PDA

View Full Version : What causes the most propulsion in backstroke--arms or kicks



nhc
May 15th, 2011, 03:12 PM
Some say in backstroke propulsion comes mostly from the arm movement, while others say kicking is the most important. What do you think? Is it possible to be fast (not the fastest) while being weak in one or the other?

Lump
May 15th, 2011, 03:17 PM
Some say in backstroke propulsion comes mostly from the arm movement, while others say kicking is the most important. What do you think? Is it possible to be fast (not the fastest) while being weak in one or the other?

Well, provided that most of backstroke these days is underwater SDK I would say legs and then arms once on top of the water.

nhc
May 15th, 2011, 03:33 PM
Well, provided that most of backstroke these days is underwater SDK I would say legs and then arms once on top of the water.

OK, by "kick" I meant flutter kick. :)

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2011, 03:41 PM
Such questions are very misleading, in backstroke or any other stroke. The reason is that arms and legs are not independent of one another. For example, in backstroke my kick helps my rotation and keeps me high in the water, giving my arms better leverage for the pull.

Lump
May 15th, 2011, 03:44 PM
Such questions are very misleading, in backstroke or any other stroke. The reason is that arms and legs are not independent of one another. For example, in backstroke my kick helps my rotation and keeps me high in the water, giving my arms better leverage for the pull.

Exactly. I just took his question as to which (arm/legs) provides the most propulsion in general. You really can't have one without the other.

nhc
May 15th, 2011, 04:01 PM
The reason I post this was that I am a very poor kicker, almost don't kick at all in backstroke or freestyle. The few kicks I make are just for balancing purpose. But I can swim in reasonable speed and faster than many who kick much more. I'm sure if I improve my kicks I'll be even faster.

ande
May 15th, 2011, 04:09 PM
backstroke propulsion comes mostly from the arms when SWIMMING backstroke, not sure what the percentages are, but kicking is very important.
maybe 60 - 70% arms 30 - 40% legs

kicking is critical especially SDK

Is it possible to be fast (not the fastest) while being weak in one or the other?
Not really

quicksilver
May 15th, 2011, 07:53 PM
Ideally you can't swim a good backstroke without a steady kick. It's 6 beats all the way.
(The kick isn't providing a huge amount of propulsion so much as it offers leverage and side to side rotation.)

But to counter that comment, if it weren't for the 15 meter rule...here's a college swimmer who almost broke :47 for the 100 while just dolphin kicking:http://swim-links.blogspot.com/2011/03/hill-taylor-100yd-underwater-dolphin.html

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2011, 09:41 PM
One could probably measure or estimate the force produced by arms and legs during the backstroke swim, and I would bet you'd come up with pretty low numbers for the legs, maybe 15-20% of the arms. But that's deceiving.

I know that if I tried the following two expts:

-- tape ankles together and swim 100 back with no UW dolphins (ie, arms only)
-- tape wrists together in a streamline position and do 100 back kick, dolphin allowed (legs only)

I would be much faster in the second 100.

Bottom line, though: work on both.

nhc
May 15th, 2011, 11:41 PM
-- tape wrists together in a streamline position and do 100 back kick, dolphin allowed (legs only)


What if dolphin not allowed, only flutter kicks? :rolleyes:

quicksilver
May 16th, 2011, 10:48 AM
Some say in backstroke propulsion comes mostly from the arm movement, while others say kicking is the most important. What do you think? Is it possible to be fast (not the fastest) while being weak in one or the other? Agreed with Chris regarding the kick and the percentage of relevance. It may not be a contributing factor to propulsion, but it's an integral part of the stroke. And the kick doesn't have to be exhausting. Just enough to create a boil of water under the surface at one's toes.

Ideally the way to make backstroke more efficient is to avoid swimming flat on one's back. And a steady flutter kick ensures you'll be able to achieve a long reach and decent shoulder roll with each catch and pull.

Shoulder rotation is very noticeable on any good backstroker. And the legs are the support system for making it all come together.YouTube - Backstroke Technique - Side View - Krayzelburg, Phelps, Lochte

orca1946
May 16th, 2011, 11:13 AM
I think arms. Since my running days are over , my times have slowed from less kick - it's still an arm driven stroke.

Jeff Commings
May 16th, 2011, 12:36 PM
Is it possible to be fast (not the fastest) while being weak in one or the other?
Not really

I beg to differ, Ande. If you saw underwater footage of my backstroke kick, you would know that I am a very weak kicker, hence the reason why I don't do dolphin kicks off any turn. Yet I've managed to win a few big Masters races. I understand that I may be an anomaly, but it is possible to be a strong upper-body backstroker and win a few races, even in short course. You just have to embrace our flaws and work on your strengths so it all balances out nicely.

thewookiee
May 16th, 2011, 12:43 PM
I beg to differ, Ande. If you saw underwater footage of my backstroke kick, you would know that I am a very weak kicker, hence the reason why I don't do dolphin kicks off any turn. Yet I've managed to win a few big Masters races. I understand that I may be an anomaly, but it is possible to be a strong upper-body backstroker and win a few races, even in short course. You just have to embrace our flaws and work on your strengths so it all balances out nicely.

Jeff, you don't do any underwater kicks? Do you flutter kick? How are far off the walls do you go before surfacing?

Jeff Commings
May 16th, 2011, 02:38 PM
I tried doing four dolphins kicks off each turn in 2009, and I was going slower in my backstroke races. I was better off flutter kicking for a little bit off each turn and then surfacing about seven or eight yards from the wall, similar to my freestyle turn.

I do four dolphin kicks off the start, only to help me get to the surface. I've been working on a shallower start, but it's slower at the moment.

thewookiee
May 16th, 2011, 05:15 PM
I tried doing four dolphins kicks off each turn in 2009, and I was going slower in my backstroke races. I was better off flutter kicking for a little bit off each turn and then surfacing about seven or eight yards from the wall, similar to my freestyle turn.

I do four dolphin kicks off the start, only to help me get to the surface. I've been working on a shallower start, but it's slower at the moment.

I think my backstroke might be more in line with yours. I don't have great underwater kicks. Yes, I still work them in practice but in races, it hasn't translated into improved speed.

This morning, I did a backstroke set with a strap around my ankles to see how it affect my times. We were swimming short course meters. I was "pulling" 100 meter backstrokes and coming in around 1:20 per 100. The efforts weren't 100 % all out, as I was focused on getting a good catch and powering through the catch.

There is no way I can kick scm that fast. I didn't kick off the wall, just pulled my way through the swims.