Even though the kick only stands for a very small percentage of your propulsion forward. An effective kick will make you more streamlined and that will create less frontal drag. Swimming is quantified by the swimmer’s power output (the force created to pull yourself forward), and the resistance created by the water in front of the swimmer (the force in which the swimmer needs to push against).
Three things to think about when kicking
Do this when kicking in freestyle
- Point your toes
Bend your ankles so that your toes point towards the back of the pool. Also, slightly point your toes in towards each other. Think of it as your big toes staying close together.
- Kick from the hip
You should use your hip flexors and glutes to kick, i.e the big muscles are doing small movements. That equals less energy spent!
- Time it with your stroke
Kicking down should be timed with your diagonal hand starting the catch phase. This goes for a 2-beat kick as well the 4- and 6-beat kick.
6 steps to becoming a faster and more efficient swimmer
We have chosen to sort the freestyle stroke into six separate segments. In all featured articles, you will both be able to read about that part of the stroke and watch our videos on different swim drills that will improve your skillset in that area.
- The Catch – The part of your stroke from when your hand enters the water, up until you are able to start pulling yourself forward.
- The Pull – This part starts where the catch ends, and continues until the hand exits the water.
- The Recovery – It is the part of the stroke that occurs above the surface.
- The Kick – Kicking in swimming is not the biggest power output, but, it is crucial for water position and reducing frontal drag.
- The Rotation – The way you rock your body from side to side to create your optimal streamlined position and best power output.
- The Head position – How you hold your head, and where you look will greatly impact your position in the water.
Doing drills from these six areas will improve your swimming.
So, even if you are not a sprinter in the swimming sense of the word (doing up to 400 in the pool), working on your kick will benefit you greatly.
Four kick-ass swim drills to improve your kick
Try implementing some kicking during your warm-up at your next session.
Kickboard swim drill
Hold the kickboard in front of you.
Hold your head just above the water, looking forward.
Try having your hip close to the surface.
Kick from the hip.
Active core, don’t let your lower back arc.
Developing your kick.
Building your endurance.
Swimming with fins
When using fins (or kicking in general), kick from your hip.
Don’t overreach, do your normal short rapid kick.
Focus on using your big muscles around your hip.
Having a tight core.
Building swim strength.
Kicking on your back
Arms forward, and chin down.
Kicking from the hips.
Hips close to the surface.
Sense of speed.
Kicking on your side
Laying on your side, with one arm forward. Look down towards the bottom.
Kick as normal.
Don’t lose balance and tip over to your stomach or back.
Big toes pointing towards each other.
Laying on your side.
Kick fro the hip.
Sense of rotation while kicking.
Relaxed spine while swimming.
Strengthening your kick.