I am kicking when swimming, and I think I never bend my knees enough. What is the correct movement required?
This depends on which leg kick or swimming stroke you are learning.
For freestyle or front crawl leg kick (a simultaneous up and down kick), the knees bend slightly to give the legs a relaxed kicking action.
If they are rigid and straight, the leg kick is robotic and will lack any power or propulsion. In other words, a straight and tense leg kick will result in you not moving very far through the water! Full details of this type of leg kick are available by clicking here.
Regarding breaststroke, the knees are required to bend as the heels are drawn up before they drive the water in a circular whip action around and back.
This gives the whole stroke its power and momentum. Full details of this type of leg kick are available by clicking here.
My ebook The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming contains all the technique tips for learning to swim the four basic strokes, including specific leg kicking exercises. Click the link below for more information.
I have a problem that when I swim, I can’t swim using my arms and legs simultaneously. I can’t balance both at the same time, and I run out of breath quickly.
What do you think is the problem, and what can I do to change these problems?
Sounds to me like your problem is with your coordination rather than your swimming ability.
If the timing and coordination of your arms and legs are not correct, then your swimming stroke will be inefficient, which will result in you running out of breath quickly.
The coordination from one individual to another can be very different and as a result, one can favour one swimming stroke over another. In other words, the timing and coordination of breaststroke are very different from that of front crawl. As you have not specified which swimming stroke you are attempting to swim, I shall explain both.
Front crawl is an alternating stroke, in which, as the description suggests, as one leg kicks up the other kicks down. As one arm pulls, the other recovers over the water. Therefore the legs alternate and the arms alternate.
Some people find this type of coordination easy, whereas others find it quite challenging.
A good exercise to practice to help break down the coordination is ‘catch up'. Hold a float or kickboard in front with both hands and kick the front crawl leg kick. Then add an arm pull, one at a time, where each hand takes hold of the float after each pull before the next arm pull begins. One arm is not allowed to pull until the other catches up, hence the name ‘catch up’.
This exercise will break down the arm and leg movements and allow your brain to process them. The more you practice them, the more they will become second nature.
Breaststroke is a simultaneous stroke where both arms pull at the same time and both legs also kick together at the same time. Although the arms and legs do not pull and kick simultaneously, their action individually is simultaneous.
The timing and coordination for breaststroke are separate arms pull and leg kick movements. The key is to kick and then pull, and some people find this type of coordination easier than front crawl.
My ebook The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming contains all the technique tips for learning to swim the four basic strokes, including exercises to help with coordinating the arm pulls and leg kicks. Click the link below for more information.