It is time to train your legs!
In our previous articles we saw that a good kick is not just vital for sprinters but also for swimmers training for long-distance races.
In this article we will give you three rules to follow to improve your leg kick and three types of training for your legs to be incorporated in your weekly training plan in the water.
Rule number 1
Perform leg drills right through the season.
During the first part of your training, leg work may even be as much as 70% of your total training volume in any single session. As the season progresses, most of your training volume will be devoted to other types of work, but do not forget to include some leg drills in your training sessions.
If you plan to train four times a week in the water, one session should be entirely devoted to leg training. Two other training sessions should include some specific sets (speed or speed endurance) to leg training, so that your body gets used to the proper mechanics of a powerful leg kick.
Rule number 2
The best way to learn the proper leg kick movement in the water is to use fins and a snorkel. Together these two training aids will allow you to keep your body properly aligned, improve your head position and, hence, also the position of your hips and knees.
Here’s a useful tip: do not overuse these two training aids because, firstly, they can become addictive and, secondly, remember you cannot use them in races.
So use them at the beginning of the season to learn the proper leg kick movement and proper body position in the water. After that, try not to use them for more than 20%-30% of your total training volume.
Rule number 3
As we have already seen in previous articles, it is important to train your legs out of the water, too.
There are two ways of doing this.
The first is to work on your strength by performing specific exercises and also on your core. This will allow you to increase your power and enhance your stability in the water.
The second – to be done in conjunction with the first – is to improve the elasticity of your ankles, in order to be able to work harder with your ankles and, hence, develop a more effective leg kick.
We recommend the following drills:
Legs set #1 – endurance with main set using your legs:
– Warm-up 400m (200 swimming how you like + 200 working on your technique);
– Pre-set 5x100m with fins, snorkel and board with 20” recovery;
– Main-set legs: 2x800m with 30” recovery
- #1 fins + board (50 steady + 50 hard)
- #2 only fins on your back (25 hard + 50 steady)
– 200 with good technique;
– 30 minutes of exercises working on the elasticity of your ankles.
Legs set #2 – leg speed:
– After warming up properly and completing the main set, perform this set for speed and speed endurance;
– 10×50m hard with fins with30” recovery;
– 200 easy;
– 20×25 m hard without fins with 15” recovery (alternating 1x freestyle legs 1x butterfly legs).
Legs set #3 – drills with fins and a snorkel:
After warming up and before the main work out, perform these drills with fins and a snorkel;
– 6 x 30” vertical legs with fins controlling your leg kick motion with 45” recovery;
– 200 easy;
– 10 x 50 with fins and a snorkel without a board in a streamlined position, carefully controlling the position of your head and hips.