Kick Drills for Swimmers in a SwimEx Pool

Kicking is one of the most common things swimmers under-work, and it is also one of the most important parts of racing. Let’s be honest, kick drills can get extremely boring! So, we decided to mix things up in our SwimEx. Maximizing all the features the pool has to offer with the adjustable swim current, removable floor inserts for extra pool depth, and even the back wall!

The detail about kick drills below expands on the tips in this video by coach Tyler Santangelo, senior aquatic therapist at NL Aquatic Center in NJ:

Body position kick drills

This is a simple drill but extremely effective for working balanced body rotation and proper head position. Using a snorkel, we want to keep our eyeballs and nose pointed at the bottom of the pool, keeping your spine in a neutral position. Your arms should be down by your side and you want to point your toes/fins toward the back of the pool and begin a flutter kick.

Next, you want to rotate your shoulders and hips together, controlling this body rotation with your core and making sure to rotate the same amount on both the right and left side. It is extremely important to engage your core and control the rotation, taking your time and making sure you transition from side to side smoothly. Why is this important? Because balanced rotation leads to increased distance per stroke in freestyle and backstroke and keeping our head in a neutral position creates less drag when swimming. This drill can also be modified for backstroke!


30 body position rotations on stomach with snorkel and fins

30 body position rotations on back with fins

Vertical kicking into streamline kick

For this drill we will need to remove the bottom panel of the SwimEx, which can be easily done with the retracting pole that comes with the pool. This provides an extra 2 feet of kick space which is perfect for vertical kicking! Starting out in a vertical streamline with fins on, point your toes toward the bottom of the pool and start kicking in a small fast motion.  Be sure to kick using your hips and core, and DO NOT kick with your knees. This can be challenging if the kick is not fast, which is why vertical kicking is a great way to work on a powerful kick! When in streamline, count out 12 kicks, then, after the 12 kicks, transition on to your stomach and sprint kick against the current up to the front of the pool. This is great for doing sets!


12 vertical kicks in streamline

30 secs max sprint kick against the current

30 secs rest in between rounds

Explosive underwater dolphin kick drills

No wall, no problem! We can work explosive pushes off the wall with powerful underwater dolphin kicks by using a strong current and the back of the SwimEx! Good underwaters during a race can be what sets apart the good swimmers from the GREAT swimmers. This is where you can drop or gain the most amount of time during your race because you are actually faster underwater than when you swim on the surface – some even call it the 5th stroke. For this drill, position yourself underwater in a tight streamline. Plant your feet shoulder width apart on the back wall of the SwimEx, bend your knees to load your power, then explode off the wall, pushing off as hard as you can into 4 short fast dolphin kicks against the current. Once you get to the front of the pool, float back and go again!


Push off the back of the pool into 4 fast dolphin kicks

Float back to the wall

Push off the back of the pool into 4 fast dolphin kicks

30 secs rest in between rounds

With these three kick drills you will be able to take your kicking to the next level! 

Find out more about the Swim Smart program at NL Aquatics. You can follow them on Facebook, too!

~ Written by Liz Lecomte

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