We’ve talked before about how important it is to use your kick to maximize your speed and performance in the water and how ankle flexibility can help. Here are some more techniques for enhancing leg strength and muscle endurance.
1. Cross-train Your Legs
Swimming is not typically a leg-dominated sport simply because the legs do not produce most of the body’s propulsion and are less efficient than the arms. As a result, we often do not emphasize our legs during our swim workout. We can build our strength in this weaker area by focusing on our legs outside the water. Start jumping rope as a warmup before your swim workout or running stadiums twice a week in addition to your normal swim workouts.
2. Work your core outside the pool
People often forget that butterfly kick depends heavily on the strength of the abdominal muscles for propulsion. Challenge yourself with dynamic core exercises like bicycle kicking, row boats and 180 degree lateral holds. Even a few minutes of these exercises before workouts can improve your core strength.
3. Train your weakest kick
It’s often easy to rely on your strongest kick when a challenging kicking set is put up on the board. If you have found that you one type of kicking is a weakness for you, concentrate on your weakest kick during kicking sets for a few weeks instead of relying on your strongest kick to get you through practice.
4. Work your kick rate with the Tempo Trainer
Setting the correct cadence on flutter kick and dolphin kick can be a challenge. The Tempo Trainer can be a great way to set your correct rate. Each push off and streamline is an opportunity to work on a high kick rate. Many swimmers, build their rate in this portion of the race instead of attacking the kick off each wall. The quicker you can reach maximum rate and propulsion, the more effective your underwater kick and breakout into your stroke will be. Check out this video on Go Swim!
5. Vertical Kick
Vertical kick is an effective environment to work on kick rate. Vertical kicking is particularly effective because there is built-in feedback; if you are not giving a good amount of effort and kicking effectively, you will sink and your head will soon be under the water! Start with you arms at your side and bring them up crossing them across the chest so that you cannot use your hands for floatation as you build your leg strength. Kick in bursts of 15, 30 or 60 seconds with 30 seconds of rest to work on sprint and endurance training for your legs.