Do you need to kick? Swim drills to improve kick

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

How to:
Hold the kickboard in front of you.
Hold your head just above the water, looking forward.
Try having your hip close to the surface.

Focus on:
Kick from the hip.
Active core, don’t let your lower back arc.

Good for:
Developing your kick.
Hip strength.
Building your endurance.

Swimming with fins

How to:
When using fins (or kicking in general), kick from your hip.
Don’t overreach, do your normal short rapid kick.

Focus on:
Focus on using your big muscles around your hip.
Having a tight core.

Good for:
Building endurance.
Building swim strength.
Speed work.

Kicking on your back

How to:
Arms forward, and chin down.
Streamline position.

Focus on:
Kicking from the hips.
Hips close to the surface.

Good for:
Building strength.
Building endurance.
Sense of speed.

Kicking on your side

How to:
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.

Focus on:
Big toes pointing towards each other.
Laying on your side.
Kick fro the hip.

Good for:
Sense of rotation while kicking.
Relaxed spine while swimming.
Strengthening your kick.

The next step in your training

Swim drills are great, and if you are looking for inspiration on how to incorporate them into your training? Then joining our global digital tribe – the TOT endurance club is something for you! There you’ll get:

  • A weekly training program (swim, bike, run, row)
  • Exclusive content via the member group on Facebook
  • A group that trains together, in the comfort of your own homes.
  • 10% Discount on all our training programs.

learn more!

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