Tempo Trainer Use #2 – Building a Steady, Rhythmic Kick

We use Finis’ Tempo Trainer training tool quite a bit in our swim practices. This post is a second part of how to use the Tempo Trainers to work on your kick in swim practice.

One way that you can use it is to work on the tempo of your flutter kick. Many swimmers kick faster than their upper body and core, slower than their upper body and core, start and stop their kicks, or kick at random tempos. Just like we want the upper body and core to move to a steady beat, we also want the legs to move at a steady beat. Rotation suffers and the kick starts to splay when the tempo changes. It will help if you know what your upper body and core tempo is. If you don’t know, we’ll suggest a beat and you can go from there.

If you know the tempo from your swimming, take that number and divide it by three to set the Tempo Trainer for a steady kick; if you don’t know what your arm tempo is, start with 0:33 to 0:38 and that will probably get you into the right neighborhood. That will give you three kicks per arm-stroke or six kicks per arm cycle (two strokes). In swimming parlance, that’s a six-beat kick. Do you drills and do some swimming with the tempo set for your kick. It might be faster than what you normally do, but relax into the tempo. As I tell my swimmers, don’t try to make every kick an A+. Make them a bunch of relaxed B kicks that flow to the tempo. If you are changing tempos or stopping your kick, you’ll feel it immediately. Work on feeling that timing with the arm strokes. Odds are, you’ll feel less splaying in the kicks and better integration with the core. Go back to your original swimming tempo (probably 1:00 to 1:15) and hold onto that steady kick feel as you now time your stroke to the arms. Whether you think of the stroke from the arms or from the legs, you are working with the same tempo.

For the truly committed, you can practice kicking your opposite (lower) leg in the direction of the hip rotation as arm enters the water. Coach Emmett Hines did a great set of articles on kick integration in his “Bottom Up Swimming” articles. You can find them at his site www.h2oustonswims.org. Go to the Articles page and scroll down to the B’s. This post talks about a six beat kick, or three kicks per stroke. Coach Hines also talks about doing a two-beat kick or one rotational kick with each arm entry. It’s the same principle, just fewer kicks.

You can pick up a Tempo Trainer at our swim gear site. Go to High Point Swim (http://www.highpointswim.com). Login with CBD as the Team Username and CBD as the Team Password. After logging in, you’ll click on the link “Click Here to go to Chicago Blue Dolphins Products.” You’ll find the Tempo Trainer at the top of the list. Buy it and use it in your training.

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