Archives for posts with tag: kick

It is time for our second set of time trials this Winter.  Normally for these second set of time trials we would have started some speed work during January but I’ve delayed the start of speed work this year to give us more time on technique – mainly on the breathing and kick.  So this set of time trials is the ideal one to really focus on making it technically as good as possible and seeing what that does for your time, stroke length and stroke count.

I am a firm believer in only focusing on one thing at a time so suggest thinking about just one key thing per length, such as:

  • Good early vertical forearm on the first length
  • Quick breathing on the second length
  • Good legs on the third (continuous but not too fast or too much effort)
  • Fast turns with good streamlining on the fourth
  • Repeat 4 times to complete the 400

See you Saturday!

Rob

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Well done for all of you efforts last week with the quicker breathing.  I saw some excellent improvements in stroke tempo and heard that some of you also felt the increase in power in the stroke.  This week we will be doing a little bit more on the quicker breathing as well as done some work on the legs.  Using your legs well has a similar benefit to good breathing and really helps with the rythm of your stroke (as well as removing the brakes if your kick is poor and affecting your body position).

In the kick set this week I’d like you to think about the following:

  • When kicking try and keep your legs straight, with toes pointed, and kick from the hips. Your knees will naturally flex a bit when you do this but you should resist letting this happen as it almost always results in excessive bending of the knee which just increases drag and slows you down.
  • A great way to check your legs is when kicking on your back without a float, but always remember:
    • Never, ever, kick on your back with your arms by your sides – always keep your arms above your head in a streamlined position
    • Keep your knees under the water at all time – the only part of your legs to break the surface should be your feet
  • When doing full stroke your legs set the tempo for your arms. Hence, a great way to avoid over-reaching on your pull is to focus on keeping a steady tempo with your legs which will make it impossible to pause on your arms stroke.  A pause in your arm stroke is almost always accompanied by a pause in your leg kick.

We will also be doing some sprints at the end of the session this week and this is another great opportunity to work on your legs.  Again, the legs set the tempo for your stroke so focusing on a really fast, hard leg kick will naturally increase your stroke rate without you feeling the need to rip your arms through the water and start slipping water.

See you Saturday!

Rob

I will be away this week and Chrissie has very kindly offered to coach the second session while I am away.  We will be following a similar structure to the last couple of weeks with a pull set followed by a technique set and finishing with a mainly aerobic-based main set.

The technique set is moving beyond the sideline kick from the last two weeks into both Unco and Reverse Catch-up.  This means there is more to think about with both arms and legs moving at the same time.  The focus is the same, though, and I’d like you to think about high-elbow catch and pushing straight backwards (no cross-over under your body) as you use your strong core-driven rotation to finish each stroke.

The main set includes a little bit of kick and faster-paced swimming alongside the majority of steady-paced work.  Use the kick to focus on a strong core-driven kick from your buttocks.  For the faster-paced sections focus on getting a maximum speed for minimum effort (which you will get by keeping your high-elbow catch and strong core-driven rotation).

Have a good session and see you next week!

Rob

Last week we did the Brownlee set of 100s, inspired by Jonny Brownlee’s performance in Rotterdam.  This week we are being inspired by Jess Learmonth who had a fantastic performance in the womens’ elite race.

Image result for jess learmonth itu grand final

She’s one of the fastest swimmers on the ITU circuit today so this week our main set will be based on one of her favourites.  The set consists of some good paced 100s and 50s with some steadier paced kick in between, both with and without a kick board.  Kick is a great way to work on your core so I hope you enjoy trying out this new set.

We are back to the usual swim times this week with the 8am session finishing at 9:15am.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Now it is December we will be doing some work on the leg kick to complete the work on body position and pull that we’ve been doing the last two months.  I’ve saved legs till last as they are less important for good swimming in triathlon than the pull and body position that we have been focusing most of our time on so far.  However, legs contribute about 10% to your overall propulsion, which is worth having, and having a poor leg kick will actually increase drag and mean you have to work much harder than necessary.  It is also really important for stroke tempo and reducing over-gliding.

We will be doing some kick this week as well as a usual longer aerobic main set on full stroke.  In these sets I’d like you to think about the following:

  • When kicking try and keep your legs straight, with toes pointed, and kick from the hips. Your knees will naturally flex a bit when you do this but you should resist letting this happen as it almost always results in excessive bending of the knee which just increases drag and slows you down.
  • A great way to check your legs is when kicking on your back without a float, but always remember:
    • Never, ever, kick on your back with your arms by your sides – always keep your arms above your head in a streamlined position
    • Keep your knees under the water at all time – the only part of your legs to break the surface should be your feet
  • When doing full stroke your legs set the tempo for your arms. Hence, a great way to avoid over-reaching on your pull is to focus on keeping a steady tempo with your legs which will make it impossible to pause on your arms stroke.  A pause in your arm stroke is almost always accompanied by a pause in your leg kick.

We will also be doing some sprints at the end of the session this week and this is another great opportunity to work on your legs.  Again, the legs set the tempo for your stroke so focusing on a really fast, hard leg kick will naturally increase your stroke rate without you feeling the need to rip your arms through the water and start slipping water.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Seeing Joe Friel’s article in 220 Triathlon magazine this week reminded me of one of the easiest ways to improve your swim – staying nice and flat in the water.  I know some of you like to use special floaty shorts, a pull buoy or wetsuit to help with this but these are not always possible in races – like the pool swim at Newmarket last weekend – so the best way is to practise getting it right without any artificial aids during pool training.

Many of us could improve our body position, across all the lanes.  Joe Friel has some good tips in his article and my suggestion to add to his comments are as follows:

1. Head position is the most important thing to get right.  It should be in a neutral position so you should be looking straight down at the bottom of the pool.  Most of us can do this when we start swimming and the time it goes wrong is when breathing.  The most common thing I see is people lifting and twisting their head at the same time when they breathe.  Instead, practice sneaky breathing where you only turn your neck sideways and breathe into your shoulder.  Try and make it look like your mouth is not above the surface of the water by using the bow-wave you get near your shoulder.  If you swim too close to the person in front you will find this difficult as you will be spending too much time trying to look forward and watch their feet, so leave a gap!

2.  Legs are the next priority in my view.  Whilst we want to conserve energy and not kick too hard in the swim most people I see on Saturdays kick too little so that either it affects their body position, hence their legs sink, or it reduces their streamlining by being too lazy and wide.  For most of us a good steady kick will yield more benefits from improved streamlining and body position than will be lost by increased tiredness from the legs.

This week the main set will consist of increasing pace 300, 200 and 100m swims.  Try and think about perfect body position using your head and legs on these swims and especially kicking faster as you pick up the pace.

See you Saturday!

Rob

I will be away this week and Chrissie has kindly offered to coach on Saturday instead.  It will be my session though (sorry!) and this week I would like you to focus on your legs.

Legs are not something we do a lot of work on as they are less important for distance swimming than good arms and body position, especially when you have a wetsuit to help keep them afloat.  However, they do play an important role in stroke timing and rhythm so are especially useful to think about when we start to try and pick up the pace leading into race season.

I think your legs are a great way to ensure an even stroke tempo and increase your stroke rate without rushing the pull and slipping water.  If you have a constant leg-kick, without pauses, then you will naturally have a constant arm-stroke without any pauses, too, as your arms and legs need to stay in sync.  So if you have any pauses in your stroke then thinking about keeping your legs moving continuously can, somewhat counter-intuitively, help correct this and keep your arms moving continuously.

Also, if you want to increase your stroke rate a great way to do it is to kick faster, as your arms will naturally speed up to stay in sync.  You don’t want to kick fast the whole time, though, as it is too tiring but kicking hard at the start of a race, or even the first few strokes on each length, is often a good way to start with a nice high stroke rate.  This higher stroke rate is often easier to maintain once started, even when you put less effort in with your legs and drop back to a sustainable pace.

This week you will have three opportunities to work on your legs.

  • There will be some kick in the warm-up, where you should focus on kicking with straight legs and pointed toes.  Backstroke legs is great for this – make sure your knees stay in the water.  Many of you are very poor at this so please think about it!
  • The main set has some progressively-paced swims.  Use an increased leg speed to set the tempo for your arms as you increase the pace in this set.
  • The final set this week is 25m sprints.  A fast and powerful leg kick is a key part of sprinting so please, please, please don’t do these like I normally see most of you do with a hardly visible leg kick.  Make your leg kick look like you have an outboard motor attached to you and use this to blow away the person you are racing in your lane!

Have fun and see you next week.

Rob

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