View Full Version : Backstroke kicks--which leg?

September 20th, 2008, 05:35 PM
Seems most people use 6-beat for backstroke. When is the time to kick left leg? Is it when your left hand exits the water? I find the coordinations between kicks and hands/arms are even more crucial in backstroke than in freestyle. I can only do well on left side; the right side gets chaotic :(

Jeff Commings
September 20th, 2008, 06:25 PM
It's the same kick pattern as freestyle.

Obviously, if you're doing a six-beat kick, you're kicking both legs on each arm.

September 20th, 2008, 06:49 PM
It's the same kick pattern as freestyle.

Obviously, if you're doing a six-beat kick, you're kicking both legs on each arm.

So I guess what I say is correct, if it's like freestyle. Yes in 6-beat you kick both. What I mean is the initial kick of the sequence. If my left hand is exiting the water, my leg goes Left(down-kicking)--Right--Left. The initial left kick is the most forceful, right (as far as I see on the videos)?

December 3rd, 2008, 03:34 PM
I've attempted to swim backstroke with a two beat kick, its doable but feels no where near as comfortable as a two beat kick in front crawl. What would you say is the proper timing for two beat backstroke kick?

December 4th, 2008, 11:57 AM
I find BK pretty much requires a 6-beat kick, otherwise legs sink and the stroke gets "lurch-y" for lack of a real word to describe it.

This is why the end of a 200 BK lights your quads on fire. Even when you're saving your legs in a longer BK set or at the beginning of a race, shallower, less intense 6-beat kicking is needed to maintain tempo and form.

I'll also add that, as someone who returned to the sport about a year ago, only when I added moderate-to-high core-strength dryland about 6 months ago did my BK start to feel good again. My lower and upper halves seem connected. I anticipated core training to benefit my fly more than anything (and it certainly has), but backstroke is where I feel the greatest benefit.

December 5th, 2008, 01:25 PM
This is something that I have been focusing on for some time---figuring out the pattern and rhythm to the kick--how it fits together with the arms--and how to teach this to adults. What I have found is exactly what Jeff Commings says, the pattern is exaclty the same as freestyle. In Free, the arm you are starting your catch with (starting your pull), you have a strong down beat kick on that same side (right as you start your catch), helping you rotate to your other side. Then have 2 more kicks before your other arm starts its catch--hence 3 kicks on each side--equals 6 beat kick. I call the down kick during your catch a switch kick, because it helps you rotate (switch) to your other side. Notice your body position in free right before the switch kick--arm is extended, about to catch, that same side leg (foot) is up, ready to kick down, and that side hip is down--(closer to the bottom than the other hip)
So, if back is the exact same, just do the same sequence but on your back. Right before the catch (arm is in the water fully extended) that hip is now up, that leg (foot) down ready to kick up. As that leg kicks up (that's the switch kick that helps you rotate to your other side), get a good catch, finsh the pull as you do 2 more kicks. Now the other arm is ready to catch with same body position as above (that side hip is up, leg down, ready to kick up). etc. Hope this is helpful.