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…


Kicking can actually slow you down...

Kick­ing can actu­ally slow you down…

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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