Contrary to what many swimmers think, your freestyle kick actually does very little to help propel you through the water. In fact, you may be expending so much energy that your kick is actually slowing you down. We’ll let that sink in for a moment…
For distance, triathlon or even casual swimmers, the recommended kick is more about body position, rotation and efficiency of motion.
Here is what your Freestyle kick SHOULD be doing for you.
- Your kick should lift your legs up to give you a good body position.
- Your kick should be low drag.
- Your kick timing should drive your rotation, not hinder it.
- Your kick should be low effort so it minimizes energy use.
Making your kick more effective will reduce the effort required to swim and boost your speed by reducing your drag. Here are some bonus tips for maximum efficiency.
- Kick from the hip without bending your knees. (Many triathletes have trouble with this one because the other components of the race build power from the knee.
- Point your toes for a lower profile in the water.
- Develop flexibility in your feet and ankles. This will be tough for runners and many cyclists but lack of ankle flexibility will slow you down in the water. Pointing your foot straight reduces drag in the water and increases your efficiency. This is only doable if you have a flexible ankle.
- Perfect your timing. Your kick should be helping your body rotation during your stroke. Time your kick so that your rotation is effective.
Practice these techniques, especially pointing your toes to reduce drag in the water and improve your kick efficiency. You’ll expend less energy on an inefficient kick and be able to swim faster and farther.
Got your own swimming tips? We’d love to hear ‘em! Send them our way.
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