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Thread: No kick

  1. #1
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    No kick

    I'm something of a newbie to masters, though I've been swimming a long time. I have no kick, zero, nada. I have tried at masters swim workouts, but if I attempt to move down the lane using kick only, I float absolutely still in the water. If I kick a lot, I get cramps in feet and calfs. What to do???

  2. #2
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    Re: No kick

    I think I actually go backwards when I "kick" only!! Looking forward to the discussion on this.

    (There is a great thread about kicking somewhere, but I'm not sure how it applies to people like you and I.)
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:37.0/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:56.8/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    I don't move much when kicking w/ a kickboard either. I swim relatively quick otherwise...considering the absence of a kick. It takes me at least a couple of minutes to complete one length of a 25m pool. If I happen to be in one of the outside lanes...the filter water return jet pushes me into the laneline. Embarrassing. I say don't fret over the non-kick, Jack. Swim on!!!

    Dan

  4. #4
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    Re: No kick

    But I wonder.....I'm newbie-ish, able to swim 39sec 50m. If I actually moved when kicking only, would this make a significant difference in my 50m? Or does my "kick" simply stabilize me, somewhat?
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:37.0/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:56.8/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    Quote Originally Posted by Skuj View Post
    ... Or does my "kick" simply stabilize me, somewhat?
    I mean I still kick...but only to keep good body position.

    Dan

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    Re: No kick

    http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...ck-is-Horrible!


    Unfortunately for me, Step 1 is a nonstarter!!
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:37.0/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:56.8/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    Flutter kicking is more for stabilization and to keep your body in line and your hips up rather than for propulsion. It is estimated that kicking provides only about 10% of your propulsion in freestyle. If that is true, and I believe it is, then kicking with a kickboard is a questionable exercise. I stopped doing flutter kick drills a loooong time ago. To improve your speed you are better off improving your technique.
    Glenn Gruber

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    Until I watch someone in a modern NCAA or Olympic championship final swim a 50, 100, 200, 400/500 with a dragging kick, I will continue to maintain that a strong kick should be the base of swimming fast for most people.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

  9. #9
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    Until I watch someone in a modern NCAA or Olympic championship final swim a 50, 100, 200, 400/500 with a dragging kick, I will continue to maintain that a strong kick should be the base of swimming fast for most people.
    Iíll co-sign that sentiment.

    EDIT: former breaststroker/butterflyer here and those strokes are definitely leg driven and the best way to strengthen legs is FR kick (with a board if you want more punishment, and LCM if you like doing laps around the 5th legs of Hell).

    (But I donít doubt your math on the FR kick for freestyle and itís % of your propulsion, Glenn)

  10. #10
    Very Active Member scyfreestyler's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    If you have no or very little propulsion then I'd look to things like ankle flexibility (point your toes) and kick amplitude (narrow).

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    Re: No kick

    No kick? Peep this:


    As far as technique goes if you are cramping from the kick I would suggest doing some foot and calf stretching exercise to get your foot used to pointing and keep up on your electrolytes. Adding some fins will also help with getting the feel of where you generate the power for the kick and prove that you can propel yourself with your legs.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    The very act of putting on fins makes my feet cramp. I need not even enter the water and the workout is effectively over. I have been a runner for 40+ years and at 71 now, improving ankle flexibility is a very remote possibility. I keep trying though.

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    Re: No kick

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumorunner View Post
    The very act of putting on fins makes my feet cramp. I need not even enter the water and the workout is effectively over. I have been a runner for 40+ years and at 71 now, improving ankle flexibility is a very remote possibility. I keep trying though.
    Interesting. I could have written this post!! I was a hardcore runner for 40+ years. Osteo in both knees turned me to swimming on February 21st, 2019. (Yes, that was the date when I made the switch.)

    I hate "toys". (Fins, paddles, floats, wetsuits, etc.) As runners, did we ever employ such aids? (Spikes!! You got me!)

    Are we ex-runners screwed in the kicking department?
    Last edited by Skuj; June 18th, 2019 at 02:45 AM.
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:37.0/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:56.8/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

  14. #14
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    Re: No kick

    Quote Originally Posted by Jmcns210 View Post
    No kick? Peep this:


    As far as technique goes if you are cramping from the kick I would suggest doing some foot and calf stretching exercise to get your foot used to pointing and keep up on your electrolytes. Adding some fins will also help with getting the feel of where you generatle the power for the kick and prove that you can propel yourself with your legs.
    That video is from another Universe. Dolphin kicking, at that speed, is something that Aliens do. Can an old ex-runner benefit from such displays of otherworldliness? I'm baffled about where I would even start.
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:37.0/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:56.8/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

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    Re: No kick

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumorunner View Post
    I'm something of a newbie to masters, though I've been swimming a long time. I have no kick, zero, nada. I have tried at masters swim workouts, but if I attempt to move down the lane using kick only, I float absolutely still in the water. If I kick a lot, I get cramps in feet and calfs. What to do???
    I would suggest working on your kick using a snorkel. With ot without a kickboard, whatever makes you comfortable. But the snorkel will help you keep the head down and in proper alignment. Head above water with a kickboard keeps the hips too low. Streamline head down iwithot a board s not bad, but I think you lose position when you rotate, so I'd suggest a snorkel, instead.

    As for the importance of kicking, I'm in the camp that believes it is vitally important. I'd say that it is most importnat for breast stroke and back stroke. Look up Elizabeth Biesel's "titanic" drill. That shows how much kicking contributes. I'd actually contend that it is possible to do backstroke faster only kicking than only pulling. That said, you don't see it much in distance. I think legs use an amount of oxygen disproportionate to the benefit. But on short distances, they are vital. Again, my opinion/anecdote.

    UDK's are something else, entirely. Those are even more critical. Look up David Berkhoff, of "Berkhoff Blastoff," who is responsible for the 15M rule. He held the world record from his technique of staying underwater doing UDK for probably 70 of 100M. Not legal, nowadays.

  16. #16
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    Re: No kick

    I agree to the benefit of using the snorkel. I've tried hard to improve my kick with a kickboard however, would no nowhere and expend a lot of energy doing so. I've been using the snorkel, without a board and have been able to keep my head down and improve my kick. Good luck.

  17. #17
    Very Active Member Mark Usher's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    Another vote for the use of a snorkel in streamline for kick drills. Kicking heads-up with kickboard puts my hips too low and puts too much strain on my lower back.

    Although I normally don't use a kick board, I will, on occasion, use my snorkel along with a Finis alignment board that I carry in my bag.

    A new kick drill I got from my coach last week is dolphin kicking on my back using a pull buoy and ankle band. Great ab workout.

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    Re: No kick

    By the way, meant to say snorkel with a board means the board is further forward. Palms flat on the center of the board, slight pressure. Engages your lats and core a little to keep your body flat and level.

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    Re: No kick

    I hate to say this, but...

    Without increasing ankle flexibility, which was posted on another thread, it won't matter much if you use a board, snorkel, etc. In and of themselves, they will not improve your kicking ability. Yes, they will improve your body position and reduce frontal drag, but without better ankle flexibility, there will be no increase in forward propulsion.

    So, if you "kick-in-place" or maybe even go backwards when you kick, find exercises to increase ankle, foot, and even toe flexibility to reduce backward drag. There are plenty of them. How successful they will be depends on your specific situation (age, swimming history, etc..). As an aside, the more I bicycle and the older I get, the more time I have to devote to stretching my ankles/toes before I swim to prevent cramps and keep my toe point.

    Good Luck Sumo - don't give up on increasing those tight ankles of yours.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member Redbird Alum's Avatar
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    Re: No kick

    I'm with Windrath on this one. Even our level 1 swim lessons work on kids' free and back kick, and neither are any good without the flipper action of a floppy foot. You can actually work on ankle flexibility while watching TV. Rotate the ankle with your hands, and spend some time stretching the calf muscles and toes to help reduce your cramping.


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