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Syd
November 5th, 2007, 12:11 AM
I have a two beat crossover kick. I am not sure why I even do the crossover thing. Perhaps I do it to maintain flotation while using two beats. I have noticed that if I stop kicking altogether my legs sink. Or perhaps it is happening when I am rotating to breathe.

There is another thread on this forum titled: Two beat crossover kick - is it bad? but this thread ended up talking about a two beat kick as opposed to a 4 or 6 beat kick and never discussed the crossover aspect of it at all. In that thread George mentioned that Rowdy Gaines had a crossover kick but I couldn't find any of Rowdy's videos on the web at all. Does anyone have this peculiarity or know of someone else who does?

My other question and my main intention of starting a new thread about this: is this a bad habit I should get rid of?

The thing is that I consider myself a sprinter and I feel this way of kicking is holding me back from improving my times. Because of the crossover thing I can't increase the tempo of my kick. My legs crossover while they should be doing the third of the fourth beat. My kick is weak and ineffectual and when I watch videos of the top sprinters, all of them are kicking like motorboats. Do you have to be a six beat kicker to be a good sprinter?

Finally, when I try to kick with my legs side by side, not only does it mess up my rhythm, but it also exhausts me. I can barely do a fifty with a six beat kick without wanting to collapse. But I feel it is something I could train myself to do. Yesterday I went to the pool for an hour and just practiced six beat, regular flutter kick. It was painful and required tremendous concentration and effort on my part but by the end of the hour, I did manage to go 28.72 for a 50m free. It didn't feel that good (it is hard to explain but it feels like my arms and legs are out of sync).

If this is a bad habit I should get rid of what is the best way of going about it? Should I just be doing tons of kicking sets? My flutter kick with a board (and without but just no arms) has improved quite a bit lately (thanks to the advice of Ande) but I just can't seem to fit it together with the arms. It is like there is no connection between the upper and lower half of the body. I have a weak lower back and this could be part of the problem. Another thing: I have noticed from watching myself on video that I have a higher head position than I thought I had. Could this higher head position be instrumental in forcing my hips down and thus making it more difficult to kick?

Sincerely Syd

RecreationalSwimmer
November 5th, 2007, 03:14 AM
I have a two beat crossover kick.

Syd, do you kick like french triathlete Ben Sanson's?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7UZGMg1vXA

Forum pundits gather... Scissor kick, two-beat, crossover, tapered legs kick?
:Lurking:

Syd
November 5th, 2007, 08:17 AM
Syd, do you kick like french triathlete Ben Sanson's?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7UZGMg1vXA

Forum pundits gather... Scissor kick, two-beat, crossover, tapered legs kick?
:Lurking:

Yes, that is pretty much how I kick, except that when I am sprinting my kicks are more defined than that. I am more like kick with the left, cross over, kick with the right, cross over. But when I am swimming slowly like he is in the video, then I guess ( I say guess because I haven't actually seen it myself - the only video I have of myself swimming is too indistinct to make out the kicking) it is pretty much like that.


Syd

allenhighnote
November 5th, 2007, 12:32 PM
I don't know of any sprinters that use a two beat crossover.

Generally if you are a sprinter you should have a 6 (or even 8) beat kick. Also today many distance people are switching over to a faster, stronger kick. See http://youtube.com/watch?v=stGGoiyz_mw for three distinctly different kicking styles in a Women's 400M Free. Great underwater footage.

If you've been a two beat crossover for a long while and change, it is going to feel strange for awhile. (Arms and legs out of sync) Get your legs in shape and give it a month or two but you're right it is going to take a lot of concentration and continuous effort, especially at first. At least you will have learned a new technique.

How does your time compare to other post workout times? Be careful and not use "Oh, it's about the same or slower" as justification to not give it a shot! One good attempt is not enough information to base your decision on. What harm can it do? You can always change back.

I'm not convinced the endless pool swimmer had a two beat crossover. :2cents:, it looked more like good body roll with a two beat kick.

bud
November 5th, 2007, 01:08 PM
... my main intention of starting a new thread about this: is this a bad habit I should get rid of?

The thing is that I consider myself a sprinter and I feel this way of kicking is holding me back from improving my times.... Do you have to be a six beat kicker to be a good sprinter?

... when I try to kick with my legs side by side, not only does it mess up my rhythm, it also exhausts me....

... My flutter kick with a board ... has improved quite a bit lately ... but I just can't seem to fit it together with the arms. It is like there is no connection between the upper and lower half of the body....

... I have noticed from watching myself on video that I have a higher head position than I thought I had. Could this higher head position be instrumental in forcing my hips down and thus making it more difficult to kick?

i had an interesting chat with a swim coach yesterday. his philosophy is one i agree with wholeheartedly: you need to find your own stroke/technique. you may be at a point where you need to find a coach that can help you do that.

i believe the most important aspects of efficient swimming are good streamlining and balance (which usually delivers the best speed). if changes you make throw off your streamlining and balance, then maybe those are not the right changes for you.

raising your head is definitely going to lower the hips. i tend to raise my head a bit more in sprints, but i don't know that it has that much of a positive affect on my times, i just do it because it feels better sometimes.

the general consensus ranges from 2-beat kick for distance, to 6-beat+ kick for sprints. one thing is for sure: the larger muscles of the legs will use an extraordinary amount of energy compared to how much propulsion they give you. again, you most likely just need to experiment and find what is right for you.

you might find these articles by Coach Emmett Hines (http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles_by_category.html) helpful:
Better Kicking (http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles/better_kicking.html)
A Question of Balance (http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles/a_question_of_balance.html)
Resistance and Submission (http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles/resistance_n_submission.html)

i searched for the thread you referenced and found this one:
Two-beat crossover kick...bad? (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=8809)

and this one too:
proper flutter kick (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=3416)

HTH

GordonD
November 5th, 2007, 06:11 PM
I am living through your questioned transition at this very moment. When I was younger I could easily switch from a 2-beat to a 6-beat kick as needed for the event I was swimming (distance or sprint). But when I got back into swimming as an adult I forgot to use the 6-beat kick and developed a huge dependency on my 2-beat kick for all events. By the time I realized it the habit was hard to break.

The first thing I noticed is how hard it was to get 3 kicks per stroke. To get over this I started by doing 3 mini-kicks per stroke at a medium pace. Once this felt somewhat natural I tried to do 3 more complete kicks, but still at a medium pace. After about 2 months of working on this I now feel pretty comfortable at full speed with a full 6-beat kick.

The second thing I noticed was the additional demand on my core body muscles - especially my stomach. My stomach muscles were already in good shape but I decided to introduce extra exercises in my land workouts for this and I feel it made a difference. I especially think the exercises for my obliques are helping. I now feel like I am able to hold a fairly steady body position without wagging back and forth and without getting exhausted in my core.

The net result of the 6-beat kick on sprints is a feeling that you are planing a little higher in the water.

Good luck with it.

Syd
November 5th, 2007, 07:27 PM
How does your time compare to other post workout times? Be careful and not use "Oh, it's about the same or slower" as justification to not give it a shot! One good attempt is not enough information to base your decision on. What harm can it do? You can always change back.

Well, yesterday I did a set of 10 x 100m free and I was consistently coming in 3 seconds slower than I usually do with my two beat kick. Moreover, I was more out of breath than I usually am. But I get your point. I certainly won't give up at this early stage because, as you say, it won't do any damage. If anything it will add some much needed strength to my legs.


i believe the most important aspects of efficient swimming are good streamlining and balance (which usually delivers the best speed). if changes you make throw off your streamlining and balance, then maybe those are not the right changes for you.
HTH

Point taken, too. I shall give it some time and see where the changes are taking me. I think the crossover part, while its function may be to maintain flotation, might be causing some drag and affecting streamlining.

Thanks for all your links Bud. I look forward to checking those out.



The second thing I noticed was the additional demand on my core body muscles - especially my stomach. My stomach muscles were already in good shape but I decided to introduce extra exercises in my land workouts for this and I feel it made a difference. I especially think the exercises for my obliques are helping. I now feel like I am able to hold a fairly steady body position without wagging back and forth and without getting exhausted in my core.

The net result of the 6-beat kick on sprints is a feeling that you are planing a little higher in the water.

Good luck with it.
This is interesting because this is exactly where I feel I am lacking strength: in my stomach and lower back. It is just so much effort and so tiring that I just want to give up and go back to my two beat crossover. I feel as if there is no connection between my upper and lower halves. It is like the arms and legs are just windmilling away independently, and I have this quick, sinking feeling in my core.

Thanks for all the input everyone. I really appreciate it.

sincerely Syd

Syd
November 6th, 2007, 11:00 AM
After another exhausting session at the pool and after reading the links
Bud posted, I think I understand it better now. I seem to be doing the crossover thing in order to prevent my legs from sinking.

Regular side by side two beat flutter kick is not enough to keep my legs afloat. This explains why, when I switch to regular kicking, I have to up the tempo to six beats per cyle in order to provide the same amount of flotation that I have when doing crossover kick.

Apart from exhausting me (you must remember that up until two days ago I was doing a lazy two beat kick - and that is only when I remembered I should be doing it!) my kick seems to be doing little in the way of providing forward propulsion and is only serving to stop my hips from sinking. In coach Emmet Hines' words I seem to be 'swimming uphill'.

Does this mean there is something seriously wrong with my flotation?

Syd

TheGoodSmith
November 6th, 2007, 12:03 PM
Syd,

The year is 2007, not 1977. Bag the 2 beat crossover kick. Do a light 6 beat kick. The entire sport is much more dependent on lower body than it used to be...... ie. from underwater dolphin kick to milers who have strong steady 6 beats.

I have a pair of Compy goggles I can mail you if you want to hang on to the past. Bag the 2 beat crossover.

One more thing, I swam next to and (unfortunately) behind Rowdy the summer of 1984 training before trials in Austin. Unless he was loafing...... he wasn't doing a 2 beat crossover kick I can assure you.


John Smith

ande
November 6th, 2007, 12:16 PM
rowdy at race pace
has kind of a 4 beat cross over kick
his ankles cross in one part of his kick cycle



Syd,

The year is 2007, not 1977. Bag the 2 beat crossover kick. Do a light 6 beat kick. The entire sport is much more dependent on lower body than it used to be...... ie. from underwater dolphin kick to milers who have strong steady 6 beats.

I have a pair of Compy goggles I can mail you if you want to hang on to the past. Bag the 2 beat crossover.

One more thing, I swam next to and (unfortunately) behind Rowdy the summer of 1984 training before trials in Austin. Unless he was loafing...... he wasn't doing a 2 beat crossover kick I can assure you.


John Smith

gull
November 6th, 2007, 12:32 PM
When I was swimming in high school and college I had a two beat crossover kick. A few years ago, when I started swimming Masters at age 46, I decided to adopt a 4 beat crossover kick since I thought I need it for balance and flotation (it was easier for me to swim with a pull buoy than without). I think it helped, but the problem may just have been a lack of conditioning. I still cannot do a six beat kick--it doesn't feel natural--but I can switch back and forth from two to four beat. I believe I do get some additional propulsion from the four beat kick, which is helpful at the end of a race.

craiglll@yahoo.com
November 6th, 2007, 12:45 PM
I was always told that any cross-over kick that is done naturally is usally done by big guys. Over 6 ft 2 & 210 pounds. Before my collectomy I used to weigh 210. A coach tried to get me to do a cross-over kick but I couldn't. When I tried I always remember hearing my dad yelling at me that I wasn't kicking.

bud
November 6th, 2007, 04:39 PM
.... In coach Emmet Hines' words I seem to be 'swimming uphill'.... Does this mean there is something seriously wrong with my flotation?....
i kind of suspected you may be doing the "uphill" thing... glad those links helped.

i don't know that anyone has "wrong" buoyancy... some just float better than others. basically: muscle sinks (and is more dense), while fat floats (and is less dense). but for most swimmers... lung capacity has more to do with buoyancy than anything. streamlining and balance are big factors too, and leg position (the kick) affects these two items a LOT.


i'm 6'2, 190#, mostly lean and muscular (though i do have some extra padding around the middle... hey! i'm a regular guy and 49), and i can float like a cork when i want to. part of this is genetics, but most of it i attribute to practice.

when i was (more goofy, and more ADD as) a kid i used to sit in class (bored/distracted) and see how long i could hold my breath. (being "the big kid" i was always way in the back.) i also played trumpet in grade school for a while. early on i loved to swim, or at least play in the water, and swam underwater a LOT (and still practice that). starting in my last 3 years of HS i've done a lot of lap swimming whenever i had easy access to a pool. as an adult, when not swimming, i've done a lot of Yoga, and Yogic Breathing exercises. so i've had a LOT of practice developing my lung capacity.

i believe any swimmer will benefit greatly by emphasizing lung capacity development. i reckon elite swimmers (and athletes in general) develop this naturally, while the rest of us regular folks have to work on it. check my post on Flotation is Fundamental Good Breathing is the Key (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=57632) as a place to start... if you're interested.

in my mid 20's, when i was a carpenter, not swimming much, but doing a lot of Yoga (and starting to practice Yogic Breathing), i had a problem and went to see a Holistically oriented MD. he eventually sourced my problem as stress and told me to relax more, but in the process of examination he did a bunch of simple tests. one of them was to breathe into a simple mechanical device to measure my lung capacity/force. not giving it much thought, but puffing up a bit, i blew into it. i'll never forget his response... his eyes bugged out and he exclaimed that he'd never seen that good a result... it was better than anything he'd ever done, and he regularly played a trumpet! he had me give it a few more tries, but none topped the first. i reckon it just shows to go you that you frequently do your best when you aren't thinking about it... when it is automatic... when it is A STATE OF MIND.

my kick greatly affects my balance as i move through the water. i guess i'm lucky in that i've found a natural, balanced rhythm between my arms and legs in this respect. i pretty much exclusively do a 6-beat kick, but i don't give it that much thought really, i mostly just do what feels right at the time.

(somewhat along these lines... the thread on How would you train as a "Vessel Shaper?" (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=7222) is pretty interesting. and i thought the thread on Total Immersion and New Swimmers (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=107300) was pretty good too.)

i've gone on quite a bit about these and similar topics in other threads, you may want to check them out (the threads, as well as my posts). most specifically these:
Mass and Buoyancy (Re: Swimming Myths) (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=87847)
Streamlining and Buoyancy (Re: ... buoyant legs?) (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=95411)

Syd
November 6th, 2007, 07:34 PM
QUOTE=TheGoodSmith;113434]Syd,

The year is 2007, not 1977. Bag the 2 beat crossover kick.
John Smith[/QUOTE]

I was afraid of a comment like this, but at the same time I welcome it. You see the crossover thing is not something that I adopted as a strategy but is rather something that has developed naturally over time to compensate for bad flotation or aid with rhythm. It has become an integral part of my stroke and eliminating it or 'bagging it" as you humourously pointed out is going to require relearning a whole new way of swimming: a daunting task at 40! But if it must be done, then it must be done. I appreciate your straightforwardness! :)



...I decided to adopt a 4 beat crossover kick since I thought I need it for balance and flotation (it was easier for me to swim with a pull buoy than without). I think it helped, but the problem may just have been a lack of conditioning. I still cannot do a six beat kick--it doesn't feel natural--but I can switch back and forth from two to four beat. I believe I do get some additional propulsion from the four beat kick, which is helpful at the end of a race.

I know what you mean about the pull buoy thing. I reckon I swim just as fast with one and my legs tied up as I do without. I am also feeling the lack of conditioning. My legs have never worked this hard before. I still struggle to do a 50m flutter kick in under 60 seconds.


rowdy at race pace
has kind of a 4 beat cross over kick
his ankles cross in one part of his kick cycle

Do you have any videos of Rowdy, Ande? I would love to watch regardless of the crossover kick or not. Even though I am not American he was one of my swimming heroes.


I was always told that any cross-over kick that is done naturally is usally done by big guys. Over 6 ft 2 & 210 pounds. Before my collectomy I used to weigh 210. A coach tried to get me to do a cross-over kick but I couldn't. When I tried I always remember hearing my dad yelling at me that I wasn't kicking.

I wouldn't consider myself big. I am 183cm and weigh 76kg's (which is about 6' and 167 pounds). I certainly don't have a lumbering frame.




my kick greatly affects my balance as i move through the water. i guess i'm lucky in that i've found a natural, balanced rhythm between my arms and legs in this respect. i pretty much exclusively do a 6-beat kick, but i don't give it that much thought really, i mostly just do what feels right at the time.

Thanks for that Bud. I really appreciate your detailed posts. I always find them interesting. I am going to try out suggestions from those articles you linked you. Interestingly, even though it has only been two days, there has been an improvement: yesterday was easier than the first day. It hasn't become natural yet. I have to concentrate really hard or I lapse back into the crossover thing. I know it is going to take time though.

Thanks for your input everyone.

Syd

J0nath0n3
November 6th, 2007, 07:48 PM
Yes, that is pretty much how I kick, except that when I am sprinting my kicks are more defined than that. I am more like kick with the left, cross over, kick with the right, cross over. But when I am swimming slowly like he is in the video, then I guess ( I say guess because I haven't actually seen it myself - the only video I have of myself swimming is too indistinct to make out the kicking) it is pretty much like that.


Syd
Dude that is FREAKY i thought it was fake lol!

Syd
November 7th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Had a eureka moment at the pool today after watching this video link: http://www2.edu.ipa.go.jp/gz/h1swim/h1kn20/h1cr20/h1cr23.mpg

I have been swimming like the male in the video: my eyes looking ahead. This is partly because I am often swimming in crowded lanes and worrying about ramming head first into the person in front of me. It is also partly because I still don't know how many strokes per length I take and I am always looking ahead of myself to see where the wall is.

Interestingly, recently, I noticed when sprinting that my times were quicker when I looked directly at the bottom of the pool. But today after watching it so clearly on the video and then going to try it out immediately the penny just dropped. Head up and legs go down. Head, neck and back all horizontal and legs go up. So beautifully simple and so glaringly obvious that it is difficult to imagine how I couldn't have realised it earlier.

Swimming like this is much less exhausting than swimming with neck craning up:doh: I even managed a regular two beat (no crossover) flutter kick without feeling like my legs were sinking. (If you remember yesterday I said that when switching to regular side by side flutter kick I had to up the tempo to six beat to stop my legs from sinking).

I still have massive amounts of work to do conditioning my lower body though. I have no illusions about that. It is one thing sorting out the flotation but I also have to build up the horsepower. My legs are weak through neglect.

Syd

bud
November 7th, 2007, 03:34 PM
Had a eureka moment at the pool today after watching this video link: http://www2.edu.ipa.go.jp/gz/h1swim/h1kn20/h1cr20/h1cr23.mpg

I have been swimming like the male in the video: my eyes looking ahead....

I still have massive amounts of work to do conditioning my lower body though. I have no illusions about that. It is one thing sorting out the flotation but I also have to build up the horsepower. My legs are weak through neglect.
coolbeans on the 'eureka moment" ;-) ... yep... sometimes it is the (seemingly) little things.

my kick is poor for propulsion, but i'm more concerned with maintaining my mobility (especially on land) than i am about dropping my times so i don't bother with it much.

HOWEVER... if you want to get the best times you will need a good kick. i'm absolutely amazed at the amount of propulsion some folks get out of just their kick (i've seen them zipping along in practice).

i'll never forget once at a meet (several years ago), a group of my teammates were watching another mate do a 200 free. one guy pointed to him and said "look at that, if you want to do good in the 200 you have to kick". and that guy was really motoring his kick. (he is one of the top swimmers in our LMSC). and from a recent post i observed in this forum, even the longer distances require a robust kick, as more folks are going this route to get records.... "When in Rome...."

i sometimes think of my legs as a fishtail (this is really easy to do in fly), which makes them a really important part of my alignment and balance as i move through the water. this REALLY came to light as i started doing dolphin kick drills on my back (w/o a kick board). i had to learn how to steer myself (by rotating the hips/body) if i wanted to do them while sharing a lane. (i'm amazed at how little rotation it takes to get off course.) for humans though, we got a lot of propulsion from in front of us, so the balancing act becomes more critical. for example: the most common reason for "fishtailing" in front-crawl is overreaching on the entry.


while not really about kicking, you may find the following vid helpful...

while stumbling around youtube (http://www.youtube.com/) the other day i came across this front-crawl/freestyle vid:
Alexander Popov swimming technique (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIzBaSiWdRA)
here are some of my observations of it:

the thing i like best about this vid is how well it illustrates the "elbow first" recovery. (and it is discussed in the voice over.) i got lucky and was given this tip when i was about 16y/o (in a ARC WSI class i took). pay special attention to how relaxed his arm (especially the wrist) is in the recovery. this motion encourages a really good body roll, which is clearly illustrated in this vid.

if i were asked for a single source, i'd have to say that nearly everything i've learned about streamlining and balance in front-crawl has come from this single tip: "start the recovery elbow first". i find that if i do this, then everything else follows correctly... including: body roll, fingertip drag, head/spine/body alignment, and a good entry (and subsequent catch).

i've not seen a vid of myself recently, but i'd guess that my entry is VERY much like the one in this video. i want to point out the entry here because there have been NUMEROUS discussions on this BBS about the "free" entry.

other things i like about the vid are the voice over, and the slow-mo and stills. this is an excellent vid for any swimmer that is seeking a good example to follow.

i also very much like the way it emphasizes "stretching" and "reaching" in the process, especially when finishing the recovery (and the other propulsive stroke).

his hips are really high, and his body is very well aligned (streamlined). in at least one of the still shots (~00:25) his entire back (and even part of his caboose) is completely dry.

note also his wake. in a few of the shots it is pretty impressive. he is swimming very relaxed, yet he is REALLY motoring!

notice too (especially ~00:43) how far back his hand is before it exits the water.

this vid also shows really well in several places how much emphasis is put on reaching out and positioning the hand, arm, and body, for the catch. this bit i put up on Ian Thorpe's Stroke (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=109667) goes into a lot more detail on this.

at least one of the overhead shots (~1:00) illustrates really good shoulder flexibility too. (i see a lot of folks flailing about in front-crawl because they carry too much tension across, and in the shoulders throughout their stroke.)

once again... HTH :)