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When I Use My Arms In The Front Crawl My Feet Stop Kicking

When I use my arms in the front crawl my feet stop kicking.

Thanks for getting in touch. Your problem is a common one and it is a question of coordination.

The timing of front crawl arms and legs varies from person to person, depending on the distance to be swum.

There should be 6 legs kicks for each arm cycle (2 arm pulls). A slower leg kick, using 4 kicks per arm cycle can be used and that can be reduced right down to one kick per arm pull. In the case of this ‘one beat cycle’ the leg kick provides very little propulsion and just kicks to balance the arm pulls. This pattern is used a lot by long distance swimmers to save energy.

However, if your legs stop kicking completely then that is a completely different matter!

Taking into account the different timing patterns I’ve mentioned so far, you should aim for a ‘one beat cycle’, and try to get your leg kicks to balance your arm pulls, rather than trying to get your legs to kick faster than your arms.

As your problem is coordination related, trying to get your legs to kick faster than your arms pull will only make matters worse and become even more frustrating.

front crawl technique timing

Start by holding a couple of floats under your arms and kicking your legs at a steady speed. ‘Ok, I can do that easily’ I hear you say. Then take one float away. Hold one float in one hand and again begin to kick your legs. Steady speed, face down in the water. Then start to pull with the arm thats not holding the float. A slow steady arm pull and maintain your leg kick.

The act of only using one arm can sometimes help to maintain some focus on your legs and help to keep them kicking. If you find they are still stopping, try to kick once in time your arm pull.

Performing one kick in time with one arm pull should be easier than trying to maintain a quicker leg kick constantly.

Keep practising until your legs kick once in time with your arm pull. Change arms and try the other side. Once you get the hang of it, try the full stroke without and floats. Both arms with alternating pulls and your legs kicking at the same time as the opposite arm pulls. In other words, right arm pulls, left leg kicks one kick and so on.

This arm pull and leg kick pattern is a perfectly acceptable way of swimming front crawl and if you practice it in slow motion at first you will soon find it becoming second nature.

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The Front Crawl Book

learn front crawl technique

  • learn to breathe
  • use less energy
  • swim smoothly

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