July 28, 2022 3 min read
This post is courtesy of A3 Performance partner Swim Like A. Fish.
If you can kick fast, you can swim fast. Kicking contributes to the success of your race in countless ways; it’s your motorboat and your metronome - all at once. But, kicking may be the most challenging swimming component to push through when a race gets painful. At the end of a race, most swimmers start “dying” as their leg strength and oxygen levels fail. If you want to win a close race, ensure your legs are ready to FINISH! So, why is keeping your kick speed fast SO HARD? And, how can we use great swimming fins to put ourselves in the best position to out-touch our opponents (even though we can’t race with our fins)?
First, we must explore all of the components we need to have to have a consistently great kick.
Just as getting your legs stronger will help you increase the amount of weight you are able to squat - getting your legs stronger will ALSO help you increase the amount of propulsion you can generate swimming down the pool.
In order to perform, our muscles need oxygen. The bigger the muscle, the more fuel is required. The legs have the biggest muscles in the entire body. Being able to breathe evenly and continually give the leg muscles the right amount of fuel are crucial pieces to a fast kick. When the heart rate spikes, it becomes hard to breathe evenly and continually. Breath control helps the heart rate and vice versa.
Although having leg strength and even breathing will contribute to the endurance of your legs, there’s nothing that can replace a lot of hard work in the pool. Training your legs over time to continue kicking effectively as they get tired will allow you to generate more propulsion over time.
Just as with endurance, sometimes we must generate our own mental toughness over time and experience. As swimmers, we know that a race will “hurt.” Pushing our bodies to their limits is not for the weak-minded. But the best swimmers in the world are able to kick into seventh gear when their legs start to hurt. Training helps with this, but you have to have the mental toughness to push through when you want to take your foot off the gas pedal!
Any one of these components is hard to achieve, and you must do several things in order to get better at any one of them. Let’s Talk About How To Achieve Them:
To achieve all of these components for an entire race takes tons of training. That’s why keeping your kick speed fast is SO HARD! It’s also why the fastest swimmers are the best kickers - and so few people have the skill down!
Good thing there’s a training shortcut to achieving all of the components of a great kick!
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