water and kick the length of the pool. Use a kickboard if you like as long as you
    hold it out in front of you, elbows locked straight, and keep your face in the water and your nose
    pointed to the bottom of the pool except when you're breathing. You can even use leg floats in front
    of you if you like, or nothing at all; it doesn't really matter. The point is to propel yourself
    from one end of the pool to the other, preferably several times, using only your kick. I find the
    simple act of isolating my kick, using no fins at all, does more for my kick than anything else I
    do. Focus on feeling the movement originating high in your body, from the waist or the hips, not
    just the legs.

    I also recommend you practice only pulling sometime and not kicking at all - I prefer to use leg
    floats and paddles. This can help you become aware of tension in your kick that might be hurting
    your pull and therefore your overall stroke; without kicking, you can really relax and concentrate
    on your pull. When you put the two skills back together, try to keep the pull you had when only
    pulling and a bit of the feeling of the kick you had when only kicking but use less effort kicking.

    Hope that's of some help.

    Steve "private and class swimming instructor at the Ridgewood, NJ, YMCA" Freides http://www.kbnj.com
     
  6. Jill

    Jill Guest

    "James Goddard" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > You probably don't really need a stronger kick. Almost all of the propulsion in freestyle swimming
    > comes from your arms. The main goal of kicking is to help you maintain a proper position in the
    > water. When I'm wearing a wetsuit, I rarely even bother to kick.

    You don't need a lot of propulsion from the kick. But the one thing you do want is to work on ankle
    flexibility until you're able to be relaxed about pointing your toes 180 degrees from your shins in
    the water.

    Feet at less than that angle serve the same function as airplane flaps on landing: providing
    increased resistance in order to slow you down.

    Side benefit is that with good ankle flex, you pick up more "snap" in your kick.
     
  7. "LighthouseView99" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > But you don't even use it much huh with a wet suit? Why is that? Just in a wet suit its harder?

    Not that it's harder, no. As I mentioned, the main purpose of the kick is to help you have a proper
    position in the water. You should be pretty much horizontal in the water with your hips breaking
    the surface. Doing this properly means both upper body balance (pushing down with your chest) and
    light kicking. (Your center of gravity is not at mid-height so the natural tendency is for your
    feet to sink.)

    I find that with the extra buoyancy of a wetsuit, I don't really need to kick at all to get a proper
    position in the water. In a race, I usually let them rest for most of the swim, but start kicking a
    little at the end to get some blood going in the right direction for the bike.

    James
     
  8. BIGGERSTUFF

    BIGGERSTUFF New Member

    Joined:
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    I am a swim coach and have coached many nationally ranked swimmers at all ages. To your question about kicking with a kick board:yes you should train kicking laps at a local pool back and forth with a kickboard. If you worried about sinking then you probably not kicking right. People tend to sink because they are not relaxed enough and/or "kicking with their legs" which looks like running in the water instead of flutter kicking. This is a very common mistake, which tend to cause people to sink at the bottom half. always remember to kick from your hips with your knee slightly bend. a way to see if you are doing this is to kick streamline kick on your back and see if your knee are sticking out of the water as you kick.
    In swimming freestyle, we use the terms 2 beat, 4 beat, 6 beat, and 8 beat kick (similar to the tempo in music). During long distance swimming, 2 beat kick is commonly used when swimming freestyle. usually the kick will follow the tempo of the arms. as you get closer to the finish line, you should rise to 4 beat or even 6 beat to fasten your pace.
    some tips to faster and smoother freestyle is NEVER SWIM ON YOUR FRONT, BUT TO SWIM ON YOUR SIDE. Rotation is the key element to freestyle (and backstroke). without rotation in swimming is like throwing a baseball with your whole body dead steady except for the arm.
     
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