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Thread: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

  1. #61
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Amazing Syd showing great improvement keep woking on it. I could never kick for speed. I was dead last all my life when it came to kicking until I started using the dolphin kick. I used to race the sprinters for a 50, me using the dolphin kick and they used the Crawl (not freestyle) and would beat them.
    Keep it simple George Park
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  2. #62
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    congratulations on your improvement

    your improvement is the result of learning how to kick fast, but you're just getting started,

    do the fast kick set 4 or 5 times per week

    test the very fast 25 kick for time once a week

    focus on becoming a fast kicker.

    Let's see how far you go with this

    syd's 25 m kick times

    10)
    09)
    08)
    07)
    06)
    05)
    04)
    03)
    02)
    01) June 28th, 2007 24.10
    00) June 20th, 2007 25.84

    you asked:
    "Are there any dryland exercises that would strengthen kicking muscles?"
    there's leg press, leg extension, leg curl, & jumps, but your big improvements are going to come from your work in the water.

    do some DPK 25's (distance per kick) where you concentrate on:
    1) great streamline and body position
    2) feeling the water with your feet and shins on each kick and
    3) getting maximum distance and propulsion from each kick
    4) count how many kicks it takes you to get across the pool, (count for your right leg then double the number)
    these are easy with lot's of rest

    24.1 is nowhere near what you are capable of
    keep pushing,

    ALSO train and test your 25 SDK

    ande

    Quote Originally Posted by Syd View Post
    A week later and today I went 24.10 off a dive for 25m of flutter kick. I can't imagine that my legs have gotten that much stronger in a week so it must be my technique.

    Are there any dryland exercises that would strengthen kicking muscles? Riding a bike perhaps. Funny I don't really associate swimmers with large calf muscles - not like a bikers anyway. Is that because the kick is supposed to come from the hip?

    I must confess my legs ache like hell when I do these sprint sets and I am as out of breath as if I had swum a 50 at full pace. As a kid kicking was always rest time for me. I never realised it should be hard work as well.

    Thanks Ande!

    Syd
    Last edited by ande; June 28th, 2007 at 02:20 PM.

  3. #63
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Ande,

    I just read this whole thread and am very excited about trying your suggestions. I have always been a very slow kicker, in fact I'm all ARM's my feet just drag behind me, they move but to not propel me through the water.

    I have a problem with my legs cramping, and this has been long-standing, 20 years plus. Even when I was in my 20's when a practice was tough, I would always end-up cramping. My coaches get puzzled, trying to figure it out... more electrolytes, banana's pears, etc... nothing really has made much of a difference, I have just sort of accepted that this is the way my body is. But now (after reading this thread) I'm starting to think that maybe my leg cramps are because I have never built up those muscles and I have just dragged my leg's around and when I am really tried (from a hard practice) that when I try to kick, I then cramp because those are my weakest muscle.

    I guess the only why to verify this is to be very diligent about trying to strengthen my kick, measure my kick times (and incidents of cramping) over time. What do you think?

  4. #64
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by emyrold View Post
    Ande,

    I just read this whole thread and am very excited about trying your suggestions. I have always been a very slow kicker, in fact I'm all ARM's my feet just drag behind me, they move but to not propel me through the water.

    I have a problem with my legs cramping, and this has been long-standing, 20 years plus. Even when I was in my 20's when a practice was tough, I would always end-up cramping. My coaches get puzzled, trying to figure it out... more electrolytes, banana's pears, etc... nothing really has made much of a difference, I have just sort of accepted that this is the way my body is. But now (after reading this thread) I'm starting to think that maybe my leg cramps are because I have never built up those muscles and I have just dragged my leg's around and when I am really tried (from a hard practice) that when I try to kick, I then cramp because those are my weakest muscle.

    I guess the only why to verify this is to be very diligent about trying to strengthen my kick, measure my kick times (and incidents of cramping) over time. What do you think?
    I think you might have hit the nail on the head Emyrold. I have suffered from exactly the same problem of cramping. It is particularly bad towards the end of a training session and always happens when I am pushing off the wall to sprint. Perhaps it is the action of straightening the legs and the tensioning of the muscles when I point my toes, but, whatever, it is damn painful and usually puts and end to the practice then and there. However, I must tell you I haven't cramped in about 2 months now and, recently, my workouts have increased a lot (so if anything I would have expected more cramping). I put it down to two things. 1. For the last two months I have taken a bottle of sports drink (here in Taiwan the brand I like is Supau) to the pool with me each time. This was on the advice of an old man who had been watching me swim and cramp up. It is important to start hydrating BEFORE you even get into the pool. I take drinks at regular intervals throughout my practice now. 2. Recently, on the advice of Ande I have really been practicing my kicking and hence strengthened the muscles in my legs. It now takes a lot longer for them to be tired and hence to cramp up.

    My flutter kick times are steadily improving and so are my sdk's. I encourage you to do the practice sets Ande suggests and post your times up here. I, for one, would be very interested to hear of your progress.

    Syd

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    hey emyrold,

    glad you enjoyed this thread
    i hope it helps you become a faster kicker

    i'm not sure why you're cramping
    might be because you're pointing your toes too hard
    might be a chemical balance thing

    i sometimes cramp at the end of practice
    sometimes I feel a cramp coming on and can avoid it getting worse
    last cramp I had was several weeks ago when I was swimming a hard 200 bk for time

    ande

    Quote Originally Posted by emyrold View Post
    Ande,

    I just read this whole thread and am very excited about trying your suggestions. I have always been a very slow kicker, in fact I'm all ARM's my feet just drag behind me, they move but to not propel me through the water.

    I have a problem with my legs cramping, and this has been long-standing, 20 years plus. Even when I was in my 20's when a practice was tough, I would always end-up cramping. My coaches get puzzled, trying to figure it out... more electrolytes, banana's pears, etc... nothing really has made much of a difference, I have just sort of accepted that this is the way my body is. But now (after reading this thread) I'm starting to think that maybe my leg cramps are because I have never built up those muscles and I have just dragged my leg's around and when I am really tried (from a hard practice) that when I try to kick, I then cramp because those are my weakest muscle.

    I guess the only why to verify this is to be very diligent about trying to strengthen my kick, measure my kick times (and incidents of cramping) over time. What do you think?

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Ande, you posted: 2) feeling the water with your feet and shins on each kick . I puzzled over this one for a while because I just couldn't feel the water on my shins at all. For the most part my shins were submerged and it was only my foot and occassionally the back of my thigh that broke the surface. Then I realised I had to be in a perfect streamline position for this to happen: arms stretched right out in front, right hand over left, whole body pointing forward, head tucked under the arms and chin touching the chest. This forces the bum up and, all of a sudden, hey presto, the shins cleared the water.

    Yesterday I did 23.59 for 25m of flutter kick and that was off the wall without a dive. I did 22.29 for the same distance of SDK.

    Syd

  7. #67
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    How important is the kick??? I think not very important.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    congratulations syd
    you're continuing to improve

    syd's 25 m kick times

    10)
    09)
    08)
    07)
    06)
    05)
    04)
    03)
    02) july 3rd 23.59; SDK 22.29
    01) June 28th, 2007 24.10
    00) June 20th, 2007 25.84

    Quote Originally Posted by Syd View Post
    Ande, you posted: 2) feeling the water with your feet and shins on each kick . I puzzled over this one for a while because I just couldn't feel the water on my shins at all. For the most part my shins were submerged and it was only my foot and occassionally the back of my thigh that broke the surface. Then I realised I had to be in a perfect streamline position for this to happen: arms stretched right out in front, right hand over left, whole body pointing forward, head tucked under the arms and chin touching the chest. This forces the bum up and, all of a sudden, hey presto, the shins cleared the water.

    Yesterday I did 23.59 for 25m of flutter kick and that was off the wall without a dive. I did 22.29 for the same distance of SDK.

    Syd

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Syd,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I have been drinking a lot of electrolytes, eating pears and banana's and it seemed to help a little. But I think the real improvement may come from strengthening my legs, I have never really focussed on them and this will be the first.

    Ande,

    Thanks for your feedback as well.

    Here are my times from tonight.

    25 yard pool, slow lanes 7 and 8 do not have a starting block so I just dove from the side and into a streamline.

    22 seconds **but I just have a good dive and streamline.

    here are some times over a longer period tonight. They are push off the wall, turnover onto my back, streamline and kick to the wall....

    10 x 50 (25 fast kick "timed", 25 easy swim, 30 seconds rest)

    1) 28
    2) 30
    3) 32
    4) 30
    5) 31 ** extra 60 seconds rest after this one...
    6) 28
    7) 32
    8) 33
    9) 32
    10) 32

    5 x 25 fast kick with 15 second rest

    1) 34
    2) 35
    3) 34
    4) 34
    5) 36 **done, leg's gone, cramping setting in....

  10. #70
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Hi Emyrold,

    nice to hear from you

    22 is a good starting point
    get someone to time you with a watch
    get your time in 10ths of a second
    tenths matter especially when your rate of improvement slows down

    you don't need to post your training times
    just post your test kick, when you blast a 25 kick at the end of each week

    ande


    Quote Originally Posted by emyrold View Post
    Syd,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I have been drinking a lot of electrolytes, eating pears and banana's and it seemed to help a little. But I think the real improvement may come from strengthening my legs, I have never really focussed on them and this will be the first.

    Ande,

    Thanks for your feedback as well.

    Here are my times from tonight.

    25 yard pool, slow lanes 7 and 8 do not have a starting block so I just dove from the side and into a streamline.

    22 seconds **but I just have a good dive and streamline.

    here are some times over a longer period tonight. They are push off the wall, turnover onto my back, streamline and kick to the wall....

    10 x 50 (25 fast kick "timed", 25 easy swim, 30 seconds rest)

    1) 28
    2) 30
    3) 32
    4) 30
    5) 31 ** extra 60 seconds rest after this one...
    6) 28
    7) 32
    8) 33
    9) 32
    10) 32

    5 x 25 fast kick with 15 second rest

    1) 34
    2) 35
    3) 34
    4) 34
    5) 36 **done, leg's gone, cramping setting in....

  11. #71
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    There is some good advice in this thread. I've been working seriously on my kick for the last two months now. At my club pretty much nobody can actually do the kick sets without using fins, but I'm determined to become the 2nd person in the pool who can do them. To me, using fins is the wimp's option, all good swimmers seem to have a good kick, so I figure if I want to be a good swimmer I need a good kick. To be able to do the club sets I need to be able to do, for example, 5 x 100m kick on 2:00.

    Last night I did some fairly easy 25m kick lengths, focusing on technique, and gradually speeded up to full speed. Then I did a couple of 4 x 25m kick on 60, my fastest 25m was 20.09 (from a push off). I'm perhaps cheating a little in that I do about 10 dolphin kicks before starting my flutter kick, but I figure this is good training in itself anyway.

    I was expecting to be too tired to do much more kick after that, but I started a set of 4 x 100m kick on 2:30 anyway, and somehow managed to hold 1:55 for each one, my previous best being 1:58 for each one. I think some of this was due to following the advice to feel the water on my shins and try to get propulsion from them.

    I think I still have a long road ahead to be able to do 5 x 100m kick on 2:00, but I do think it's worth it. I did a 200m free PB last weekend, going 2:09.79 compared to my previous PB of 2:10.97, and I think the stronger kick helped me to do that. I don't believe the people who say kick doesn't matter, all good 200m swimmers look like they have an outboard motor attached to their legs with a powerful kick for the whole distance.

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Hi Not Very Fast,

    great to hear from you
    fins ARE for wimps, though they might be good for helping beginners learn how to kick
    2:09 in the 200 LCM fr is pretty decent, and so is 20 for a 25 m k,
    test 25's without any SDKs
    I'm sure you can get yours down to 16 or 17

    good luck with your kicking when I was in college I could do
    8 x 100 k LCM on 1:30
    I'm pretty sure that now I could make
    8 x 100 k on 1:40, flutter with a board would be a challenge

    It's a good idea to train so you can maintain a strong kick for your entire 200 LCM free, plus it's smart for you to work with your kick enough to understand gears and effort, you can adjust the intensity of your kick depending upon which event you're doing, ie
    the six beat kick you use in your 50 is different from the 6 beat kick you use in your 100, 200, and 400.

    watch Manaudou break the World Record in the 200 meter Free
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=qWGUMhG-Owg
    so did phelps in his 1:43 200 M free at worlds

    It's important for you to do fast 150 & 200 kicks
    plus swim fast 100's, 150's, 200's, 250's and 300's
    with a strong kick the entire way

    you should do some of the sprint kicking sets but
    keep in mind I created them to help slow kickers become faster kickers.
    Once they improve their speed, the next step is to work on 50's, 75's 100's and then to learn how to pace, split and control their effort to produce the best time.

    Hope this helps,

    Ande

    Quote Originally Posted by NotVeryFast View Post
    There is some good advice in this thread. I've been working seriously on my kick for the last two months now. At my club pretty much nobody can actually do the kick sets without using fins, but I'm determined to become the 2nd person in the pool who can do them. To me, using fins is the wimp's option, all good swimmers seem to have a good kick, so I figure if I want to be a good swimmer I need a good kick. To be able to do the club sets I need to be able to do, for example, 5 x 100m kick on 2:00.

    Last night I did some fairly easy 25m kick lengths, focusing on technique, and gradually speeded up to full speed. Then I did a couple of 4 x 25m kick on 60, my fastest 25m was 20.09 (from a push off). I'm perhaps cheating a little in that I do about 10 dolphin kicks before starting my flutter kick, but I figure this is good training in itself anyway.

    I was expecting to be too tired to do much more kick after that, but I started a set of 4 x 100m kick on 2:30 anyway, and somehow managed to hold 1:55 for each one, my previous best being 1:58 for each one. I think some of this was due to following the advice to feel the water on my shins and try to get propulsion from them.

    I think I still have a long road ahead to be able to do 5 x 100m kick on 2:00, but I do think it's worth it. I did a 200m free PB last weekend, going 2:09.79 compared to my previous PB of 2:10.97, and I think the stronger kick helped me to do that. I don't believe the people who say kick doesn't matter, all good 200m swimmers look like they have an outboard motor attached to their legs with a powerful kick for the whole distance.

  13. #73
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Watched Manaudou. Could not at first viewing tell if she is still doing the 2 beat kick. What power she has in her arms.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by geochuck View Post
    How important is the kick??? I think not very important.
    Oh, how I wish you were coaching the club I used to swim with! I quit because I could not kick in a propulsive manner to save my life, and kick sets were such a huge part of the workout. I can flutter kick 25m with a board, if I'm willing to reach my max heart rate and spend the next five minutes recovering.

    I don't understand the obsession with kick sets -- except that I truly suspect Ande's right. But I don't want him to be right; I want George to be right.

  15. #75
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    It really goes back to the 100 hp motor and the 9.9 hp motor, on a boat.

    The arms 100, the legs 9.9, would you have both in the water and run them at the same time.

    I have always been a believer in the legs are a balancer and the arms are the power.

    Don't get me wrong I don't mean using the arm muscles only, get your back into it.

    But what works for me does not have to be accepted by any one else.
    Keep it simple George Park
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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by geochuck View Post
    But what works for me does not have to be accepted by any one else.
    That's true, of course. But I swim almost 20% faster when I use a 2 beat kick only for balance, so it definitely works better for me.

    Not sure what to do about the kick sets, though. I swear that not doing the assigned sets makes you look like a slacker, and when you're new to a club that's not a great way to get started.

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Thanks for the further advice Ande. I tried a 25m kick without SDKs, I still did 3 SDKs just to smoothly transition from the glide to the surface, I'd struggle to do fewer than that. The best I managed was 21.37 compared to my 20.09 with 10 SDKs, so each SDK is making 0.2 seconds difference. This isn't too surprising as I can do 25m from a push off in 15.5 using SDK all the way. I hope you're right about being able to get down to 16/17 secs for my 25m flutter kick!

    I'd previously only been doing either 400m continuous kick or 4 x 100m. I think it has been good to add in some 25m repeats and 50m repeats. I think you're also right about doing some 150s and 200s.

    It's true what you said about getting used to the different "gears". My time for 100m kick started off not too far away from my 200m swim time, so I tried to pace the 100m kick like a 200m race, lifting the effort for the 3rd 25m and then giving it 100% down the final 25m. I found it useful in my 200 free race to keep the same feel for my kick for each 50 as I would for the corresponding 25 when doing 100 kick.

    By the way, my 2:09 200 free was SCM not LCM, most Masters swimming here in the UK is SCM. Most of us don't have the opportunity to train LCM, as there are very few LCM pools here, so the LCM nationals is much less popular than the SCM nationals, and there are a lot more SCM meets than LCM meets.

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    you're welcome
    work on your SDK, 15.5 is a pretty good SDK

    train to improve your SDK
    focus on improving your 10 m & 15 m SDK

    probably get your 25 SDK down to 11, 12 or 13

    ande

    Quote Originally Posted by NotVeryFast View Post
    Thanks for the further advice Ande. I tried a 25m kick without SDKs, I still did 3 SDKs just to smoothly transition from the glide to the surface, I'd struggle to do fewer than that. The best I managed was 21.37 compared to my 20.09 with 10 SDKs, so each SDK is making 0.2 seconds difference. This isn't too surprising as I can do 25m from a push off in 15.5 using SDK all the way. I hope you're right about being able to get down to 16/17 secs for my 25m flutter kick!

    I'd previously only been doing either 400m continuous kick or 4 x 100m. I think it has been good to add in some 25m repeats and 50m repeats. I think you're also right about doing some 150s and 200s.

    It's true what you said about getting used to the different "gears". My time for 100m kick started off not too far away from my 200m swim time, so I tried to pace the 100m kick like a 200m race, lifting the effort for the 3rd 25m and then giving it 100% down the final 25m. I found it useful in my 200 free race to keep the same feel for my kick for each 50 as I would for the corresponding 25 when doing 100 kick.

    By the way, my 2:09 200 free was SCM not LCM, most Masters swimming here in the UK is SCM. Most of us don't have the opportunity to train LCM, as there are very few LCM pools here, so the LCM nationals is much less popular than the SCM nationals, and there are a lot more SCM meets than LCM meets.

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    I've had some friends staying with me for the past two weeks and haven't been able to train as much as usual. Only a marginal improvement on my flutter kick: off the wall - 23:11 for 25m but no improvement on my SDK time. Am mightily impressed by that 15.5 of notveryfast's and am beginning to wonder what I am doing wrong that is making me lag behind by 7 seconds. That is a huge margin over 25m! To be honest I am not really feeling the water when I SDK. My kick feels ineffectual and I am not entirely sure where the 'power' for my kick should be coming from: my legs or my hips or my whole body.

    Syd

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    Re: Help My Flutter Kick is Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by Syd View Post
    no improvement on my SDK time. Am mightily impressed by that 15.5 of notveryfast's and am beginning to wonder what I am doing wrong that is making me lag behind by 7 seconds. That is a huge margin over 25m! To be honest I am not really feeling the water when I SDK. My kick feels ineffectual and I am not entirely sure where the 'power' for my kick should be coming from: my legs or my hips or my whole body.
    When I do it, I generate the power from my core body muscles, moving the hips powerfully up and down. The power then "ripples" down the legs to the feet. It also feels like a very high level of effort indeed, a high but not max effort takes me 17-18 secs for 25m SDK, to take the extra couple of seconds off I have to move my hips up and down with every ounce of force I can muster.

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