Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kicking, Kicking, Kicking

This is the headline of the third point listed in the March/April 2010 Splash Magazine article entitled "So Long, Suits". The article outlines the "top 4 adjustments swimmers must make" now that FINA has sent the high tech suits to the Smithsonian. The other adjustments are "Improve Core Strength and Stability", "Eliminate Excess Drag" and "Technique Rules Again".

The main point of the Kicking adjustment is now that the buoyancy provided by the suits is gone swimmers will need stronger legs so that their kicking stays with them all the way to the finish so their body position remains advantageous. As the article so succinctly states, "Whether it's the end of a race or off the start or turns, no suit will cover up legs that are out of shape."

Fortunately there is a very clear and inexpensive solution; the more and faster you kick the less you will be hampered by leg fatigue or lack of a high tech suit. And the best thing about kicking is that it requires no special talent; all you need is will power!

However, it is all too often that swimmers (just about any athlete for that matter) will continue to work on their strengths figuring that will save the day. We figure that about 1/4 to 1/3 of training needs to incorporate leg work. We don't hit that number yet but we are working in that direction. We want leg power for short course and we know we need it for long course. If you are an open water aficionado you need it too. Tri-athletes need it as well.

We are including some kicking in our warm ups often and will add it to our loosen down swims as well. We even break some swims into part kick and part swim. The way to incorporate this into your training is only limited by your imagination.

Pick your starting point - where you are now in terms of a normal kicking set and interval. Then set a goal to work to change the duration, distance, interval and intensity of the kicking.

An example: you currently can kick 8x50/1:30 and that is pretty much it for you. Next time go 4x50/1:30 and then 4x50/1:20. Then try 2x100/2:50 and 2x100/2:40. Then add a couple more repeats and then knock another 5 or 10 seconds off the interval. If you swim 4 days a week make a kick set part of the workout twice a week. You can put on fins regardless of the caliber of kicker you are. It is fun to kick really fast! You can even begin, with fins, to kick on the same interval you usually swim. Be patient and give yourself some time. You will see steady and encouraging progress. And you will see an improvement in your racing as well. You will feel fresher deeper in the swim. You can actually pass people in the last 10 yards if your legs are still with you. When you do that you will feel so empowered and encouraged.

On our senior training team we now can kick 100's on the 1:40 for 2000 yards worth. Two years ago that was not possible. We kick 200's on the 3:30 and we are headed down from there...beginning this week!

You can do 100 short course repeat swims where you kick 25, put the board up, swim a 50, then rest 10 seconds and grab the board and kick the last 25 full blast. Find an interval that gives you 15 or 20 seconds rest. If you do 10 of these you will have added 500 yards/meters of kicking to your workout. Trust us when we say "that is a good thing".

Send us your favorite kick set and we will share it with others. Have a great week at the pool and bring your kick board. You will be pleased with the results...guaranteed!

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