Swimming - Kicking
If you have watched any Olympics you will see how quick the human body can actually move through the water. Without fail the great swimmers of all time have a kick to die for. In fact when Mark Spits the great American swimmer who won 9 gold medals at the Munich Olympics in Germany felt like he was in world record shape he used a kick set as a test. He believed if he could kick 100m in less than 1 minute he would break the World Records for his events at the time.
So what is the logic of never doing kick sets? Triathlon coaches say: You don’t need to kick as:
1. You need to save your legs for the bike and run.
2. Kicking is only good for buoyancy and you get enough buoyancy in your wetsuit.
Hence kicking is not a major part of many triathlon swimming programs.
What amazes me is; when you look at any top triathlon swimmers around the world you will notice they all have superb kicks.
Why I believe lots of kicking in training is so important for triathletes:
1. If you have a weak kick this will put your body in a poor position, even in a wetsuit. This means you will not only have to use your arms more, but you will also have to work harder in general. Kicking training will enable you to kick more effectively so you maintain a better body position improving the overall efficiency.
2. Keeping blood in your legs is vital for biking and running, constant kicking is by far the easiest way to ensure this happens.
3. If they best guys do it why don’t you?
One other major problem is often top long distance triathletes will often do a lot of pull work. This is because they are doing so much biking, running and gym work on their legs. Unfortunately I see many age group swimmers copy this. If you ask any of these top swimmers how much kick work they do you will find they have a kick set built into most sessions. They also have probably been swimmers for many years and already have very powerful efficient kicks.
Every triathlete has to make the choice to do kick work or not. Often your chosen swim coach will not build it into their program, so do it yourself. Have one or two sessions a week that you do that have at least 800m kick NO FINS in it. You will notice a massive benefit in your swimming and triathlon times as a direct result.