Turbo Backstroke: It's All in the Kick

I love the backstroke. It is the perfect stroke for when I can’t find my goggles. It’s nice that I’m not actually required to put my face in the water, too. It makes breathing very accessible and convenient.

backstroke swimming

Photo by Terren

We usually focus a lot on the arms because that’s where most of the momentum is achieved. For a change, we are going to focus on the kick. It will make a huge difference in speed. You’ll have a turbo backstroke.

toe Extension

Let’s really work on your kicking form!
Every little detail makes a difference. First of all, keep your toes extended throughout the entire kick. From your tibia, to your ankle, to the tips of your toes, there should be a straight line.
Your foot will resemble the shape of a small flipper and it should act like one too (mainly straight but relaxed).
This will add greater propulsion, especially on the downward portion of the kick.

karate-kick-clip-art_419307Origin of movement

Many of us are inclined to start kicking from the knee. After all, the knee plays a more active role when kicking a soccer ball or anything on the ground. But in the pool, the kick is much different.
Movement should begin at the hips, not the knees. And the legs are supposed to be fairly straight but also relaxed. You don’t want too much bend in the legs.

Cup Exercise

This exercise will help you determine how well your kick is developing. You will be able to detect irregularities in posture and timing with this test.
cupBegin by entering the pool and getting into proper formation with your head tilted back. Put a plastic cup on your forehead. “Begin kicking on your back, arms down, hands together over top of your body. Practice keeping your kicks tight and consistent with proper body rotation while maintaining a stable cup on your forehead. With a proper rotation and kick, the cup will remain in place.”

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I like to finish off my swim training with a few cool down laps while listening to some of my favorite songs. Grab an Underwater Audio Waterproof iPod Shuffle here so you can listen to music while you swim too.
Do you have any suggestions on how to improve your backstroke kick?
If so, leave us a suggestion in the comment section below.

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