Swimming Kick Exhausts Me

Kicking whilst swimming exhausts me

1 to 20 of 31 messages
18/02/2012 at 11:44

Help and advice badly needed. I am a bad swimmer, I couldn't do more than a length at first, and have had lessons to help. However, in order to go further (say 400m, rather than normal 100m's) I have to seriously reduce my leg kick. The problem s they then sink and I go slow. The Swim4Tri guys are helping by giving me basic kick drills, but seriously one length of kick only and I am utterly exhausted. I am comfortably running 10k'S etc, but swimming is starting to beat me.

 Any advice? How hard should I be kicking (perceived effort out of 10)?


18/02/2012 at 13:12

Hi macatac

I've started 1:1 coaching in TI and I'm told that kicking isn't meant to keep your legs high. That is done by body position, namely leaning on your lungs and keeping  a relaxed head.  Its about laws of physics - if your top half is too high your bottom half will sink to compensate.  Your lungs are full of air which float and will naturally want to bounce upwards, so if you slightly lean in on them you will become automatically more balanced.  It takes some practice but its working for me. 

18/02/2012 at 13:23

Was gonna say exactly what Soupy said. 

I don't use my legs very much at all but the body position means I can get away with it.

seren nos    pirate
18/02/2012 at 13:31
macatac....totally understand where you are coming from......
unfortunately i never managed to get one to one lessons or training and so my legs still drag.....

my only solution is to only ever race Open water where the wetsuit holds me up and i then don't bother with the kick.....

If I ever swim train in doors i use a pullbuoy all the time and only use my arms.....

this means i can do tri but its not really the best solution...its a best can do

can you keep at it for a while and ask the swim guys to relook at your position and style
18/02/2012 at 13:31
Have a look for goswim.tv drills on  Youtube. I'm sure there's some kick drills and goswim explain things really well. There's also swimsmooth too. As for the amount of effort from your kick, I think it's supposed to be 5-10% and make sure you keep your kick shallow.  Somewhere deep in the archives of the site there's a great interview by a swim coach who came on here for a Q&A session.
Edited: 18/02/2012 at 13:33
18/02/2012 at 13:39

As above, if you can sort out your body position you'll be much more streamlined in the water without having to do the kicking that you're finding exhausting. How much are you kicking? A rapid kick wipes me out too!

I'd continue with the kick drills - if you want the physiological adaptations necessary for a less exhausting kick, you need to practise that kick. There'll be some cross-training effect from running, but you need to do the sport to get better at the sport - if you know what I mean. Swim training for swimming

You shouldn't be kicking hard - if you want to distance rather than speed, then the RPE of the kick should be minimal. 4 out of 10 I'd guess. Work on getting the technique right and the effort and speed will reduce

M...eldy    pirate
18/02/2012 at 13:58
If your legs drag then more core work and more core work will def help
cougie    pirate
18/02/2012 at 14:59
I'm a crap swimmer, but my breakthrough was stopping the kick. Now I can swim for hours and just flutter my legs.
18/02/2012 at 15:03
18/02/2012 at 21:39

Thanks for the tips. Seems to me I am kicking too hard, but not too much! Need to do some more core excercises to strengthen core to allow me to lift and hold my backside higher whilst pushing my lungs down.

Will keep at kick drills, and I am not giving up, but I need to get over this block.

One question, I have read various articles about anke flexibility (see link below), but wonder what they mean by stretching ankle to more than 90 degrees. Is 90 degress basically standing position. My misunderstanding is that surely everyone can flex at least something past 90 degrees, yet the article suggests some can't? Sorry if this offensive to some, just trying to understand what I am. If I push my foot down may foot and leg form close a straight line (c170 degree angle), is this less than 90 degrees, or substantially more?


M...eldy    pirate
18/02/2012 at 21:43
Not too sure I can translate what you have read but the greater degree of flexibility and the greater range the better
If you have a wobble board you will soon learn how much you have!!

Dont forget flexibility works in many ways and think how your foot/ankle would move when you are kicking/fluttering in the pool the more flexibility the better ...... or if it helps imagine your foot as a flipper!!
19/02/2012 at 12:17

Been swimming this morning and really concentrated on relaxed, controlled flutter kicking. If anything I may have even been swimming a touch quicker, but if not, I was going a lot further with less effort. Will just concentrate on a relaxed shallow flutter for the next week, but the next thing has to be this body position thing. I reckon my head is OK (I look right below me usually), but need to get my lungs down and backside up!

Thanks for all the help. Back on track

19/02/2012 at 12:57

macatac - this is the first drill I ever learned to start getting balance. Its harder than it looks but now I'm able to get much further as I get better and I practice it loads. Notice how Shinji (who is just awsome)  stays balanced and moving without any kick.  Imagine you have  50p to hold between your buttocks (sorry) and engage your core, round your shoulders a little bit and lean on your lungs slightly with head low and relaxed looking to the bottom of the pool.   It gives a very streamlined position that just glides along.  I just love this drill.

The Silent Assassin    pirate
19/02/2012 at 14:19
cougie  wrote (see)
I'm a crap swimmer, but my breakthrough was stopping the kick. Now I can swim for hours and just flutter my legs.

+1 for what Cougie says, I hardly kick at all, but then I am a truly crap swimmer.

Thought that was the qualification for joining the pirates

Doner Kebab    pirate
19/02/2012 at 16:38
wiggle used to sell bouyancy shorts that may help you out for a quick fix - i thought about using them instead of pull buoy for drill days.
19/02/2012 at 17:07

Buoyancy shorts?  That's put several unwanted visions in my head, almost as bad as speedos

That aside I can't see how they'd work as well as a pull buoy unless they're quite long.

19/02/2012 at 17:35

I've got a vision of something capri-length and you blow them up beforehand, making your thighs look like thick sausages.

Kinda like armbands for the legs.

Doner Kebab    pirate
19/02/2012 at 19:07
They are basically short wetsuit bottoms
seren nos    pirate
20/02/2012 at 07:43
pullbuoy seems an easier and cheaper solution....
20/02/2012 at 08:16

Don't pullboys though just mask the problem so that as soon as you stop using them you are back to square one?  I've never really understood using them.

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