Ever heard of UpKick?

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For the past couple of weeks it seems like all I’ve been posting about on the SwimBox instagram stories is upkick. And I’ve come to find that a lottttt of people have never heard of it.

Sound familiar?

Probably not because it is not a widely discussed topic in the swimming world. People like to focus on a strong kick that stays at the surface of the water, but not many people go into how to achieve that.

The secret?

Upkick. Focus on your upkick.

Simply put, the freestyle kick is made up of two parts: the upkick and the downkick. In the upkick, the bottom of the foot is pushing upwards towards the surface of the water. In the downkick, the top of the foot is pushing downwards towards the bottom of the pool.

Easy, right?

The main reason legs sink during freestyle is because their kick is driven by their downkick. What you want is to have an equal amount of force being driven into both your downkick AND your upkick. This will keep your legs at the surface of the water and prevent your legs from dragging the bottom half of your body downward creating unnecessary drag.

A great training tool to use to focus on strengthening your upkick is a theraband. You take the theraband, place it around your ankles, and swim. Easy peasy. If you keep focusing on your downkick your legs will sink. If you don’t kick enough, the band will fall off, so you’ll have immediate feedback as to whether you’re making a change or not.

It’s best to first try this while holding onto the wall and kicking in place. Once you get the hang of that, move on to doing it just kicking while in a streamline position. Finally, you’ll move to swimming freestyle and incorporating your new kick into your stroke.

For the full breakdown of how to do this take a look at our video.

It breaks down the steps and shows you demos through each part of the progression piece by piece:

I know it sounds easy, but this can take a long time to change and perfect, especially to newer swimmers. Take your time. Frustrated? Take a break; come back to it later. You’ll get it.

Lissa Henderson
Tri Swim Coach