FORM Fundamentals: How to Improve Your Swimming Kick

FORM Fundamentals: How to Improve Your Swimming Kick

Welcome to FORM Fundamentals week three! This week is all about kicking. A proper kick for swimming helps to stabilize your body, propels you forwards, and allows you to swim more efficiently.

Kicking requires just as much attention as your arm pull. A steady, narrow kick will make swimming more effortless and will help you have a more balanced stroke. Watch the video below to learn the tips and tricks that will help you improve your kick.

The Keys to Freestyle Kicking

When kicking, some common mistakes are kicking too much, kicking too big, and kicking from your knees. The goal is to be somewhere in the middle by maintaining a steady, narrow kick—kind of like a swimming version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If your kick is too big, your body will be out of alignment and you’ll tire yourself out pretty quickly. If your kick is too slow, your legs will sink and your body won’t be properly aligned.

As you swim through this week’s workouts, focus on these three things that will help you improve your kick:

1. Start your kick from your core and hips

To maintain a steady kick, make sure you’re kicking from your core and hips—not your knees.

2. Kick narrowly with a slight knee bend

Keep your kick narrow to generate more propulsion while maintaining and balanced body position. As you kick, keep your knees slightly bent, your ankles relaxed, and your toes slightly pointed.

3. Kick near the surface with relaxed ankles

Try to kick close to the surface with loose ankles and your heels slightly breaking the surface. This will help you maintain great body alignment and reduce resistance.

kicking image

This Week’s Workouts

After working on your body position and breathing, you’ve set yourself up to dive into a week of focusing on your kick. Drills that will help you practice a steady, narrow kick are 6 kick switch and simply kicking with a kickboard—both are featured in this week’s workouts. Watch this week’s video to see how to properly swim these drills. If you have a FORM membership, you can also watch drill videos in the FORM Swim App.

Check out the workouts below, jump in, and swim!

FORM Fundamentals: Kicking #1 (Total: 1500m)

Let’s kick your swimming up a notch! Focusing on kicking from your core and hips—not from your knees. Keep your legs at the surface of the water and kick with loose ankles.

Warmup Set

1 x 100m freestyle easy on 20s rest
2 x 50m freestyle moderate on 15s rest
20s rest
1 x 100m freestyle moderate
45s rest

Main Set

4 x 50m kick easy on 15s rest (kickboard optional)
30s rest
3 x 100m freestyle moderate on 20s rest
30s rest
4 x 50m 6-kick switch drill moderate on 20s rest
30s rest
1 x 300m freestyle easy
45s rest

Warm Down Set

2 x 50m freestyle easy on 15s rest
2 x 50m choice easy on 15s rest (choose any stroke)

FORM Fundamentals: Kicking #2 (Total: 1500m)

Time to make your kick even more efficient. Keep a steady, narrow kick with a slight knee bend to propel yourself forwards.

Warmup Set

1 x 100m freestyle easy on 20s rest
2 x 50m freestyle moderate on 15s rest
20s rest
2 x 50m freestyle strong on 20s rest
45s rest

Main Set

1 x 100m kick easy on 30s rest (kickboard optional)
1 x 200m freestyle easy on 30s rest
4 x 50m kick moderate on 20s rest (kickboard optional)
30s rest
2 x 100m freestyle moderate on 20s rest
30s rest
4 x 50m kick strong on 30s rest (kickboard optional)
30s rest
4 x 50m freestyle strong on 30s rest

Warm Down Set

2 x 50m choice easy on 15s rest (choose any stroke)

FORM swimmers with a membership can upload this workout to their goggles from the FORM Fundamentals collection in the FORM Swim App. You can print out the workout if you don’t have a FORM membership or goggles. For a detailed breakdown of different efforts, read our article on understanding FORM’s Effort Levels.

With a steady, narrow kick, you’ll be able to stabilize your body, propel yourself forwards with less resistance, and have a more balanced stroke. Add that to the improvements you’ve already made to your body position and breathing and you’re well on your way to building a strong swimming foundation.