Swim Kick Sets You Won’t Hate

Photo: John David Becker

If the words “kick set” instill frustration, put the kickboard away and try one of these different methods.

Many triathletes have a hard time with the ankle flexibility and body positioning required to kick successfully with a kick board. Instead of continuing to struggle, try these four different methods of kicking that don’t require a board. Mix it up with some new kick sets that are fun and purposeful.

Kick on your back. The flutter kick can be practiced on your back with your hands at your sides. Breathing is much easier with your face to the sky. Many find it easier to practice kicking this way over using a kickboard. Try 6×25 kick with 30 seconds rest.

Put on fins. The added resistance of fins will strengthen your kicking muscles. They also allow you to move through the water faster, completing a set quicker or even completing more yards. Try a 500 with fins alternating kicking and swimming every 50.

Go Vertical. Head to the deep end of the pool and kick vertically to keep your head above the water. Keep your fingers out of the water to prevent using your arms for lift. Nothing motivates good kicking like needing to breathe! Try kicking for 30 seconds then resting on the wall for 30. Repeat five times.

Wear a Snorkel. If you are uncomfortable kicking on a board, try kicking on your stomach with your arms at your sides while breathing through a snorkel. The snorkel will allow you to breathe when you need to without lifting your head or pausing for air. Keep your body horizontal along the surface of the water as your feet make a slight splash at the surface.

RELATED: Are Kicking Sets That Important?

Add in one of these kick sets to your next swim workout

– 4x(50 kick for time, 100 recovery swim)
Goal is to improve 50 kick time

– 6×75 kick (25 easy/25 medium/25 hard) on an interval with 15 seconds rest

– 3×100 hard kick/300 strong swim with 30 seconds rest after 300
This mimics the heart rate spike at the start of a race.

 RELATED: How Strong Is Your Swim Kick?