How to improve your kicking? (Freestyle Kick Drills)

Be a Safer Swimmer - 360swim SaferSwimmer

Nov 26, 2005

How to improve your kicking? (Freestyle Kick Drills)

In this post, I will discuss a few tips and tricks on how to improve your kick or how to make kicking more fun.

Let's start with the basics.
a.) Kicking without keybboard (kickboard :) thanks @4th Dwarf) is a must for majority of the kicking exercises. Advantages include: working on stabilizing body (your core), improving balance, easier on the shoulders and much more. If you have to use a kickboard, cut it in half, so it is small and makes you work. Finally, if kicking with kickboards - do flipturns with both of the arms staying on the kickboard. This will help you with your stomach and keeps you focused.

b.) Keep in mind that kicking on your back is much better for you due to the fact that you exercise the other side (back side) of the leg which equalizes the leg muscles (since most of your swimming is on your front).

c.) When using fins, it is best to use zoomers. If you do not have money for zoomers, simply cut off the tips of your fins to make a pair. :)

Here are some helpful drills:

1. Wall kicking. Start kicking holding the wall. Kick 15 sec easy, 15 sec sprint and then push off right away and swim 6-beat kick free to the other side where you will grab the wall and continue kicking. So if you decide to do 20x25 of this, you will never stop kicking, until you get done with all the 25s. Feel free to change the interval sprint/easy kicks as you wish.

2. Whistle kicking. This exercise requires a kickboard. Select a good distance, for example 500 meters and then have your coach blow the whistle every so often to let you know that you should start sprinting, when he/she blows again, you may slow down, but continue with kicking. Or you can select a time interval like 30 minutes and see how far you can get during this time.

3. Shoe kicks. Get yourself a pair of old tennis shoes. Do 6x50 with a kickboard and tennis shoes on. Pick a slower interval, because this is not easy, but this kicking exercise strengthens your legs and breaks up the kicking monotony very well.

4. Stretch cord kicks. Get a short stretch cord, attach it to the block and have a set of explosive kicks off the wall. E.g. 5x (30 sec sprint+30 sec rest).

5. Breaststroke on your back. Arms are in the streamline position, you are laying on your back and perform powerful breast kicks. The most important part is to keep flat on the water with your head back and your knees underwater at all times. Heels of your feet should almost touch your buttocks.

6. Vertical kicking. There are many variations of this excercise.
  a.) Sprint - Do short intervals of fly kicks as fast as you can and count how many you have done. Try to increase the number of kicks each time.
  b.) Longer distance - You can kick with your arm in the streamline, on your head, at your side or by you body. Make sure to keep nice and straight posture + your head out of the water.
  c.) Fun weights - To make this more challenging, you can hold a bucket with water above your head. To make it even more fun, you can split your swimmers into groups of 2 or 3 and give them waterproof medicine balls to throw to each other.
  d.) Push offs - Lastly, if you feel creative, you may have the swimmers push of the bottom as high as possible in streamline while kicking fly and not let the body fall deep back underwater.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have more kicking sets you'd like to share with us. Happy kicking.

Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.


Dent said...

awsome site keep on posting. Relly good information and tips. I am a swimmer and it is always nice to get new tips and drills so keep it up. Thanks

High Power Rocketry said...

Great page, but I think you need a format rework: on many computers the side pane makes the blog content drop to the bottom. At first I just thought your page was all adds and links.


Me Crabby said...

This is a great site ;)

4th Dwarf said...

Wow, you sure get a lot of comment spam.

I just wanted to say that I like the first tip: "a.) Kicking without keyboard is a must..."

But shouldn't it be the whole computer that you kick without? ;-) said...

I will go and learn see if this kicking thing really helps.


Online Degree said...

Thanks for the tips! I will give it a try.

Anonymous said...

I am teaching my kids (8 & 6) how to swim and this is very helpful. Do you have any special advice for teaching kids.


jay d said...

this is a great site. i'm 23 years old, male and i can't swim. i've attempted to learn, but gave up in the past because i couldn't float. i believe though. i have to learn and i have to learn NOW. if i go everday and practice, how long do you think it'll take me to learn how to swim?

my lowerbody is like a sack of rocks. any drills, exercises, tips or suggestions?

im going to stay tuned in on this site because im actually going to enrol into an adult swim class at my nearby ymca.

what a great blog. thank you for your insight.

Big Bird said...

Nice advice! Do you have any advice about how to swim faster for longer? Does it have any thing to do with your stroke?


_sponge bob lova_ said...

thanks 4 da advice but dis aint swimmin class

ipod jeans said...

thank u so much

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Swimator said...

@Air Jordan - you can subscribe here or if you browse the left column of the blog you can find more ways to subscribe, even via email.

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Swimator said...

@Air Jordan Shoes - please see the left column for RSS feed instructions.

herana said...

Great article and your blog template is so cool. Is this template free or not. If so, Where could i download this template? if not, how much does it cost? Thanks a lot!

Swimator said...

@herana - the template is not free and cannot be downloaded as I created it.

Swimming Pools said...

Improving your freestyle kick drills will definitely have an effect on your fitness levels!

Olivier said...

So many beginner swimmers avoid working on their kick. Which is too bad. Drills like single leg kick, vertical kicking and others are simple and powerful ways to not only improve your kick but to swim faster!