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View Full Version : The 'proper' way to flutter kick



pwolf66
September 11th, 2009, 02:26 PM
OK, I was kicking it in the pool with the seniors and I noticed a recurring theme among all of them.

Everyone was having thier foot exit the water by at least 2 inches. By this I mean the part of the foot from just below the ankle all the way to the toes. I also used to (until about 3 months ago) kick this exact same way until I started focusing on having just my heel break the surface of the water. This has helped me immensely on getting a better 'bite' with my foot and to hold more water.

Am I just crazy or do most swimmers not know the correct way to kick? Heck, I didn't, that's for sure (unless I'm completely off my rocker).

Anyone else find it easier to kick this way?

ande
September 11th, 2009, 04:08 PM
Fast flutter kickers have great feel for the water with their feet and legs, most SPLASH when they kick fast, their feet are breaking the surface. Part of their foot comes out of the water not sure how much but some.

there's some great up close under over freestyle footage of Phelps on youtube

Years ago when I'd watch shaun jordan flutter kick from underwater, it looked like from his knee to his toes was a fin, I call that the shin fin technique.

Here's my solution to kicking faster (http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=133004&postcount=240)

Paul, how fast can you flutter kick a 25, 50, & 100?

on kicking sets, too many swimmers lay back instead of laying waste.

SolarEnergy
September 11th, 2009, 05:23 PM
I have a little anecdote on this, for what it's worth of course.

Back to the days I was training with a Varsity team (I was very weak compared the overall level of some other folks). I could easily book sets of 50m kick off 1min, off 55s, but off 50s it would be very problematic. Start hard, touch 45s. 5s rest. Next one would touch 46s. 4s rest. Next would touch 48s. 2s rest. Next? dropped.

One day I was trying to perform one of these and as usual, I was gradually being dropped. At one point the coach (who later became my boss) yields at me: Bend your knees to kick faster and tap on the water!!!

That sole feed back that day was enough for me to stay with the squad, finish the sets, and after that I was already good enough to stay with these guys even on the tightest kick intervals (no one in the squad were kicking off 45sec intervals for 50m kicking sets).

It wasn't a matter of practicing this new way of kicking for few days and see the results afterward. No. That day, that feedback made all the difference between staying with the squad and being dropped.

So for me, it's clear. If I need to run away from a shark (read *not being dropped from a set*), I tap on the water as hard and (more importantly) as fast as I can. And I DO bend the knees to do so.

quicksilver
September 11th, 2009, 07:45 PM
Everyone was having their foot exit the water by at least 2 inches.This sounds about right. As with most good flutter kickers, the heels come out a tad higher during kick sets.
During a swim though...they should be deeper just as you stated. Kicking air isn't productive.

http://www.floswimming.org/videos/coverage/view_video/271-weekly-wednesday-workout/87259-kick-set-auburn

rtodd
September 11th, 2009, 08:17 PM
Monster kick is key to fast swimming.
Did fast stuff today and I was fast only when I brought in as big and hard a kick as possible. This type of kick drives the whole stroke from rotation to turnover. Too bad I neglect kick so much. It should be 25% of every workout.

SolarEnergy
September 11th, 2009, 09:43 PM
This sounds about right. As with most good flutter kickers, the heels come out a tad higher during kick sets.
During a swim though...they should be deeper just as you stated. Kicking air isn't productive.

http://www.floswimming.org/videos/coverage/view_video/271-weekly-wednesday-workout/87259-kick-set-auburn

I am very glad that you brought this video forward. It allows me to mention something we've kept forgetting in these last few threads on kicking (although Ande probably mentioned it in his recommendations), an old trick as simple as abc.

When you kick hard and oufff. It is merely sufficient and that you fear you may be dropped, just cheat a bit. Put your head in the water that brings your legs at the surface easing off the kicking a bit. That gives you some speed then you raise the head back up and hold on to the set. And besides, that works on hypoxia (no air) a bit in the same time. Two birds with one stone they call this?

On this clip, the coach seems to be using tubas (French, I do not know in English, pipes maybe?). That allows for the kid to keep the head in the water all the way. I find it's brilliant (as a drill), never thought about it.

I believe that it explains in part why every single kid is tapping on the water, and indirectly why they seem so fast.

ande
September 11th, 2009, 09:48 PM
here's phelps
YouTube - Michael Phelps freestyle multi angle camera

rtodd
September 11th, 2009, 10:13 PM
Last part of that video was great. Tremedous amplitude in his flutter kick.

I think when swimming at "speed" there is a trough and then a crest wave that the feet are hidden in more so than in kick only swimming. Maybe that's why the feet come out more on kick sets.

Phelps uses 5 ft of depth on his entry! I think that type of entry scrubs the least speed due to friction loss and he uses the bouancy to maintain speed of his SDK as he surfaces.

Ricki
September 12th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Great vid! Thanks for posting.

Tree
September 19th, 2009, 11:10 PM
A Chinese forum advocates arching your hip part a little bit to help one's kicking whist swimming a full stroke. According to this forum the sequence when doing a kick set is to kick without a borad first, then with a board to force you arch your hip part a little bit to add more difficulties to the kick.

Any thoughts on this one?

SolarEnergy
September 21st, 2009, 01:42 PM
A Chinese forum advocates arching your hip part a little bit to help one's kicking whist swimming a full stroke. ...
... Any thoughts on this one? Not sure I would advocate this for beginners, and I am not sure it would help intermediate/advanced level swimmers neither.

Reason for not advocating this among newbies is that it may create some tensions in the lowerback region. It is already hard enough to eliminate all tensions during FreeStyle executions that hmmm. I donno.

marksman
September 22nd, 2009, 04:04 PM
natalie coughlin has some excerpts from her itrain freestyle training videos. In one of them she does a flutter kick drill where she keeps her arms at her sides and alternate breathes. She uses her flutter kick to rotate from side to side.

It's a very difficult drill actually, and requires coordination and good body position. I'm not sure if it suits all freestylers, certainly not 2-beat kickers, but for those with a steady 6-beat kick on their free and back it might be better than training the kick with a kickboard.

ehoch
September 22nd, 2009, 07:13 PM
Anyone else find it easier to kick this way?

Not me - my feet are way out of the water, but people can be fast either way. Also, people usually kick a little different with board in a kick set vs regular swimming.

For what it's worth though - I have never seen anybody kick Free faster than me with their feet staying in the water. Best kicker I have ever seen was Larsen Jensen ... holding repeat 100s in the low teens long course, although I heard he was not the best kicker on the Mission Viejo team - his feet were way out of the water.

I think the feet out of the water works for some people, because you come down into the water with tremendous speed - if you can translate that into propulsion, you will move fast.

Also - there are a lot of variations to compare kick times - size of the board, flip turn or regular, how many free pulls before the turn,

qbrain
September 23rd, 2009, 09:50 AM
Bend your knees to kick faster and tap on the water!!!

Two questions.

Bend your knees when?

What does tap mean? I thought I knew, and now I am pretty sure I was wrong. I thought tapping was a kick drill where you keep your feet up and come down to tap the water. A lot of splash a lot of leg speed, but very little propulsion.

SolarEnergy
September 23rd, 2009, 03:27 PM
Two questions.

Bend your knees when?

What does tap mean? I thought I knew, and now I am pretty sure I was wrong. I thought tapping was a kick drill where you keep your feet up and come down to tap the water. A lot of splash a lot of leg speed, but very little propulsion. Before answering your questions, could you tell me how fast you can get kicking with a board over let's say 50m sprint? Can you go under 50s (close to or even under 45s)?

ande
September 24th, 2009, 10:17 AM
I believe the best way to kick is the way
that allows you to kick the fastest times.

what are your kicking times for
15, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, & 200?
Find out what they are then work to improve them.


If you want to experiment with technique, do this set:
20 x 50 kick
odds: FAST for time on :45 experimenting with splash, foot speed, & amplitude
evens: EASY on 1:45 recover & prepare for your next FAST one

Things you can experiment with are:
+ Splash: none, some, lots,
+ Amplitude: small medium large,
+ Frequency: Foot Speed: fast, faster fastest,
+ Intensity: how much effort

What works best for me is:
Some to lot's of splash, medium amplitude, & fastest foot speed,
plus being warmed up & ready, getting psyched, hard push offs & fast turns.

Other factors that affect kicking speed are:
+ leg conditioning
+ hard push offs
+ fast turns
+ what suit the kicker wears
+ how the kicker starts
+ whether the kicker is fresh or fatigued
+ the kickers body shape & weight
+ foot & ankle flexibility
+ being warmed up & ready &
+ mental factors: like self image, what the swimmer expects to kick, and how psyched they

DEVELOP A FAST KICK THEN INTEGRATE IT WITH YOUR STROKE,
USE IT WHEN YOU SWIM.

It takes years of training to maximize your kick potential

Learn how hard you can kick for each distance you race.


OK, I was kicking it in the pool with the seniors and I noticed a recurring theme among all of them.

Everyone was having thier foot exit the water by at least 2 inches. By this I mean the part of the foot from just below the ankle all the way to the toes. I also used to (until about 3 months ago) kick this exact same way until I started focusing on having just my heel break the surface of the water. This has helped me immensely on getting a better 'bite' with my foot and to hold more water.

Am I just crazy or do most swimmers not know the correct way to kick? Heck, I didn't, that's for sure (unless I'm completely off my rocker).

Anyone else find it easier to kick this way?

SolarEnergy
September 24th, 2009, 11:16 AM
I believe the best way to kick is the way
that allows you to kick the fastest times. Brilliant quote that is

SolarEnergy
October 3rd, 2009, 09:16 PM
Two questions.

Bend your knees when?

What does tap mean? I thought I knew, and now I am pretty sure I was wrong. I thought tapping was a kick drill where you keep your feet up and come down to tap the water. A lot of splash a lot of leg speed, but very little propulsion.
Here gbrain,

The clip referred to below is probably one of the best swimming lesson I've seen on the Internet so far. A real Free Style specialist that can modulate her stroke according to the event duration.

During her 6beat kick execution, she taps on the water pretty much the way it should be done. She later explains how all this works, putting emphasis on ankle flexibility. She also explains how she bends the knee. She makes sure that some inheritance takes place from bottom of the leg (glutes and tights) down to lower portion of the leg (using the knee as a transmission, the extra wip that bending the knee allows for adds some power to the lower leg, hence the importance to bend 'em) and finally, if ankles are flexible they're also used as a transmission to finish the movement with a powerful wip, on the water.

Now why on the water. Knowing that some bubbles will get created, making the water less solid if you may. Because what makes the kick propulsive is the angle of attack of the feet relative to the surface. That's the first reason. Then also if you look carefully on the clip, she ends the kick very shallow. The leg doesn't at all go deep, since by doing so it would present some frontal drag. So a lot of swimmers and coaches find that taping on the surface of the water is a fair compromise that allows for aggressive angle of attack and a compact kick.

As a bonus, you get a great (one of the bests I've seen) 2beat kick demonstration, with emphasis put on the real deal, that is overall body balance that must be perfect so that the body stays at the surface despite minimal contribution from the kick.

that clip was referred to in an other thread btw. It's a great one.
YouTube - Swim Fast - Freestyle with Lindsay Benko [ 6/2 Beat Kick ]

SwimStud
October 3rd, 2009, 09:47 PM
I was kicking with too straight a leg....I just brought in more flick by bending the knee. Speed is about the same but I don't get tired out and can kick longer distances now. I think I had to work through a very straight leg kick period to where I am now. I know it strengthened my core by kicking virtually straight.

ande
October 5th, 2009, 02:18 PM
it's a bad idea to kick with stiff legs, it's slow & weak

when you flutter kick correctly begin with
there's a slight knee bend
then you move your calf & foot down with toes pointed
as soon as your leg goes a bit past neutral
you reverse & pop it up with toes pointed

also concentrate on "catching" water with your shins, calves & feet
on your up kick & down kick

How fast can you kick 15, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150 & 200?
time yourself, work on improving



I was kicking with too straight a leg....I just brought in more flick by bending the knee. Speed is about the same but I don't get tired out and can't kick longer distances now. I think I had to work through a very straight leg kick period to where I am now. I know it strengthened my core by kicking virtually straight.

SwimStud
October 5th, 2009, 07:57 PM
How fast can you kick 15, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150 & 200?
time yourself, work on improving

I'll have to recheck my times. All I know it that I finally feel like I am moving and it's comfortable. Sure sprinting will still hurt...but that's the idea.

I did 5 x 200K, 200 P, 200 Swim today. All kick without fins which would not have happened a few weeks ago.

pwolf66
October 5th, 2009, 08:10 PM
I did 5 x 200K, 200 P, 200 Swim today. All kick without fins which would not have happened a few weeks ago.

:applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

VERY nice!!!

qbrain
October 5th, 2009, 08:14 PM
I did 5 x 200K, 200 P, 200 Swim today. All kick without fins which would not have happened a few weeks ago.

Nice job Stud, that would have only taken me about 5 hours.

SwimStud
October 5th, 2009, 08:18 PM
:applaud: :applaud: :applaud:

VERY nice!!!


Nice job Stud, that would have only taken me about 5 hours.

Let me clarify that's 5 x thru:
200 K
200 P
200 Swim

middle rep all BR

avg :20RI

__steve__
October 5th, 2009, 10:09 PM
For kicking work I like to do a couple 25's boardless. I also like to do a couple SDK as far as I can until my teeth hurt. It's not that far yet - like 15M but it's good enough until I get better.

One thing I notice after very hard kick efforts when my legs become concrete and I continue to do a kick drill is that my long axis (head to toe) kicks out to the right about 10. I think my left leg might be weaker.