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Weekend Swim Workout: Kickboard Drills

We feature a workout every Friday so you have new ideas to take to the pool.

It’s likely that at some point, you’ve heard that triathletes shouldn’t worry too much about their swim kick, because they need to “save” their legs for the bike and run. That couldn’t be further from the truth – as coach Gary Hall notes, using your legs more for the swim does not necessarily mean you are wearing them out for the bike or run. In fact, if you build a stronger kick, you’ll have a faster swim with less fatigue, which will set you up for a great bike and run. Grab your kickboard and head to the pool for this challenging, but fun set from coach Sara McLarty. There’s enough in this workout to build a stronger kick, but not so much that you’ll be feeling wrecked for your long bike and run sessions.

A:
900 warm-up (3×200 swim/100 kick)
4×300 on 4:30 (100 free/100 IM/100 free)
8×200 pull on 3:00 (descend time 1–4, 5–8)
4×50 kick on 1:10 (25 Tombstone/25 easy)
4×50 drill on :60 (Catch-up With Stick or Kickboard)
4×50 swim on :50 FAST! (start 2 yards off wall)
200 cool-down
*4,500 Total*

RELATED: Are Kicking Sets That Important?

B:
900 warm-up (3×200 swim/100 kick)
3×300 on 6:00 (2×100 free/50 non-free)
6×150 pull on 3:00 (descend time 1–3, 4–6)
4×50 kick on 1:20 (25 Tombstone/25 easy)
4×50 drill on 1:10 (Catch-up With Stick or Kickboard)
4×50 swim on :60 FAST! (start 2 yards off wall)
200 cool-down
*3,500 Total*

RELATED: How Strong is Your Swim Kick?

C:
600 warm-up (2×200 swim/100 kick)
3×300 with 30 sec rest (2×100 free/50 non-free)
4×150 pull with 20 sec rest (descend time 1–4)
8×50 with 10 sec rest (descend stroke count 1–4, 5–8)
100 cool-down
*2,600 Total*

Kickboard Drills for Triathletes

Catch-up With Stick: As you take a stroke with your right arm, keep your left arm extended forward in the water, holding on to a sideways kickboard or stick. Complete the stroke with your right arm and after it enters the water above your head, tap your left hand. This signals the start of the stroke with your left arm. Repeat on other side.

Tombstone: Hold a kickboard upright in the water and push it forward. The more of the board you hold under the water, the harder this drill is.

RELATED: The Four Functions of Your Swim Kick