Kicking progress

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IM-prover
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:07 am

Kicking progress

Postby IM-prover » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:28 pm

I got a compliment from my swim coach the other day that my body position in the water has improved a lot and I was trying to think what caused the improvement. I was thinking it might be the yoga classes that I have been doing which doubtless have brought about greater flexibility and body awareness. This increased awareness has led to me to try to feel what my legs are doing and their timing with the arms and the hips. Trying to convince myself that a 6 beat kick is sustainable and worthwhile has been a sort of a mental breakthrough. I have found Chloe Sutton's video on kicking useful where she suggests using the words 'strawberry' and 'blueberry' to get the timing of the 6 beat kick - each word having 3 syllables and the start of each word initiates a hip turn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRsF6HN8kmk

Also watching the video I came across of Matthew Hirschberger has been useful. I think he is a junior swimmer who has trained alongside Katie Ledecky. Maybe because of his relative youth there is an apparent simplicity to his style of swimming that makes it seem more replicable. His stroke rate is quite high, 80+ but it is his kicking and his hip turning I like most about the video. How the ankles break the surface of the water on the 'straw...' and 'blue...' (to continue Chloe Sutton's learning aid) to initiate a powerful hip turn.
I think a mistake I was making before was squaring my hips off in the middle instead of swinging the hips from the left to the right swiftly to generate more power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FoOj66POJA

s.sciame
Posts: 255
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Location: Rome, Italy

Re: Kicking progress

Postby s.sciame » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:35 am

Way to go! So did you find that a 6bk is sustainable over long distances as well and swim 100% with it? I'm still not convinced and use to alternate 6bk lengths with 2bk lengths. And in open water I usually start with a 6bk and, after a while, switch to a 2bk (perhaps it's more a mental issue).

You may also like to read the latest comments on Feel For The Water's last post about Ferry Weertman using a 6 beat kick for 10k.

And yes, that guy Matthew Hirschberger is quite inspiring: at 80SPM he could be easily tempted to switch to a 2bk, instead he still keeps a 6bk.

Cheers,
Salvo
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smootharnie
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby smootharnie » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:34 pm

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smootharnie
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby smootharnie » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:07 pm

I dont know. Super funny anyway.

hey Ducky are you a natural floater or do you have to kick a bit to float level in streamline?
Your impression of very light floaty legs might be a bit personal for true leg sinkers.
You can get a long way with balance, but I doubt leg sinkers will ever get the impression of floaty legs whatever they try.

The feel for the water blog was great.
I think Paul is a tiny bit obsessed with tearing down the longer stroke is better mantra, but damn, I totally agree with everything he says there.
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s.sciame
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Location: Rome, Italy

Re: Kicking progress

Postby s.sciame » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:15 pm

Ducky wrote:the myth that a 6 beat is too consuming for distance is out of the application


Hi Ducky, so do you agree with this article

http://theraceclub.com/aqua-notes/the-i ... -swimming/

and, in particular, with the following advice?
Unless you absolutely have no kick at all, work your legs hard….like devote every 4th or 5th practice to pure leg workout. That’s how much the I have to stress the importance of kicking in swimming. And, unless you have no propulsion, always use a 6 beat kick.

Ferry Weertman won the 10k at Rio 6 beat kicking for the entire race (or at least whenever he was filmed)...

Salvo
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IM-prover
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Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:07 am

Re: Kicking progress

Postby IM-prover » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:30 pm

Hiya,
Thanks for the encouragement! As for yoga I think it has helped in a way I didn't expect. I took it up at the start of the year as a potential cure to a niggly shoulder for which I had paid a visit to a physio and a massage therapist in vain. After doing yoga for a few months, I got introduced to inversions and in particular head stands. Initially I thought, 'I can't do this', but something about them intrigued me. So I started to practice them at home and with some youtube videos and after a few epic fails I started to get the hang of them. The next time they were done in class I held one perfectly for a couple of minutes much to the amazement of the instructor and to my relief that I hadn't fallen and killed anyone! The benefit I found from doing them was that my shoulder felt better after them and my shoulders generally were being exercised in a way that was different from using weights.

Then I started to read a book called The Science of Yoga and in it there is a story about a medical doctor/yoga therapist who is all set to have surgery to repair his rotator cuff but he is on a waiting list. Annoyed with the delay he starts to treat his rotator cuff through the use of head stands and 7 years after he still hadn't gone under the knife his rotator cuff was much better. He maintains that only 30 seconds a day of headstand is all that's needed to gain the benefits.

In headstand you are trying to achieve a vertical line where holding the pose becomes easier and similarly in swimming you are trying to achieve a horizontal line where good posture and swimming become easier. It is the body awareness from yoga to swimming that has transferred across and I suppose vice versa.

Anyway that's my spiel on yoga.

smootharnie
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby smootharnie » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:47 pm

thats a bit weird going from a static leg sinker to a static floater.
Maybe you were a real non swimmer when you started.
So you try to keep that floating sensation and take it to the swimming (adding legs and arm rotation movement)then?
Thats what I understand from holding balance.
I have to say I have to add a little extra buoy pressure and more posture tightness to keep any floating sensation when strokes are added compared to just the body tone required for static floating.
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smootharnie
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby smootharnie » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:15 am

Static float with arms at sides is impossible for all males I guess.
Most are lucky to keep legs up in streamline position.
So you dont have the problem most males seem to have shown from 26 sec..Then you are lucky.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyuSaNJWup0
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The Dodo
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby The Dodo » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:31 am

smootharnie wrote:Static float with arms at sides is impossible for all males I guess.
Most are lucky to keep legs up in streamline position.

So you dont have the problem most males seem to have shown from 26 sec..Then you are lucky.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyuSaNJWup0


Has the "trick" of "Pressing the T" been forgotten? I haven't actually tried it with arms by the sides - having so far only done it with arms outstretched. Poking the head down below the torso line should help, since the upper air-filled chest is partly involved in the "head nod" down! If the arms are outstretched it's only necessary to get the ears, or back of the head, momentarily to a level just below the under surface of the outstretched upper arms - in order to get those legs up closer to the surface, until the need to get the head up to the surface again for an inhalation - helped by the upward "buoyancy reaction" from the "head nod" downwards.

Re the kicking business - I think "Sprinter" in one of his recent posts, mentioned the dry-land drill he learnt from "The Racing Club" - in which, on the pool deck the squad laid on their cushioned backs with hips well supported, and then did a fast leg "shimmy" up/down with the outstretched relaxed legs keeping the amplitude small, knee/ankle joints well relaxed (all the action being initiated from the hips alone) - then into the pool to replicate the action in the normal FS prone position. Think that, would promote "Ducky"'s "floaty legs" feeling, mentioned on this thread and elsewhere - rapid/shallow flutter kicking with relaxed legs and the "kick" coming from the hips! Although the "kick" is shallow, the final part of each kick downbeat is that tiny flick down of the lower leg/foot ("Ducky"'s toe flick?). Because the action is rapid/relaxed (lots of little kick impulses down/back), it might be superior to a slower/deeper more deliberate leg action which involves some knee action in forcing the lower leg down to end a kick downbeat!

smootharnie
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby smootharnie » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:37 am

I tried the shimmy, but the tissue of my ankles is so stiff that the feet just move with the lower leg almost as one unit.
The little mass of the foot is not enough to bend that surrounding stiff tissue.
Takes about 50 kg to get the foot in line with the shin. No kicking speed is fast enough to make that happen.
Here a guy with finlike floppy feet. Very propulsive kick and extreme foot flexibility.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDnGnx67QzU watch his feet at 58 sec.
Last edited by smootharnie on Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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smootharnie
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby smootharnie » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:43 am

I can float back and front in streamline easily, but foot begin about to sink when arms are spread to the side at shoulder height.
Moving them even lower and nothing can stop those legs from sinking.
Never seen someone who can float with arms at the sides, but maybe you can do it.

Plenty of static leg sinkers swim well. [You dont need that much kicking effort to keep them at the surface using the right posture etc.
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The Dodo
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Re: Kicking progress

Postby The Dodo » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:06 am

smootharnie wrote:I tried the shimmy, but the tissue of my ankles is so stiff that the feet just move with the lower leg almost as one unit.
The little mass of the foot is not enough to bend that surrounding stiff tissue.
Takes about 50 kg to get the foot in line with the shin. No kicking speed is fast enough to make that happen.
Here a guy with finlike floppy feet. Very propulsive kick and extreme foot flexibility.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDnGnx67QzU watch his feet at 58 sec.


Not fair is it? Think the Orientals are more flexible than us Westerners, and some prefer to kneel or "fold the legs beneath them" (or even in the Yoga "Padmasana" foot lock style) rather than sit - so their insteps get stretched much more than ours normally do!

IM-prover
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:07 am

Re: Kicking progress

Postby IM-prover » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:31 pm

Yes, stretching the hip flexors is great and to do this I have found recently that doing lunges up and down a sports hall a few times has helped. But not just the walking lunges but also holding a medium heavy weight (say a 12kg kettlebell) overhead at the same time with elbows almost locked out (getting streamlined in a way) are very good.

The use of stretch cord with handles is a good dryland simulation of the freestyle swimming for those days when you can't make it to the pool. Has anyone come up with a good kicking simulation?

As for the improvement in kicking I think giving more attention to the upkick so that foot can latch onto the water has helped, if the down kick is too strong or prolonged I can lose it and can't get it back near the surface to maintain the rhythm. And just generally paying attention to the 'dance' of the kicking and not skipping kicks which I used to do has brought improvements. The legs do feel lighter, a bit more Michael Flatley than before. Kicking from the hip with a straighter leg and letting what happens at the knee and foot be a by-product of that. I not there fully yet but I am an improver!

Sprinter
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Location: United Kingdom

Re: Kicking progress

Postby Sprinter » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:33 am

Steadiness of the kick seems most important (own experience, what I read, and what I learned from coaches).
Even with just kicking there might be problems with that.
But definitely it is not easy with the full stroke. Kicking on the side, and, most useful in my experience, overkicking helps. The sound of kicking can be used by anybody watching you -- should be some sort of train.

While I believe that this first point should be uncontroversial, perhaps the second point is less so: that fast kicking for the kicking exercises is of importance.
I've read about that at various places. Otherwise it's hard to develop the feeling. And you need to take your times in order to see whether you do progress (and what helps more), and for that perhaps slow kicking is very unreliable, perhaps more so than normal swimming. I'm here on a Greek island with a beach club on holiday, and on that occasions I always take a swimming instructor as a coach, taking my times and pushing me; yesterday he took some times for kicking (streamlined, with snorkel), and first I did it relaxed, then good speed, over 50m (can't do full speed over 50m with the snorkel, the oxygen debt kills me the last 10m or so). With full stroke I'm rather good at setting and estimating my speed, but not so for kicking: for the slow one I was slower than expected (wanted to do 60 sec-ish, did 72 sec), and for the fast one I was faster than expected (wanted to do high 50, did 51 sec). Just an example showing that it seems to be not easy to gauge your kicking.


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