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View Full Version : Freestyle kicking and the upkick/recovery



vo2
August 10th, 2014, 06:37 AM
I wonder if some of the gurus here might shed some light on a subject that thankfully is becoming a favorite topic. I decided I was going to stop being a pathetic kicker a couple of months ago and it's dominated my mindset. Stretching my hip flexors and ankles a bunch and kicking my brains out! Seeing great gains now and having fun with it!

As I have noticed a distinct change in feel, could be from both fitness and newly minted flexibility, but regardless the sensation that I'm pushing water towards the wall I just left is more noticeable. Compared to pushing it down. Having had to point my toes in an uncomfortable plantar flexed position for years I'm needing to do it less on the downkick. Actually on the downkick I'm extremely relaxed and floppy. Here is where I'm a bit unsure. On the upkick if I just go full relaxed like the downkick those ankles sure like to return to a dorsiflexed position. Do I still want to keep that ankle actively plantarflexed on the upkick so I feel resistance on the soles of my feet? Or keep the ankle full floppy 100 percent of the time?

I have experimented with both types of upkick and can't notice a definite change in speed by the clock. I simply want to make sure I'm practicing the exact correct motions since I have invested a lot of effort into becoming the best kicker I can be. At the very least it seems to me that if I let my ankle stay full floppy on the upkick I might be losing a bit at the beginning of my downkick b/c the ankle isn't already in a 'cocked and loaded' orientation ready to propel me. When it's full floppy on the way up there is a slight delay before I can get the ankle plantarflexed. Maybe that alone is the reason to keep some plantarflexion on the recovery so that the ankle is most ready to deliver for the downkick?

So sorry for the extremely long description, but since it's all new to me not sure I have the vocabulary yet to convey my new feels in the water. I will try and sum it up this way.

I can upkick with a concentration on keeping plantar flexion and I have a lot of hamstring and glute contribution to get that done.

OR

I can let my ankle stay very loose and floppy and I feel little to no hammy or glute on the upkick.

wmst1
August 22nd, 2014, 08:36 AM
I have wondered the same thing. I started actively pointing my toes on the downkick in BACKSTROKE kick (analogous to upkick in freestyle) and I think it is very helpful. The active pointing might be better for backstroke. I would also like to hear from someone who is an amazing kicker on this subject (I am not yet an amazing kicker unfortunately).