View Full Version : Treading water, once and for all, can someone solve this for me?

November 3rd, 2006, 03:48 PM
I apologize for having three active threads. This is the last one. I promise. =)

I'm *REALLY* confused about treading water. I've seen all the videos. I understand what sculling is. I've tried numerous things in the water. I've heard all kinds of conflicting information.

As I understand it, there are various kinds of kicks you can use to varying degrees of efficiency including:
- an 'upright' breastroke kick
- a scissor kick
- a bicycle kick
- a 'frog' kick?
- an egg-beater kick

I don't fully understand the difference between all these kicks nor do I know which one is most efficient. What I do know is that I'm so frustrated with treading water, *I don't care* which one I learn. I just want to be able to stay upright in the deep end without assistance.

I asked my instructor if I could just try a scissor kick, and she said "no, it's most definitely not a scissor kick, it's a a bicycle kick" -- implying, I suppose, up and down motion of the legs like you would have on a bike.

But I've watched TI and GoSwim videos all of which show people successfully treading with a scissor kick.

And if I understand correctly, a scissor kick is what I would do normally on backstroke or freestyle.

So... is there any reason in the world that I shouldn't just stick with the scissor kick and hand-sculling for treading water? I need to pick one thing and focus on it, because I'm haphazardly trying all these different kicks and getting nowhere fast.


Concho Pearl
November 3rd, 2006, 04:04 PM
Hi, I scissor kick when treading water, slow and wide like opening the scissors to cut paper. To me it's not hard on me and I can tread for longer periods of time, which that is what treading water is designed to do. Treading water is designed for - if your swimming and get tired, it helps you rest until you can either reach shore, the side of the pool or until help arrives.

Also your arms should move back and forth like frosting a cake. Keeping your palms verical so to push the water, if they are flat your cutting the water, you want to push.

Freestyle and backstoke uses a flutter kick, which I guess a person could see it as a scissor kick, but your legs are not spreading so wide, and your knees bend just a little.

Bicycle kick is just what is sound like, it's like your riding a bike, knees bend quite a bit. Not good for freestyle for backstroke.

Frog kick is what is used for the breaststroke kick.
And egg- beater - I think is what water polor players use.
Personally I teach my swimmers to tread with scissors kicks.
Hope this helps.

November 3rd, 2006, 04:08 PM
Thanks a lot...

So you're saying that a scissor kick is just a wider, more straight-legged flutter kick, then?

November 3rd, 2006, 04:23 PM
Flutterkick goes back and forth - so each leg travels in front of and behind the body. In competitive swimming (ie., travelling horizontally, not treading water) this should be a small tight motion. Scissorkick - think like a scissor - one leg goes forward, one goes back, and they meet at the middle. Open/close - like a scissor would. Don't think about making your legs straight. They are loosely straight, just like they're loosely straight in flutter kick.

Different methods work better for different folks in terms of treading water. I'd go with whatever seems to hold you up best. I do an eggbeater kick, but can't do it for long because my knees start to hurt.

Good luck!

Allen Stark
November 3rd, 2006, 08:00 PM
Egg beater is like the old style breaststroke kick except one leg at a time alternating.It can be very efficient which is why water polo players use it.

Concho Pearl
November 3rd, 2006, 08:39 PM
I wanted to clarify,

When I teach how to tread water using the scissor kick, I tell them they need to draw/bend your knees up about waist high then, start to push out and downward with one leg in front and one in back making the scissor kick, making your feet meet together, under you. I usually tell people to make your feet touch by putting one foot on top of the other, until they get it.

Then again bend you knees up about waist high and repeat they leg motion. Only one leg goes forward, just as only one leg only go back, like a pair of scissors.

November 3rd, 2006, 08:41 PM
This is tough stuff. I always seem to have a difference of opinion.

Many of the underwater kicks you mention from others may work. However, scissors kick uses way too much energy. The point of treading water is to stay afloat for a long period of time without being tired. The bicycle kick is also one that uses energy unless it is done slowly with optimum results.

I, personally, can't use these. I use a modified egg-beater kick with an occasional vertical flutter kick. But my arms and hands are making circles at this same time. I make very slow circles with my arms and very slow circles with my legs.

You can first try this out by using one arm to hold on to the edge of the pool. Start a kick that you think will work and the other arm making sculling/circles. Once you get whatever you choose to get going, let go of the wall. If you start sinking, kick more or change the kick to another type.

There are many ways to tread water. And, once again, there is more than one way. I hate to tell you this, but I don't have to tread water to stay afloat. My body just does it.

Also, breathing out will cause you to sink a little. That's why people who are in serious distress have sad outcomes. They release all of their air from their lungs calling for help and sink.

Stay close to the pool wall and practice, practice. You will find what works for you, I promise!@!


November 4th, 2006, 09:02 AM
Okay, ... I'm going to try some of these things... man, my list of things to try is quite long... I have enough information from these forums now that it'll take me months to absorb all of it.

I should note that I'm six foot tall and 140 pounds and I'm a guy... and when I used to go to the gym, my personal trainer tested me and said I have less than 7% body fat...

In short: I SINK. =)

November 4th, 2006, 12:03 PM
If you lay face down on the water large breath in and held, arms stretched out in front. What is the angle of your float, or do you sink. There are very few sinkers I have only seen one.

November 4th, 2006, 12:16 PM
If you lay face down on the water large breath in and held, arms stretched out in front. What is the angle of your float, or do you sink. There are very few sinkers I have only seen one.

If I do that, about a forty five degree angle... it's hard to say exactly...

If I get a really good push, I can float on my back for maybe two or three seconds, and then my legs sink.

November 4th, 2006, 12:56 PM
You must not be a sinker, when floating on your back just tip the fingers out of the water the feet will probably come back to the surface. 45 degree floater on the front just tip the head up and back keeping the ears in the water, a verticle float no kicking a little sculling you are treading water, then introduce the legs.