Developing an efficient freestyle leg kick can be broken down into various elements. In this article, we will try and focus on each of them, explaining how to train them so that you will become a more powerful swimmer.
Try to isolate just your leg kick for a moment.
Unlike a complete swim stroke that involves various other factors, when looking at the leg kick alone we need, first and foremost, to consider the resistance created by the body as its moves through in the water. In this case, it is vitally important for the swimmer’s body to be perfectly balanced, so as not to generate any additional resistance. This means the head must be perfectly aligned with the shoulders, which, together with the hands and heels (the four buoyancy points), must be kept at the surface of the water.
Try using a snorkel to improve this aspect. It will allow you to concentrate on and improve your upper body position.
In the water: use a snorkel and concentrate on keeping your head in the right position. Try changing your angle of vision while swimming. Try swimming 25 m with an angle of vision of 45° and 25 m looking down at the blue line at an angle of 90°. Make sure you do not create any additional resistance to that generated by your body as it moves forward and check that the four buoyancy points referred to above are at surface level throughout the exercise.
Continuing to isolate just your leg kick, another key factor is the forward drive through the water coming from your legs. The most important part of the leg kick is when your leg moves downwards. At this point you need to thrust your leg downwards making sure you do not bend your knees or allow your feet to surface. Another important part of this movement is ankle flexibility.
Here are some simple exercises to help you improve your ankle flexibility.
Lastly, here are three fundamental rules for developing an efficient leg kick:
1. Incorporate leg exercises right through the season. Of course, the amount of legwork you do will vary throughout the year, but never forget to train your legs.
2. Use a snorkel and work on your ankle flexibility as described above.
3. Also train your legs out of the water, performing specific exercises to concentrate on both flexibility and power.
All this will help you improve your forward drive and, hence, generate a more efficient leg kick.