Kick Your Swimming into High Gear with Kickboard Training

Kickboards are those buoyant, foam or plastic boards that swimmers hold onto while kicking their legs. They come in different sizes and shapes, but most are rectangular with rounded edges and a curved cut-out section for the hands to grip onto.

You might’ve seen kids playing around with it, but it can also be used by adult swimmers looking to vary their training and improve their kicking technique.

For me, kickboards evoke childhood memories of submerging it underwater and using its buoyancy to shoot it out of the water like a torpedo. I’ve hit many kids in the face, hit myself in the face on numerous occasions, and gotten targeted by kids who were tired of my antics.

Is that how kickboards are meant to be used? Of course not, and as an adult I use it completely differently. In this article, we’ll go over the proper ways to use a kickboard that involves less facial trauma and more improvements in swimming technique.

Why Use a Kickboard?

For beginners, kickboard training is especially beneficial because it can help improve body position and breathing as well as improving confidence while swimming.

Many beginners struggle with these aspects of swimming and may feel overwhelmed trying to coordinate their arm strokes and leg kicks at the same time.

Kickboards help isolate the leg muscles and improve leg strength, balance, and body position in the water. With one, beginners can focus solely on their leg kicks and body position, without worrying about their arm strokes. This can help them to develop proper technique and form, which will benefit them in the long run.

In addition to improving technique, kickboard training can also help beginners to build endurance and lung capacity without worrying about drowning because they can just float on the board if needed.

By isolating the leg muscles, kickboard training allows swimmers to work on their leg strength and endurance without getting tired from coordinating their arm strokes. This can help beginners to gradually build up their stamina and prepare for longer swim workouts or races.

Benefits of Kickboard Swimming

The benefits of kickboard swimming are numerous and can be enjoyed by swimmers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Here are some of the key benefits of kickboard swimming:

Improved leg strength and endurance: Kickboard swimming is an excellent way to build leg strength and endurance. By isolating the leg muscles, swimmers can focus solely on their kicks and work on building up their leg muscles without getting tired from coordinating their arm strokes. This can help swimmers to develop more powerful kicks and improve their overall swimming speed.

Improved balance and body position: Using a kickboard can help swimmers to improve their balance and body position in the water. By holding onto the kickboard, swimmers can keep their upper body stable and focus on keeping their hips and legs high in the water. This can help to reduce drag and improve overall swimming efficiency.

Increased lung capacity and breathing control: Kickboard swimming can also help to improve lung capacity and breathing control. By focusing on their leg kicks and not having to worry about coordinating their arm strokes, swimmers can take deeper and more controlled breaths. This can help to improve overall lung capacity and breathing control, which can benefit swimmers in longer swim workouts or races.

Versatility: Kickboard swimming is a versatile form of training that can be used for a variety of purposes. It can be used for warm-ups, cool-downs, and as a way to isolate specific muscle groups for targeted training. It can also be used for interval training and to build endurance and speed.

Work around injuries: Kickboard swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints and muscles. This makes it an excellent form of cross-training for athletes who want to improve their overall fitness without putting too much strain on their bodies.

Overall, kickboard swimming is an excellent way to improve your leg strength and endurance, balance and body position, lung capacity and breathing control, and overall swimming efficiency. Next, let’s discuss how to actually use a kickboard.

How to Use a Kickboard in the Pool

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a kickboard:

Choose the right kickboard: Kickboards come in different sizes and shapes, so it’s important to choose one that is comfortable and fits your body. Generally, a larger kickboard will provide more buoyancy and support, while a more streamlined kickboard lets you swim faster but requires more effort to keep afloat.

Hold the kickboard properly: Hold the kickboard with both hands at the top of the board, with your arms extended straight out in front of you. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your elbows should be locked.

Position your body: Position your body face down in the water with your head down and your eyes looking straight ahead. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your toes.

Start kicking: Begin kicking your legs up and down in a steady and controlled motion. Keep your legs straight and close together, and kick from your hips rather than your knees.

Remember to breathe: Take deep and controlled breaths as you kick, inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose or mouth.

Maintain proper form: Keep your body in a straight line and avoid arching your back or lifting your head too high. Your hips should be near the surface of the water and your legs should be kicking just below the surface.

Gradually increase speed and intensity: As you become more comfortable with kickboard swimming, you can gradually increase your speed and intensity. Try kicking faster or for longer periods of time, or incorporate different types of kicks such as flutter kicks or breaststroke kicks.

By following these steps, you can learn how to use a kickboard effectively and improve their leg strength, balance, and body position in the water. Remember to maintain proper form and gradually increase speed and intensity to avoid injury and get the most out of your kickboard training.

Kickboard Swimming Drills for Beginners

If you’re new to swimming, using a kickboard is a great way to start. Here’s a simple workout template to get you started. As for the kickboard drills, try any of the drills from this article.

Activity Distance Repetitions
Warm-up 200 yards 1
Kickboard Drill 50 yards 6
Rest N/A 30 seconds
Cool Down 100 yards 1

Intermediate Workouts

If you’ve been swimming for a while and want to step up your game, try this intermediate workout:

Activity Distance Repetitions
Warm-up 400 yards 1
Kickboard Drill 100 yards 8
Rest N/A 15 seconds
Cool Down 200 yards 1

Advanced Workouts

If you’re an experienced swimmer and want a challenging workout, try this advanced routine:

Activity Distance Repetitions
Warm-up 800 yards 1
Kickboard Drill 200 yards 10
Rest N/A 10 seconds
Cool Down 400 yards 1

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I incorporate kickboard training into my swim workouts?

It’s generally recommended to incorporate kickboard training into your swim workouts 1-2 times per week. This can help to improve leg strength and endurance, balance and body position, and overall swimming efficiency. However, it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it, especially if you’re new to kickboard training.

What are some modifications I can make if I have limited mobility or flexibility?

If you have limited mobility or flexibility, you can modify kickboard training by using a smaller kickboard or a pull buoy instead.

The cool thing about training with kickboards is that it is perfect for those with injuries. If you have limited mobility or an injury in your shoulders, the point of the kickboard is that you don’t have to use your arms except to hold onto the board. Kickboards isolate your legs and allow you to keep training even if you have a shoulder injury.

What if you injured your legs? Consider using a pull buoy, or using a kickboard like a pull buoy. A pull buoy is a buoyant foam or plastic device that swimmers place between their thighs to isolate their leg muscles while swimming. This can be a good alternative to using a kickboard if you have limited mobility or flexibility in your legs but want to keep swimming.

How can I tell if I’m using the kickboard correctly?

To ensure that you’re using the kickboard correctly, focus on maintaining proper form and technique. Keep your body in a straight line, your hips near the surface of the water, and your legs kicking just below the surface.

If you’re unsure about your form, ask a swim coach or instructor to provide feedback and guidance.

You can also try filming yourself so you can see how you look and compare it to a YouTube video. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least you can get a feel for whether you look like you’re doing it right.

How can I prevent cramps while using a kickboard?

To prevent cramps while using a kickboard, make sure to warm up properly before starting your workout. Stretch your leg muscles and gradually increase your intensity and speed. It’s also important to stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes with water or sports drinks.

Can kickboard training help me to swim faster?

Yes, kickboard training can help to improve leg strength and endurance, which can translate to faster swimming speeds. By isolating the leg muscles and focusing on specific kicking techniques, kickboard training can help to improve overall swimming efficiency and speed.