One effective way to enhance your freestyle (flutter) kicking is by combining and creating quality time vertical kicking in your training. Perhaps due to ignorance or lack of know-how, many swimmers often neglect kicking, causing them to swim slower.
So why do you need vertical kicking? Vertical kicking helps you build efficient kicks to generate the maximum power possible from a single kick. Imagine that you have fast, powerful kicks without compromising your balance.
If you are still curious about vertical kicking and its effect on your performance, you should read my article carefully. This article also discusses in detail how you can develop strong kicks via vertical kicking.
Table of Contents
- What Is Vertical Kicking in Swimming?
- 5 Benefits of Vertical Kicking to Your Swimming Performance
- How Do You Kick From Your Hips When Swimming?
What Is Vertical Kicking in Swimming?
Vertical kicking in swimming isn’t really a swimming technique. It is a special drill where you maintain a vertical position in the water while kicking your legs. Yes, it is opposite the usual mode of lying on your chest or back.
It may appear simple or awkward, but it does a great deal in keeping your kicking in the best form. In this swimming drill, you are expected to keep your entire head above the water surface.
In the process of battling (kicking) to stay afloat, you improve your kicking. It is a fact that this process can be tiring; hence, you are expected to take short breaks or work with intervals.
Performing vertical kicking near the pool wall is safer as it allows you to exit the pool easily when exhausted. For beginners, having a good knowledge of how to float on water and a coach is ideal.
5 Benefits of Vertical Kicking to Your Swimming Performance
Perhaps you are worried about stress, but the benefits of vertical kicking outweigh the stress associated. It won’t take long to improve your kicking with this quick-result drill. Therefore, if you are looking for benefits, I have some motivation here for you.
1. Improves Your Focus and Allows You to Kick From Your Body’s Core
If you are one of those swimmers that develop leg fatigue easily, you should practice vertical kicking more frequently. Often, swimmers develop more fatigue if they do not kick from their hip and core.
Some weeks of vertical kicking can help you correct this. Vertical kicking also allows swimmers that struggle to execute the scissors kicks. Those moments trying to stay afloat improves your focus and enables you to kick correctly.
2. Enhances Your Kicking Power
Considering the huge water resistance against your legs and the vertical position, vertical kicking also enhances your kicking power. This resistance is smaller compared to when you lie on the water.
The intensity (timing) of your kick also plays a key role in your kicking power. You may hasten your development by including weights, keeping your arms crossed, or placing your hands on your sides.
3. Enhances Your Kicking Power Enhances Your Kicking Power
With vertical kicking, you can retain the same position as you improve kicking. You have no choice but to keep kicking to stay afloat. Therefore, you can practice different kick timing and develop a well-balanced rhythm.
4. Improves Your Upkick or Downkick
Like other kicking drills, vertical kicking allows you to practice your kicking technique fully. Interestingly, you can work on your upkick or downkick (backstroke) while recovery or taking training breaks.
Even if you haven’t fully perfected your body movement and balance, you can still perform vertical kicking. However, you should know how to float on water properly.
5. Kickboards Are Not Necessary
If you do not want to use a kickboard, vertical kicking might be a better option to develop your kicks. Furthermore, vertical kicking is recommended for swimmers who suffer from the terrible swimmer’s shoulder ailment.
With vertical kicking, you do not need kickboards; hence, you can remove pressure from your shoulder.
How to Execute Vertical Kicking?
Now, you know more about vertical kicking and the benefits associated with it. On paper, vertical kicking appears to be a simple procedure, although it isn’t, and there are a few variations.
This section aims to provide directions on how to execute vertical kicking correctly. Grab a position in the pool beside the wall and perform any of the following procedures.
It is important to note that this is a drill, and you are not expected to become perfect in a day. Therefore, it would be best to work with a routine and take breaks during each session when necessary.
1. Variation One
It is advisable to use a pool that you often visit and know its dimensions. If you know its dimensions, find a position that appears deeper compared to your height. You can wear a watch to monitor your development.
- Do not move too close to the wall so you can have enough space to work with.
- Using your two arms for balance, position your body to maintain an upright position.
- Gradually, raise your hands far above the water surface while using your flutter kicks to sustain your body position. In the course of this drill, your head must remain above the water.
- You should attempt to flutter kick for some seconds. It is advisable that you start slowly and also put breaks (rest) in between. For instance, a 15-second kicking should be followed by a 30-second rest.
2. Variation Two
This variation requires you to make use of accessories while executing the vertical kicking. These accessories provide more resistance than subsequently improves your kicking power.
- Put on your swim fins or DragSox
- Move into the water, but ensure that you are closer to the pool wall.
- Maintain a very upright position while raising your hands above the water surface.
- Kick gradually with your flexible knees and pointed toes.
- You will experience much resistance in your legs, but that is the essence of the exercises – to build a higher kicking power.
- Like other drills, it is advisable to kick slowly at first. Also, it is best to maintain a smaller kicking session during the early stages. A 30-sec session plus an interval of 20-sec is preferable.
3. Variation Three
In this variation, you are going to be kicking with one leg. This may seem not easy, but you should do just fine once you get your balance right.
- Start by kicking with your most preferred leg.
- Remember to kick from your hips with your knees well flexed and toes pointed out.
- Unlike in variation, raise the hand opposite to the active leg far above the water.
- You are more likely to become fatigued since you need to focus on balance. Hence, it is best to perform this drill for 45 seconds. Afterward, take a rest of 20seconds or more before going again
How Do You Kick From Your Hips When Swimming?
Swimmers, especially beginners, often make the mistake of kicking from their knees. However, kicking your legs from any place besides your hips is more like a waste of energy. In fact, you can even constitute unwanted drag for yourself.
You are more likely to develop fatigue faster even before reaching the middle lap of your race. In training, you might have to take longer to recover after swimming. Therefore, you need to ensure flexible hips, knees, ankles, and toes.
Truly, some swimmers have problems with developing strong flexible legs, hence, the reason for kicking from their knees. Notwithstanding, your flexibility can be greatly improved if you combine some useful drills with your training sessions.
Engage your core muscles to move (kick) your hips back and forth with little knee flex while your ankles and toes are pointed out. Vertical kicking is a good and fast drill to learn how to kick from your hips.
Another essential thing to note is that you must fully understand your swimming technique to know how to kick properly. Remember, the goal is to improve your kicking efficiency to complement your arm movement for better swimming performance.
Vertical kicking is a popular drill targeted at helping swimmers develop fast, powerful kicks and higher swimming speeds. Without a doubt, an efficient kicking technique can be the only edge a swimmer needs over rival swimmers.
As with other swimming drills, caution plays a crucial part. You do not want to develop unnecessary fatigue and avoidable injuries. Therefore, you should include this drill properly into your routine while including resting intervals.
Now, you understand what vertical kicking is and how it can benefit your swimming performance is properly applied. It is advisable to incorporate this properly into your swimming routine to avoid fatigue and unwanted injuries.
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