Is your breaststroke kick letting you down? Getting the frog kick action but still feel like you're not really getting anywhere?
The legs are the powerhouse of breaststroke and the complete leg kick should be a simultaneous and flowing action, resulting in a powerful boost that provides propulsion to the overall stroke.
Knees bend as the heels are drawn up towards the seat. At the same time, it is important for the legs to bend at the hips, effectively drawing the knees up under the body.
Feet and toes are turned out, exposing the surface area of the soles of the feet to the water, ready for them to drive the water backwards.
Turning the feet out and exposing the soles of the feet to the water gives a larger surface area from which to provide power for the kick than if the toes and feet remained pointed backwards.
The legs sweep outwards, around and slightly downwards in a flowing circular path, accelerating as they kick. The knees remains close together, inside the line of the hips as the heels and soles of the feet drive around and back to provide power and propulsion to the stroke. The legs and feet then return straight together with toes pointed, to assist in providing a streamlined body position.
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The feet cause most of the problems when it comes to kicking. Failure to turn the feet out will result in a lack of power and that feeling of going nowhere.
Failure to turn out both feet and only turning out one foot will result in something known as a screw kick. This is where one leg kicks correctly and the other swings around providing no propulsion at all.
The best exercise for correcting these common faults is to swim on your back (supine) with a woggle or noodle held under the arms for support. Then the swimmer is able to sit up slightly and watch their own leg kick as they perform it.
Kicking in slow motion at first making a conscious effort to turn out both feet and ensure both legs and feet are symmetrical is best before attempting to add power.