Sunday, 11 January 2009

kickin' a

i am ramping up my tri-training, as you my have noticed . . . i need to really focused on my cycling, but it is so hard in winter. when it is cold, i struggle to be consistent getting out on my saddle. of course, i ride my commuter bike all over, but i am not on real bike much. in the meantime i am working on running and swimming.

i found these swim drills recently and i am super excited about them. i was reading an old article about swim technique that highlighted the importance of kicking. i have been focusing almost entirely on pulling so this was kinda a paradigm shift for me.

apparently a good strong kick will help keep your body position more hydrodynamic. it also turns out that kicking is a core strengthening exercise, when it is done right (think of pulling your bellybutton up to your spin a bit). when you kick with your core you are even MORE hydrodynamic. who knew?

(if you really must know, your iliopsoas gets ridiculously strong from lots of good kicking. but be careful to take care of your core . . . "Overdeveloped and tight hip flexors can contribute to lower back pain by causing the pelvis to tilt forward. To counteract this, you must stretch the hip flexors and strengthen the Abdominal muscles. This will reduce pelvic tilt and decrease lower back pain. Strengthening the lower back can also help improve the balance between the muscles of the hip region."

i have thought for years that during a triathlon i want to pull more than kick because i will be using so much of my legs on the bike and run, but i am wondering if that is a little narrow-minded. i don't want to do my swims with all out kicks, but the laissez faire of my legs during my tri-swims is pretty pathetic. i am wondering if amping up my strength (mostly core) and kicking with purpose, though not like a porpoise, will make me more efficient (hydrodynamic) and get me out of the water quicker? i am going to work on it and see . . .

this is a basic swim workout for me these days:
  • a warm up. 5-10 minutes
  • then one of the kicking drills posted below.
  • then swimming drills. my swimming drills are focused on technique (body position, stroke, rotation, etc. ) i really really slowing down the whole movement. working on moving purposefully and actually improving my whole stroke (pull, kick, body position, rotation, etc) my goal right now is to swim more efficiently. i am not concerned with getting in heaps of mileage as much as getting tons of slow basic improvement. speed work will start up in a couple of months.
  • then another kicking drill
  • and possibly an "underwater". these are a drill i got from a coach years ago. you swim completely underwater for 25M then sprint your brains out for 25M then do the slowest most restorative 50M swim ever. this really helps improve your lung capacity and the efficient use of oxygen by your muscles.
  • then a cool down.
without further are the kicking drills... remember don't do them all in one workout.

• 100-meter repetitions (or 100 yards in a 25-yard pool). A good basic drill. Kick 100 meters at a speed as fast as you can maintain, rest for 20 seconds, then kick for another 100 meters. Try to keep your pace consistent. Do 10 repetitions or work your way up to 10.

• 25-meter sprints. Kick 25 meters (or yards) four times, going faster each time. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat, increasing your tempo with each repetition. Aim to do the entire drill two to four times.

• Speed work. Kick as hard as possible for five minutes, rest for one minute; repeat two to four times.

• Continuous kicking. Kick nonstop for 20 minutes, alternating hard 25-meter sprints with slower 50-meter recovery swims.

1 comment:

MW said...

Dear Teabelly,

Making the paradigm shift to using more legs during your swim should yield very positive results. Compare the amount of muscle mass in the lower body to the upper body and you can imagine how much more force can be generated by a strong kick than even the best of pulls.

Working on swim technique is only half the battle, though. Remember that the body was designed to overcome the forces of gravity, and that's how muscles develop. If you really want to develop a strong kick, spend some time strength training on land.

Stretching the hip flexors and developing the core can be enhanced even further by developing the glutes and hamstrings. The combination of strong posterior muscles and flexible hip flexors will help counteract the dysfunction of an anterior pelvic tilt.

Happy Swimming!