Swimming After Back Surgery

I am resuming swimming after back surgery, and I need to get the kicking going. Years ago, I was comfortable with my kick and my front crawl. Now at age 75, and after back surgery, I am resuming swimming.

Good to hear that you are resuming swimming after back surgery. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise and rehabilitation for back surgery, and front crawl is one of the safest strokes. It is also one of the most tiring!

Before you begin swimming, you must get the all-clear from your physician or back consultant.

The amount you can kick your legs will now be restricted due to the build-up of scar tissue and the general lack of flexibility from your surgery. It is important to build up slowly and maintain a comfortable tolerance level for your back.

The leg kick must have relaxed knee and ankle joints so that downbeat motion can provide some propulsion. Kicking whilst holding a float or kickboard will isolate your legs and make them work very hard. Swimming with fins on will help achieve a good relaxed action.

Keep in perspective why it is you are swimming front crawl. Is it for fitness reasons? Is it for rehabilitation? I'm guessing it is a combination of both. Whatever the reason, the leg kick for front crawl is not the most important thing here. Performing the whole stroke, arms, legs, and breathing will increase fitness and help rehabilitation. Remember that most propulsion for front crawl comes from the arm action, and long-distance endurance swimmers of front crawl do not use their legs at all for propulsion but only to balance the arm action.

One of my best-selling books How To Swim Front Crawl containpayments loads of exercises to help improve your technique and make your front crawl easier. It also contains some specific leg kick exercises. You can download it, print out the parts you need and take them to your pool to try out. Click the link below for more information.

Basic drills for learning how to swim front crawl
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