31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence #25: Kick!

Woah! How is it February already? Time really does fly, reminding me of the urgency to do what I can to get faster and stronger in the time that I have. In order to maximize performance gains I try to focus on efficiency and effectiveness in my training.

“31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” is a series of tips you can apply in your daily triathlon training in order to kick your performance to the next level, without any inordinate expense in time or money. They are small, focused tips but require application in order to make them habits.

With one month down so far this year, what are you doing to improve your performance? What tips would you add to the list? How are you going to reach your goals?

Today is #25: Kick!

Work on your kick to improve your swimming for triathlon - and your bike & run

Kick past your rivals! (2thin2swim’s Flickr)

In swimming for triathlon, the goal is NOT to kick in order to save our legs for the bike and run legs. Swim efficiently, use your upper body to power through the water and let your legs trail behind.

As a result, most triathletes never work on their kick.

That makes sense, but the kick is a very important part of the stroke.

  1. An efficient kick will help with streamlining and body rotation as well as helping propel us forward. At the very least, a good kick and streamline kick will minimise drag and prevent us slowing down.
  2. Kicking also provides a great warmdown and recovery set after a long a long run, by helping eliminate lactic acid in the muscles. The days when I jump in the pool and do 500m easy swim and kick after a tough run, my legs feel infinitely better the next day.
  3. When I was a swimmer cycling really helped my kicking in the pool. In the same vein, working on my kick more regularly has helped my run and cycling. I believe it helps maintain our range of motion and flexibility, particularly in the ankles. It also helps in a holistic manner those muscles that are under-used but provide support.

There are also several types of kicking you can do:

  • Freestyle
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke (front or back. Double-arm backstroke with breaststroke is a great warmdown drill)
  • Butterfly (front or back – fly kick on your back is a great ab workout!)
  • Kicking on side (great drill for hip rotation)

You can do it as part of a warm-up (100m kick), a kick-specific set (6×50), incorporate it into a main set (300m swim with every 3rd length fast kick) or swim down (200m easy).

There are plenty of options  so grab a board and work that kick.

“31 Easy Tips” thus far:

#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18:  Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller
#22: Engage Your Core
#23: Don’t Break the Bank!
#24:
 Be Persistent and Patient (Like Skyscraper Builders)

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