Sign up ×
Sports Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for participants in team and individual sport activities. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In training, I really struggle with front/back crawl or fly kick exercises.

Not only do I not get much propulsion but the little I do get pretty much drains all my energy and leaves me gasping for breath.

My question is: if you have also struggled with this at some point, ie. you are a competent swimmer but the vast majority of your ability comes from upper-body strength, what exercises and quantity of those exercises (in or out of water) did you use to improve?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

When I started swimming I had the same problem. I come from an ultra running background so I had very little flexibility in my ankles and poor technique. The following worked for me:

  • do lots of stretching to get some flexibility back in my ankles. You must try to point your toes to the back and not down; Take a look at this page
  • do you bend your knees excessively when kicking? I had to stop myself from bicycling under water instead of doing a proper kick where you keep your legs as straight as possible (but don't go too far and lock your knees)
  • do you keep you legs together? In the front crawl I used to regularly do a scissor kick which causes drag and costs energy. I spent a lot of time focussing on keeping my legs together at all times. You can try brushing your big toes against each other when kicking.

The best tool I found for correcting these problems was swimming with flippers. Here you feel right away when your foot is not correctly aligned and when poor technique is causing more drag (and hence costing more energy). A good exercise for me is 300m front crawl with flippers and then 300m without but trying to keep the same kick.

share|improve this answer
There are some good points here, thanks. – mungflesh Feb 9 '14 at 12:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.