How to Improve Your Kick

I’m a weirdo and love swimming. I keep my fingers crossed for a wetsuit illegal swim. Crazy, right? However, most triathletes dream of the wetsuit legal swims because you’re more buoyant, your legs are popped up in alignment, making your kick more efficient with your heels breaking the surface, and you practically surf on top on the water.

To improve your kick without the added help of a wetsuit or extra buoyant jammers, try the following exercises and drills:

1. A powerful kick comes from flexible ankles, so stretch your ankles by trying to sit on your heels for a few minutes each day. Start with 10-20 seconds four times, and then increase the duration and decrease the reps. You should be able to sit on your heels with your feet flat under you for a full minute or more.

2. If you have an exercise band, practice pointing and flexing your ankle with the exercise band in the arch of your foot. Do this for one minute for each ankle.

3. Do ankle rotations. These are called ABC ankles because you rotate your ankles clockwise for the duration of the ABC song, and then counter clockwise for the length of the song again. Repeat with your other ankle. (It’s an old track stretching drill, but works for swimming too).

4. Get some fins. If they are split in the middle, your legs will work harder, but this is not necessary. If the fins are longer, your ankles will be stretched out more versus a shorter fin. However, the shorter fin mimics a fast and strong swimming kick, so a shorter fin might work best. Kick on your back without a kick board (this increases flexibility in your ankle) and on your front with a kick board. Also, my favorite kicking drill is to take three strokes, do six kicks, and repeat for 50s. Do at least 300 yards kicking per workout.

5. Try this drill in the deep end. Do 3×10 seconds with 30 seconds rest. Build up to 3×20 seconds with 30 seconds rest, and then do 3×30 seconds with 30 seconds rest. You cannot use your hands, and you need to keep your head up and out of the water. If your head goes under, start again.
Upright Flutter Kick Drill

That’s it! If you try all of these drills for over a month, leave a comment below and let me know how it helped improve your flutter kick. Happy swimming!

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