General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment Rss Feed  
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2008-11-07 11:20 AM

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Subject: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment

So I did a little experiment.  I have been working on my kick with a board to get it stronger and tighter.....

I did one 50 yrd with my normal kick that is very minimal and mostly just helps with rotation and keeping my legs up. 

The 2nd 50yrd, I did with a all out kick.

1st one was 55 sec, 2nd one was 52 sec.

3 seconds and I was totally gassed after the 2nd 50yrd since the kicking takes so much more oxygen & effort.

Just my little unscientific study to show that kicking does not have much speed return for me when compared to the output of effort that is required.



2008-11-07 11:24 AM
in reply to: #1795344

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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment
I would think it's about the same for me.  It's not worth gassing out to get a couple second per 100 for me.
2008-11-07 11:27 AM
in reply to: #1795344

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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment

That's true for much of swimming.  A while back an experienced coach I know ran some tests.  Swam 4 x 1000 and monitored HR.  Each 1000 at a progressively difficult pace (easy to working hard)

Paraphrasing, (and realizing the limitations of the "test", he found that the easy 1000 was something like Ave HR of 125.  Hard was ave. HR of 155.  When extrapolated over a 2.4 mile swim, time savings (100 pace x 42) was something like 5 minutes.  Question was do you want to spend the first hour of an IM at 155 pace and be 5 minutes ahead, or spend it at 125 and likely gain much more time at mile 80 of the bike or 18 of the run

2008-11-07 11:39 AM
in reply to: #1795344

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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment
You are approaching this incorrectly. For proper distance swimming a solid 4-6 beat flutter kick is important not for propulsion but to help you hold good body balance, body rotation and better rhythm/extension for the reach/catch/pull. I don’t know many athletes with fast swim times that do not kick, most use a flutter kick for the reasons mentioned, but again the importance is not for propulsion (like sprint swimmers) but for better form.

I do (and use with my athletes) ankle locks to help them develop their front end of their stroke and improve their balance. I use the locks a few times a week for a few sets in my sessions and let me tell you I swim MUCH faster when I can use my 4-6 beat kick than with no kick (wearing the ankle lock) for the simple reason that my kick allows my body better balance and better rotation.



Edited by JorgeM 2008-11-07 11:40 AM
2008-11-07 11:41 AM
in reply to: #1795344

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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment
Sure.  Distance swimmers generally don't need a "strong" kick for propulsion.  They need an "effective" kick.  And, for that, there's still some value to working on the kick as you have been doing.
2008-11-07 12:00 PM
in reply to: #1795344

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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment

On a sort of related note - I find that I cannot swim properly at ALL if I go to zero kick. I'm male, with muscular legs, so they sink like logs. When I use a minimal flutter kick, I go to a nice total-immersion type stroke, with 11 strokes/25m.

 Is there any value in swimming with no kick, or would this be detrimental in my case with my log-legs?



2008-11-07 12:23 PM
in reply to: #1795400

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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment
JorgeM - 2008-11-07 9:39 AM You are approaching this incorrectly. For proper distance swimming a solid 4-6 beat flutter kick is important not for propulsion but to help you hold good body balance, body rotation and better rhythm/extension for the reach/catch/pull. I don’t know many athletes with fast swim times that do not kick, most use a flutter kick for the reasons mentioned, but again the importance is not for propulsion (like sprint swimmers) but for better form.

I do (and use with my athletes) ankle locks to help them develop their front end of their stroke and improve their balance. I use the locks a few times a week for a few sets in my sessions and let me tell you I swim MUCH faster when I can use my 4-6 beat kick than with no kick (wearing the ankle lock) for the simple reason that my kick allows my body better balance and better rotation.

I was not clear.  I still kick like you say (4-6 beat flutter) for rotation and balance.  But I don't kick all out like I do when I'm doing sprints.  I'm not dragging dead legs behind me, I just use them to a much lesser extent.

2008-11-07 12:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment
JorgeM - 2008-11-07 12:39 PM You are approaching this incorrectly. For proper distance swimming a solid 4-6 beat flutter kick is important not for propulsion but to help you hold good body balance, body rotation and better rhythm/extension for the reach/catch/pull. I don’t know many athletes with fast swim times that do not kick, most use a flutter kick for the reasons mentioned, but again the importance is not for propulsion (like sprint swimmers) but for better form.

I do (and use with my athletes) ankle locks to help them develop their front end of their stroke and improve their balance. I use the locks a few times a week for a few sets in my sessions and let me tell you I swim MUCH faster when I can use my 4-6 beat kick than with no kick (wearing the ankle lock) for the simple reason that my kick allows my body better balance and better rotation.

I think you missed the part where I said my "normal kick that is very minimal and mostly just helps with rotation and keeping my legs up". 

I use "ankle locks" as well and I agree that zero kick makes a big difference.  That was not my point.  My point was comparing the typical triathlete "flutter kick" to a all out kick for propolsion too.

2008-11-07 12:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment
trimore - 2008-11-07 9:20 AM

So I did a little experiment.  I have been working on my kick with a board to get it stronger and tighter.....

I did one 50 yrd with my normal kick that is very minimal and mostly just helps with rotation and keeping my legs up. 

The 2nd 50yrd, I did with a all out kick.

1st one was 55 sec, 2nd one was 52 sec.

3 seconds and I was totally gassed after the 2nd 50yrd since the kicking takes so much more oxygen & effort.

Just my little unscientific study to show that kicking does not have much speed return for me when compared to the output of effort that is required.

I think that is a good result based on the amount of 50's and kick sets you do. I think its almost a bonus having an efficient kick.

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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Kicking & Not Kicking - 50yd Difference Experiment Rss Feed