Kick hard or kick back?

Posted Ella Villas Articles

Thanks for all the responses to our last 2 messages! Lots of positive support from the community and a couple of corrections I was made aware of;

1) The quote I attributed to Chrissy Wellington was actually uttered by the late, inspiring, Jon Blaise (Blazeman)

2) What I called “Kona Ironman” is actually “Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii”

Now that we’re all good, on to today’s message…

Are you at all confused by the art of kicking in freestyle when it comes to triathlon?

One of the most underrated part of triathlon and masters swimming is kicking.

But, at the same time, mastering the kick has the potential to completely rework your swim and take you from below average to actually fighting for position in the water.

Yes, I know, what you are going to say:

“But I need to preserve my legs for the bike and the run.”

I agree with you: preserving your legs is important, which is why you need to work on your kick.

By having a weak kick, you are draining yourself of energy because the few kicks that you are taking require more energy and propels you less than if you had a strong kick.

If you had a stronger kick, however, you those few kicks will get you just as far if not farther but with much less energy, thus preserving your legs for the bike and run.

There are a few factors that go into the perfect kick.

What does not necessarily lead to a great kick though is leg strength. You might be able to squat twice your body weight or dead lift your first born son, but unless you have good form and body position all of that does not really matter. When it comes to kicking, form trumps muscle.

A great way to work way to perfecting that form is deep water vertical kicking. Go into the deep end and kick vertically with your hands above the water and WITHOUT fins.

If you are kicking properly, your head will stay well above the water. If your form breaks down, then you will sink.


^^^Vertical Kicking^^^

Workout: Do this supplemental kicking workout at the end of your swim.
Try your best not to do it with fins. 3-5 rounds of 5x 30 seconds of hard vertical, 30 sec easy 2x100m 50 hard kick, 50 easy kick.

Once you start to improve, extend the 30s to 1 minute, then 2 min, and then 100 to 200, 300 and even 400m.