General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick Rss Feed  
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2012-06-27 3:45 PM

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Subject: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick

I barely kick if at all, and been doing a two beat type of kick with my swim.  Sometimes its a slight flick, sometimes a harder kick.  Since learning, I been able to swim longer.

Sometimes I don't feel balanced, and when I try a flutter kick, get more balanced.  

One coach of mine to do the two beat kick, for several reasons.  A coach I got analyzed said not to bother, and work on my balance and basics first.  Said it was inappropriate.

What do you guys use and whats your opinion?



2012-06-27 4:17 PM
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Regular
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
I flutter kick. Not sure which way is "right" but it works for me and I've been getting faster with it.
2012-06-27 4:23 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
I like the idea of the flutter kick, as it really seems to sync with the rotation ... driving your body into the roll. I haven't mastered it yet and I do sort of a 4 beat with a heavier downbeat on where the 2-beat would normally go. I hope that makes sense.

I will say that, since I've switched from a more aggressive kick, my times have improved. Even with a full-on flutter, my kick was hardly propulsive at all. The two beat (or my bastardized version of it) really helps me to drive into a rotation/reach that has improved my glide. I do find that I can practice the timing of it all best when I ride the pull buoy. I think that is where the most significant muscle memory has occurred for the timing of it all. 
2012-06-27 6:08 PM
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Master
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Westlake Village , Ca.
Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick

It really just depends....do you want to swim slow or fast...are you wearing a wetsuit?

For most AG Triathletes...kick is not very important...it's really just a way to keep good body position...that's goal #1...propulsion is way behind that.

For competitive swimming, it's a bit different.

2012-06-27 9:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
I do an easy 4 beat kick.  it's just what works for me.  Agree that for endurance events, just kick enough to keep your legs afloat.  Other than body position, kicking is a very inefficient method of propulsion.
2012-06-27 10:09 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick

I freely admit I do not swim so much as avoid drowning Embarassed  But I enjoy studying techniques of elite swimmers.  Not sure I buy notion that 2bt kick is only for slow swimmers.  There are some top distance swimmers who effectively use 2-beat kick (at least sometimes) during races, inc. 1500M WR holder Sun Yang.  Videos of his 2011 WR swim clearly show him leading most of race with smooth stroke & very easy kick effort--- until last ~100M when he turned on the afterburner with faster turnover & strong 6bt kick.  Before that he was 2bt kicking w/some easy 4-6's at what appeared to be minimal effort.  No real pattern to the 2/4/6 bts that I could see (beyond maintaining excellent body position of course).  Seemed like 99+% of his "relaxed" power came from that massive (6'6") arm stroke, which with his outstanding streamline resulted in incredible speed.  He was leading most of  this 2011 WC race while looking like it was barely above warm-up effort. Could be more WR's in this guy's future if he could only learn to flutter kick Wink



Edited by Oldteen 2012-06-27 10:11 PM


2012-06-27 10:22 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick

There are some top distance swimmers who effectively use 2-beat kick (at least sometimes) during races, inc.

tjfry, for one

2012-06-27 10:23 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
Oldteen - 2012-06-27 8:09 PM

Could be more WR's in this guy's future if he could only learn to flutter kick Wink

That's exactly right. Word is, through the grapevine, that his coaches are working on his fitness to allow for a faster turnover and kick....Once he's able to speed up his turnover and kick more, watch out.....

But let's not look at an Olympic pool swimmer when talking about how an age group triathlete should most effectively use their kick. Two completely different worlds....

2012-06-27 10:35 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick

I should also probably clarify what I meant by "fast" and "slow"..

I didn't mean you couldn't swim a distance event fast with a two beat kick...you can and that's why I said for most triathletes kicking is of little importance beyond body position.

What I meant by fast is, well, fast....as in 100 yard sprint fast. What I meant by slow is basically a distance pace.

Let me tell you, in the first 200 meters of an ITU race, no one is two beat kicking...they are basically sprinting with big kicks. You need different gears in open water swimming and a big kick can help that. So while a two beat kick will probably be sufficient for most AG triathletes, it doesn't hurt to know why you would want a big kick....and how to use it.

2012-06-27 10:54 PM
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
As a former competetive swimmer when swimming distance or open water I use a simple flutter kick.  It is less for driving power and more for balance and rhythm.  That said, what are you trying to accomplish?  In OW I am more concerned about steady pace and not spending too much energy.
2012-06-28 8:00 AM
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Pro
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
Is the swim coach a regular swim coach or someone that has triathlon experience? There's a quite significant difference. When racing in a pool, all you need is enough energy left to get out after the race. In a tri, you still have the bike and run left, both require you to use your legs.

This is why most triathletes really do minimize the kicking... flutter kick without much effort just enough find balance in the water. Save the legs for the bike/run.

This is where some swim coaches struggle... without triathlon experience, they will teach you to kick to generate forward momentum, which is great in the pool, but not good for the rest of the tri...


2012-06-28 10:45 AM
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2012-06-28 12:01 PM
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Expert
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
spudone - 2012-06-27 10:22 PM

There are some top distance swimmers who effectively use 2-beat kick (at least sometimes) during races, inc.

tjfry, for one

the kick helps drive rotation (rotate from your core) and balance (provides lift for the back half). Propulsion plays some role but not a big one. If you are an effective kicker, one kick that is a little harder saves more energy than a bunch of kicks (flutter) to achieve the same goal. That's why you see it in distance events in the pool. In short races (pool races) power/efficiency ratio changes and you will kick more to to generate power.  That's why you see that big kick if you're watching the Olympic trials. 4 beat kick is sorta no man's land as it can be disruptive to rotation so a 2 beat or 6 beat would be what I recommend. For what we do, I'm a fan of the two beat but that doesn't mean flutter is bad. It just burns up too many of my matches. YMMV. Seems to have served me pretty good anyway.

2012-06-28 12:10 PM
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Elite
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
I'd say that the one that works for you best is the right one.


When I pay attention to my kick, I notice that I tend to float between the two, but mostly a bit of a flutter.
The kick is mostly there for balance and counter-motion to the opposing pull, so maybe that's part of it?
2012-06-28 12:19 PM
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Expert
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick

cgregg - 2012-06-28 12:10 PM I'd say that the one that works for you best is the right one. When I pay attention to my kick, I notice that I tend to float between the two, but mostly a bit of a flutter. The kick is mostly there for balance and counter-motion to the opposing pull, so maybe that's part of it?

kick should compliment, not counter the rotation

2012-06-28 12:23 PM
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Master
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Subject: RE: Two beat kick vs Flutter Kick
From a MUCH slower perspective I agree 100% w tjfry.  My swim was literally gassed @ 50M  3 1/2yrs ago when I started training for my 1st tri.  Flutter kick just sapped too much energy.  Took me a while to start coordinating core rotation & 2bt kick but eventually I was able to swim progressively longer distances (inc 1st IM last Fall).  I've tried 4 & 6bt kicks but never found a sense of stroke rhythm.  A slow 2bt kick seems to be about the limit of my coordination in the water.  FWIW- I still kick some wearing a wetsuit if only to keep a little blood flowing to the legs & feet.


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