There are a number of reasons why proper swimming techniques are essential, and one of them is that it helps you maximize your power while minimizing your energy expenditure. In other words, it lets you swim as fast as possible for as long as possible.
While more of your propulsion through the water is generated by arm strokes, your kicks are of course also important to swimming as quickly and energy-efficiently as possible. So, use the following tips for a strong freestyle kick to help you improve your freestyle swim with more power and less energy burn.
Boosting Your Freestyle Kick Power
- Relax your ankles and point your toes out away from your body. The more you train yourself to do both of these things, the more powerful your freestyle kick will become. This increases the surface area of your feet that’s pushing against the water to generate propulsion.
- Generate your kicks from your core and hips, and let them progress down your leg like a wave to your knees and feet. Don’t start your kicks at the knees, which you’re more likely to do if your knees are bent more than about 120 degrees (comparable to how much they bend while you’re walking at a normal pace). And as a side note, doing exercises to build core strength will help you develop more powerful freestyle kicks.
- Bend at the knees enough that your heels go out of the water on each upkick. You don’t need your whole foot to exit the water—just your heels to about halfway down the arch of your foot (and your toes might break the surface too if your feet are well flexed). By being deliberate about this, you help prevent yourself from kicking too much from the hips and interfering with the desirable flick of your feet that comes with proper kick from bent knees.
- Extend your downkicks enough that they terminate in front of your body, closer the the bottom of the pool. This forces you to engage your quadriceps more, generating more power. If your legs aren’t reaching enough to end your kicks beneath your body, you’re definitely sacrificing significant power in your freestyle kicks.