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auto208562
January 3rd, 2005, 11:32 AM
I have two questions.

1)When someone refers to 2 beat or 6 beat for a kick, is that per stroke or is that per two strokes (left arm, then right arm)?

2)It may just be me, but it seems impossible to count my kicks if I am trying to keep track of how many are in one stroke. It's like when people can pat their head while rubbing their stomach in circles...Is there another way to count the "beats" or do you have to be some citizen of waterworld?

Rob Copeland
January 3rd, 2005, 12:49 PM
1) It is per two strokes (left arm, then right arm).

2) In a typical 2-beat kick your right leg kicks down as your left hand enters the water, followed by the left leg kicking down while the right hand enters the water. If you do more kicking than this 1-kick per arm, then you are most likely doing a 6-beat. Any other number less than 10 wonít allow for the left leg-right arm; right leg-left arm pattern, which is important in maintaining balance in your stroke.

auto208562
January 3rd, 2005, 01:10 PM
Rob, are you saying that swimmers either kick a 2 beat or 6 beat and nothing else (for example, 4 beat or 8 beat) because it's just not possible due to the balance thing you are referring to?

Rob Copeland
January 3rd, 2005, 02:15 PM
Letís not say itís impossible to do 4, 5 or 8 beat kick. However, only 2 and 6 (10 or 14 would also work, but not many would want to sustain this) give you the symmetry of the hand entering and the opposite leg down kicking.

As I mentioned before, with a 2-beat kick your right leg kicks down as your left hand enters the water, followed by the left leg kicking down while the right hand enters the water. A 6-beat is right leg kicks down as your left hand enters the water, then kick left, right, followed by the left leg kicking down while the right hand enters the water, then kick right, left. Then back to the beginning.

A 4-beat kick would be right leg kicks down as your left hand enters the water, then kick left, followed by the right leg kicking down while the right hand enters the water, then kick left. Then back to the beginning. This ends up with a right leg kick with both left hand entry and right hand entry. The same would hold true for an 8-beat kick. Again, itís not impossible, itís just not balanced.

auto208562
January 3rd, 2005, 02:21 PM
I never knew swimming was so technical. I just swim and hope I don't drown.

Thanks for the great information/analysis.

Alicat
January 3rd, 2005, 02:56 PM
Heck I never understood it. I just kick really really fast for sprints, and a little slower for mid/long distance...

Rob Copeland
January 3rd, 2005, 03:19 PM
While swimming can get real technical, the timing of your kick should get to where it is as natural as swinging your arms as you walk or run. And how often when running or walking do you have to concentrate on swinging the left arm forward when your right leg is coming forward?

auto208562
January 3rd, 2005, 03:52 PM
I didn't think of it that way, but that's true.

My intention was to figure out for myself what the ideal beat would be because a couple of my friends and I are on a triathlon schedule for the next 4 years, where the first one is only a 1/4 mile ocean swim, to the last, I believe a 2.4 mile ocean swim.

I was going to experiment between several beats to see what is ideal to conserve energy without negating speed, but since there are only two I have to worry about, 2 and 6 beat, it is a lot easier to figure out.

auto208562
January 3rd, 2005, 06:53 PM
Hey Rob,
I just hit the pool and for some reason, I can't get my kick to slow down to two beats. If I don't use my arms, and just kick, I can do it (well, what I think would be two beats), but if I add my arms into it, I can't coordinate it? My brain just tells my brain to kick as fast as I can.

Is there a drill or something you can recommend?
Thanks.

fatboy
January 4th, 2005, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by auto208562
I didn't think of it that way, but that's true.

My intention was to figure out for myself what the ideal beat would be because a couple of my friends and I are on a triathlon schedule for the next 4 years, where the first one is only a 1/4 mile ocean swim, to the last, I believe a 2.4 mile ocean swim.

I was going to experiment between several beats to see what is ideal to conserve energy without negating speed, but since there are only two I have to worry about, 2 and 6 beat, it is a lot easier to figure out.

I believe that most distance swimmers use the two beat kick almost exclusively. Some will use the six beat kick to sprint to the finish (usually 25 - 50 meters or less) . In a triathalon I would think the two beat kick is what you want.

gull
January 4th, 2005, 10:28 AM
That used to be the case, but not anymore. Lars Jensen, silver medalist in the 1500, uses a six beat kick. In fact, the American coaches decided the distance swimmers would need a six beat kick to compete with Hackett in Athens.

Rob Copeland
January 4th, 2005, 11:24 AM
I agree with Craig, I think the notion that distance swimmers should use a 2-beat kick while sprinters use a 6-beat is going to fade away. And while you wonít see many sprinters using 2-beat kicks, you will continue to see more distance folks sticking with or going back to 6-beat kicks.

I, for one, have always been a 6-beat guy, even in my marathon swims. For me a steady relaxed efficient 6-beat kick was never overly taxing on my cardio-vascular systems. The number of kicks is less important than the efficiency and effectiveness of your kick.

But, if you are a 6-beat kicker interested in trying to develop a 2-beat kick, here are a couple of suggestions:
Drill 1 Ė (You may need a pull buoy to keep your legs up.) Swim 1/2 a length with NO kick (drag your legs), then for the second half every time your right hand enters the water add a big kick down with your left leg. On the way back do the second half with left hand entry right leg kick. This will most definitely feel weird at first (it can look a little odd as well). After a few of these, try doing the second half length with right hand entry/left kick followed by left hand/right foot. I find it helps to concentrate on a big down kick, a deep catch, and steady turnover. Once you get the knack of starting this half way down the pool, try it right from the push-off.

Drill 2 Ė (Only try this if you can already do a passable dolphin kick and you may want to try this one with fins.) Using your normal arm stroke, replace the flutter kick with dolphin kick, with a down kick with each arm entry. Two kicks per cycle.

LindsayNB
January 4th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by gull80
That used to be the case, but not anymore. Lars Jensen, silver medalist in the 1500, uses a six beat kick. In fact, the American coaches decided the distance swimmers would need a six beat kick to compete with Hackett in Athens.

One has to keep in mind of course whether one is willing to undertake as much training as someone like Lars, and also that Lars wasn't competing in a triathlon.

This is not to say triathletes shouldn't use a six beat kick, but that one can't conclude that they should based on what works for an 18(?) year old olympic swimmer with a swim training schedule far beyond what may be practical for a typical triathlete.

gull
January 4th, 2005, 01:47 PM
Lars had a six beat kick already, but others (like Chris Thompson) switched from a two beat kick. Bill Rose believes it improves balance. The key, he says, is kicking enough to improve balance but not so much that you expend a lot of energy. His workouts include at least 30% kicking.

Rich Abrahams
January 5th, 2005, 04:39 PM
I think there is a connection between this discussion and the one on swimming golf. I agree that six beat kicking is the future for distance swimmers, but for sprinters a ten beat kick is a must. I've got lots of undrwater tapes of great sprinters (e.g. Anthony Irvin) and they are all using ten beat kicks.

The connection with swimming golf is, at least for me, the power and tempo of the kick makes all the difference. With a six beat kick I'm comfortable averaging a score of 64 (27 strokes, 37 seconds) for 10 x 50 meters (SC) on the minute. However, if I turbo up the kick to 10 per stroke cycle I can score 58 (28 strokes and 30 seconds). I can't hold this on a minute interval, but it shows me how important the kick is. My stroke count only went up by one, but my time dropped by 7 seconds.

SWinkleblech
January 5th, 2005, 10:18 PM
I was paying attention to my kick today and found that I do a 6 beat kick. I consider myself to be a distance swimmer. When I was warming down and swimming a bet slower I tried the two beat kick and I couldn't do it. Even at a slow pace I found myself doing the 6 beat kick almost more for balance.

I just don't get how a two beat kick would help you swim distance faster. Is it that you save energy? I find my legs are a lot stronger then my arms and can hold out better. So why not take advantage of that power throughout my swim. I find when I swim with a stronger kick that my times are better. Can someone explain what kind of advantage you might get from doing the two beat? I just don't see it.

auto208562
January 5th, 2005, 10:39 PM
My original questions of the 2 beat was because I am a participating triathlete. I was trying to figure out if I brought my kick to 2 beats, if that would help my endurance and performance during the bike and run that follow.

I have the same problem as you though. I can't seem to coordinate a 2 beat kick no matter what I do.

I'll let the regulars here battle it out if the 2 beat is better than the 6 beat which may be better than the 10 beat.


Originally posted by SWinkleblech
I was paying attention to my kick today and found that I do a 6 beat kick. I consider myself to be a distance swimmer. When I was warming down and swimming a bet slower I tried the two beat kick and I couldn't do it. Even at a slow pace I found myself doing the 6 beat kick almost more for balance.

I just don't get how a two beat kick would help you swim distance faster. Is it that you save energy? I find my legs are a lot stronger then my arms and can hold out better. So why not take advantage of that power throughout my swim. I find when I swim with a stronger kick that my times are better. Can someone explain what kind of advantage you might get from doing the two beat? I just don't see it.

Rob Copeland
January 6th, 2005, 08:54 AM
OKÖ

Now that youíve gotten past the 2-beat/6-beat question, Iíll pass along some advice that I give to runners and bikers that I and training to be better swimmers.

Most runners do not have the ankle flexibility to generate a much propulsive force from their legs and their center of buoyancy tends to be lower. So the focus on their kick should be for balance and body position not speed.

Also if you plan on using a wetsuit or to a lesser degree if the race is in salt water, then the wetsuit/salt water will reduce the need for kicking for body position. In a wetsuit the focus should be on stroke technique and saving your legs for the bike and run.

And a couple of other quick thoughts:

Do a 3-minute kick with a kickboard and NO fins. If you can kick 200 yards or more you have a great kick that will provide excellent propulsion in your race, so use it to your advantage. If you can kick 150 to 200 you have a strong kick that is as asset to your speed. If you kick 100 to 150 you have a fair which should help in balance and body position. If you kick 50 to 100 your kick is most likely slowing you down. If you kick 0 to 50 (yes it does happen) pray for cold water and wetsuits.

If you pull (with a pull buoy) faster than you swim, you most likely have kicking and body position issues that can best be corrected by a coach.

Kicking with fins will aid in ankle flexibility and greatly increase your kicking speed. However as with any other training aid, they should be used to augment, not replace, regular kicking sets, unless the triathlon allows wetsuits and fins.

auto208562
January 6th, 2005, 09:17 AM
Originally posted by Rob Copeland

Do a 3-minute kick with a kickboard and NO fins. If you can kick 200 yards or more you have a great kick that will provide excellent propulsion in your race, so use it to your advantage. If you can kick 150 to 200 you have a strong kick that is as asset to your speed. If you kick 100 to 150 you have a fair which should help in balance and body position. If you kick 50 to 100 your kick is most likely slowing you down. If you kick 0 to 50 (yes it does happen) pray for cold water and wetsuits.


Rob, is this a generalization in the swimming world or is this from your own experience as a coach or something? Just curious.

Rob Copeland
January 6th, 2005, 05:17 PM
These were my personal observations from many years of swimming and from working with a wide variety of swimmers/triathletes. Iím sure others may have other views about the relative value of kicking based on a personís ability.

What I try to convey to the folks I work with is to get them to understand the importance of kicking for their individual goals. A poor kicking triathlete who will be swimming 500 Meters in a wetsuit in the ocean needs to focus in practice and in the race on stroke technique, breathing, pace and navigation more than on kicking. If the swim is a mile in a fresh water lake then we need to work on the kick to the point where it isnít a detriment to the swim.

auto208562
January 6th, 2005, 05:40 PM
I will have a full body desoto wetsuit on for my ocean swim in March, but for some of them later on, I will not. For this one, I guess I should keep doing those TI drills focusing on stroke, extension, and body rotation.
Thanks again for the info.

hooked-on-swimming
January 7th, 2005, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by Rich Abrahams
. I agree that six beat kicking is the future for distance swimmers, but for sprinters a ten beat kick is a must. I've got lots of undrwater tapes of great sprinters (e.g. Anthony Irvin) and they are all using ten beat kicks.



Are you sure you counted right?I watched quite a few underwater videos myself(in slow motion) and never saw 10-beats.I watched Alexander Popov underwater slowmotion pictures and he does 6 beats.Did anyone else ever hear about a 10-beat kick?