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Post by Sprinter Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:00 am

Hello,

once per week I do now (started before the last lockdown in the UK) one full hour of flutter kicking (with the power-breather snorkel, arms in streamline).
I think that is very useful: the strong continuous kick is the basis for fast swimming, for crawl, backstroke, dolphin. Otherwise I don't do any form of endurance training, but for the kick I think it is essential and natural. The kick must be fast, continuous, and automatic. And there is really one fundamental technique for fast flutter kicking, and this can be practised well in the one hour.

Until last week I did building-up, and reached 1500m (it's a 25m pool, I have one short pause after 25m, a bit longer pause after the 50m). Today I did 1550m (still okay), and continuing this I'll try to add 50m each week (or as it goes), either reducing the pauses a bit and/or swimming a bit faster. My feeling is that 2000m should be reachable in this way (in 3 months or so; and then we'll see).

It's even fun; I can really recommend it. Sure, the flutter kick takes a long time to develop, but on the positive side, it CAN be built up slowly.

I use a mechanical lap counter (pressing a button after each 50m) -- I like that much more than any form of electronic stuff -- you have full control over this simple device (while any electronic device tends to control *you*). Without the counter, you can't really fully concentrate on a length (since you have to make sure not to forget the total count -- and you are bound at some point to kind of forget it). I have always the beeper on, and counting that, I know my speed per length. Currently I am going slow, say on average around 35s per 25m, with the fastest lengths, towards the end, currently around 28s / 25m.

Sprinter

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Post by cottmiler Sun Jun 20, 2021 9:55 am

I read your post with great interest and admire your dedication. It reminds me of the intensive hard work that really pays off for the paralympic swimmers for example. It must be very pleasing to see progress and results. Our year of indoor keep fit has proved to us the benefit of sticking to regular hard exercise.

We have been swimming half a dozen times now with surprising ease owing to our fitness. The latest break through has been replacing the mind numbing lap counting and simply "swimming" for the entire session length! Practising drills with no lap counting. At the moment sessions are 45 or 55 minutes depending on which pool.

After our tennis practise I shall post a new thread which might interest you, relevent to your post.






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Post by Sprinter Mon Jun 21, 2021 12:01 pm

Regarding training plans, over many years I have never found something fitting. For now, my plan is to add, slowly, certain "elements" like an interval session, whose intensity/duration is to be increased over time. So that there are some more measurable targets.

In general I try to swim 5-7 times per week, and I also do fitness and strength training (plus say one hour bicycling per day, low speed, but hilly). So I have always to see in a swimming session how it goes, and to react to it. I never do drills. On a more relaxing day (that is, a session where one feels weak) I do this and that, all strokes, kicking, and certain additional focus points, like restricted breathing. Actually, I found one form of drill/exercise helpful, namely the dolphin kick with the breaststroke arm-pull: I typically do alternative lengths of full butterfly and this dolphin-breast.

On such a rest day, I might think in advance "perhaps I could go a bit slower", but it never happens. Most of the time I have the beeper on, and so I know my speed (counting the beeps per length; that is meanwhile "built-in", and I do not need to synchronise the stroke in any way to the beep, although I always go for a higher beep-rate if I go faster).

The videos of your other post seem to go all in the TI-direction; my "style" (that is, the target) is to minimise rotation, to have a strong, quick, kick, always (close to "maximum"), and with the whole body as close to the surface as possible (also after the turns), with the arm pull close to the center line, with pronounced acceleration.

I completely stopped watching any swimming videos with the goal to learn "some technique". I believe I can do that much better on my own. Regarding front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, I believe the basics are settled. For butterfly, I am going mostly easy, and completely on my own -- I don't care at all about any idea what to do when. The flutter kicking has a very good effect on the butterfly swimming, it seems constantly improving by itself.

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Post by Sprinter Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:49 pm

Today I did 1600m (55 min total, with two short breaks after 500m and 1000m, to take a gel).

Long legs (and long body), that seems most important; that includes pointing the toes (inwards), with rather straight legs, and active fast extension. The bad coupling I have between the left foot and the left hand improved a lot.
I also believe that the *active* steering with the core and the legs is important. A good feeling to be in control, where every kick contributes.

The best feeling is with swimming faster than 30s per 25m, but that'll take some time to maintain for the hour. In a sense it is like "running": you feel the direct connection between your feet and your movement.

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Post by cottmiler Thu Jul 01, 2021 11:40 am

For the first time I kicked a whole 25 m lap on the front, albeit with a few hand balances to breathe!

Time was 60 sec!

How have I achieved such a wondrous feet?

The answer is down to 15 months of home gym and stretching which included sitting on the feet to stretch the ankles. So now my feet are mini flippers instead of sea anchors.

I,ve finally earned my place in the slow lane!

Egyptian Crawl here we come!

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Post by Sprinter Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:10 am

The first 25m are the hardest (and it takes an infinity) ;-)

I would guess that the flutter-kicking movement is quite unusual, while quite strenuous, and thus most people start from close to zero.

Due to problems with my neck, I strongly prefer to use the snorkel (the power-breather snorkel is much better than the usual "swimmer snorkel", since it provides with constantly good air quality). I could also imagine that lifting the head for breathing becomes quite ugly when doing a couple of lengths.

Sitting on the knees I can't do due to problems with the knees. I use my hands here to hold up my upper body --- this can be used to make a stronger exercises, by lifting the knees off the ground, to increase the bend on the ankles.

I personally would be very careful with an exercise like Egyptian crawl, since I imagine a great danger of cramping (for both legs). It might also be harmful for learning the "long legs" -- it needs an enormous flexibility to have one leg high but not bending the other.

Sprinter

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Post by Sprinter Sat Jul 03, 2021 9:47 pm

Today I did 1650m (1h kicking). Next week 1700m should still be okay -- but then ... (the list of emoticons is very poor here -- I need a brutal face, with deadly determination, not smileys or whineys!).

I will also (re)start interval sessions with fast kicking. One 50m this week in the 50m pool, for a start (I like to start small -- then you have some good momentum for some time 1h fluttter kicking 1f609).

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Post by Sprinter Wed Jul 07, 2021 4:18 pm

Today I did 2 x 50m in the 50m pool, each in 72s. Didn't do 50m's for a long long time, so that was okay (just wanted to get it started).

Perhaps I will first crank up for these sets the total volume a bit (perhaps maximum 10x50m), and then increase the speed.
60s for the 50m, that's doable (below that it gets hard).

With the 25m's, there is a kind of change for speeds say 30s for faster --- you start feeling the flow, and in principle ( Wink ) it feels good.

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Post by Sprinter Sun Jul 11, 2021 4:20 pm

Yesterday I did the 1700m in 1h. Still no problems with that.

Technically it felt good: I felt every aspect of the kick, in both legs, and I also felt the propulsion (I believe it is important for fast swimming to feel the power of the application, in hands and feet). Perhaps that was due to having a 2-day break from swimming, and thus the legs were more relaxed?

Today applying a fast kick worked well (and was indeed fast). There is a distinct special feeling for fast swimming with a fast kick (when it works out): like being a wedge swimming directly below the surface, a kind of thin slice below. Perhaps this indicates / comes from a very horizontal position of the whole body. I noticed this now many times, and it always correlates with fast swimming (without it I am relatively slow).

With 0.8s per stroke, that (with a good effort) works out at 16s/25m (20 "strokes"), and that feels good. With 0.7s per stroke the "efficiency" decreases, and I do only 15.4s/25m (22 "strokes"), but I guess that's due to getting tired, and just needs more training.

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Post by cottmiler Sun Jul 11, 2021 5:32 pm

That,s a very good pace sprinter of which one can only dream.

When we ran on Saturday the thighs were a bit sore from swim kick practise so maybe that,s a good sign.


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Post by Sprinter Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:04 pm

I don't remember to ever had sore thighs -- but I always get tired thighs. Perhaps I don't notice the soreness, since I don't run, while the bicycle I use daily, but only as replacement-walking.

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Post by Sprinter Fri Jul 16, 2021 1:36 pm

Today (back to the 50m pool) I did 4x50m kicking, each in 67s-77s. Next week should be 6x50m.

When doing 100m's full stroke, likely still in the second 50m the kick gets weaker / irregular. Hopefully that improves over time. (Still doing very few 100m's -- today I did 3x100m, each in 1:30; next week should be 4x100m.)

With full stroke, sometimes it seems to happen that my legs are too low, typically in the beginning of a session. Actively moving the feet close to the surface (when with straight legs), and having a propulsive kick, seems to solve the problem -- it feels much better then (and also getting faster). Perhaps this creates then this slightly "downward feeling" (from the feet).

Sprinter

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Post by Sprinter Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:58 pm

Today my 1h kicking: did, as planned, 1750m. For 3x500m roughly each 17min, for the last 250m each first 25m of 50m fast (30s - 25s), total 63min.

The normal lengths were quite slow today, though they didn't feel bad. Unclear how much the turbulences (other half of the 25m pool: hotel guests, and swimming school) slow you down (definitly they do). The faster lengths felt quite reasonable, on the other hand.

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Post by cottmiler Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:03 am

Having dabbled a bit with kicking now I have realised that many of the drills that I have so assiduosly attempted in the past have been too hard to be effective without a kick.

Now I can kick a bit the important basic drills like 6-1-6 become possible.

Yesterday we went to look at some lake swimming. The water was 26 C but we didn,t like the texture and colour of it owing to the ducks and geese.

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Post by Sprinter Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:12 pm

Today in the 50m pool 4x100m full stroke in 1:30, then 6x50m kicking (in 81s -> 66s; very tired legs). Next week then 5x100m and 8x50m.

At the end of the month it is 3 months since swimming restarted. Need then to think harder about planning of sessions.I think I'll make every third week a (true) sprinting week, with all other training only very light (without beeing relaxed one can't do progress with sprinting).

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Post by Sprinter Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:17 pm

Remark on drills: often fins are recommended; I don't like them, getting trouble with my feet. I also think, technique-wise they are quite dangerous from a swimming point (doesn't matter if only fitness is concerned), since people tend to do slow and big movements with them (which is contrary to what you need with swimming).

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Post by Sprinter Sat Jul 24, 2021 9:49 pm

Today the 1h kicking. Yesterday the legs were very tired, but surprisingly not today (legs are still are mystery for me).
As planned now 1800m. Total time same as last week. Same subdivision into 3*500m steady, and then the last 300m "fast", that is, each 50m beginning with fast 25m (27s -> 24s) followed by slow 25m (40s).

The fast 25m feel really good -- perhaps as close to flying in swimming as it gets (flying like a rocket -- undisturbed by the arms).

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Post by cottmiler Sun Jul 25, 2021 2:21 pm

Your stats are impressive!

Do you only kick on the front or have you tried kick on side or kick on back?

Would those give different times?


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Post by Sprinter Sun Jul 25, 2021 4:29 pm

I don't do kicking on the side, since I consider this as harmful for my swimming; I think clearly it would be slower for everybody.

Most sessions I do some backstroke. For (fast) backstroke the kick is of high importance. But I think it is somewhat different from frontcrawl-kicking, and I don't practise it on its own (backstrock-kicking seems to be just effort, not much else besides reaching full extension and keeping the hip high) -- in a sense when I do backstroke, I always practise mostly the kick, since I always go for a (near maximim) strong kick with backstroke.
I would also guess that backstroke-kicking would be slower than frontcrawl-kicking, but possibly not so much for non-high-effort kicking.

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Post by Sprinter Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:01 am

Yesterday morning the session in the 50m pool: I did first 5x100m crawl in 93s each (target was 90s -- tired in upper and lower body), and then 8x50m kicking in 84s -> 64s.
Given that that session is just 35min, I will stick to 5x100m + 8x50m for now, consolidating the times (for the kicking, say the target is around 72s -> 60s).

The order (first full stroke, then kicking) seems here more natural to me.

A big mystery: to predict when one is tired -- especially for the legs that seems to happen somewhat randomly.

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Post by cottmiler Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:34 pm

Are you plotting these data to see whether you are reaching a limit how fast you can go?

I have one of the Finis triangular kickboards which you maintain 100mm below the surface of the water when kicking on the front. I don,t like it though owing to difficulty to breathe.


I do kicking on the side a lot since it helps my 6-1-6 and 6-3-6 drills. I feel I am improving at kicking and general swimming.




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Post by Sprinter Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:14 pm

Since 3 months (after the last lockdown) I make notes of my swim sessions (again). It helps with targets. Limits are clearly visible just in the sequence of numbers, so plotting wouldn't help here (at all)  -- it's more arithmetic than geometry.

I have also that triangular kickboard, but I don't use it; I believe the kickboards are a disease born in the swimming clubs with their mass-swimming.
I strongly recommend the power-breather snorkel, which guarantees constant and stable breathing.

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Post by Sprinter Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:11 am

Yesterday I did my one-hour kicking. Rather strange: I managed 1850m, as was the target, but times very slow, with overall time 67min, and for the last quarter (the last 350m) the 25m sprints (the first half of the 50m's) hardly reaching the 30s. On the other hand, the kick felt quite reasonable, and legs were not tired at all (could have easily continued)!

The pool has a lot of (strange) currents. It's size is that of a typical 25m training pool. One half is for the fitness club members (where I swim), one quarter for hotel guests, one quarter for aqua school for small children. While yesterday for most of the time I was alone in my part, up to 2 x 10 people in the other parts, with their uncoordinated movements. One could feel a sideways drift.

So well, over the decades one gets used to strange results under undefined conditions. What counts is that the kicking endurance increases, and that is the main target here -- that I can for my main distances (25m - 100m) maintain a consistent strong kick.

The other pool where I swim (a public pool, where I can only swim 3 times per week) has more competitive conditions (in the 25m and 50m pool). From next week on I'll do one unit per week with really fast 25m kicking, and that with the snorkel: in that fast pool I tend to kick without the snorkel, but since I have big trouble doing 25m kicking without breathing (at the edge of dying), that is not suitable for a systematic set of maximum-power kicking.

With fast kicking you know better what you are doing. It seems to be quite hard to know your speed with slow kicking, and that seems to differ quite a bit with for example the current state of the legs (the relaxation of the day), but the maximum speed seems always quite similar.

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Post by Sprinter Mon Aug 02, 2021 9:24 pm

This morning 6-7 (in fact only 35-40min available for swimming) in the 50m pool.
Started with 100m's with target time 1:30, but was quite slow, always ~1:34. Switched then to 50m with target time 45s and shorter rest, but also here quite slow, ~46s.

In order to reset, I did then two 50m faster, with 0.8s/stroke (above always 0.9s/stroke), with target time 40s: again the first one very slow, ~41.5s, second was then better, with the first 25m in 16.5s, and 39s total (so well, the second 25m quite a bit slower, but currently I don't worry about that).

Then I started the kicking session, with the target 8*50m --- but in the second half of the first 50m I got a cramp in the right thigh, that took a few minutes to resolve, and then I just did full stroke with the snorkel. The cramps in the thighs can be extremely nasty, in the worst case the whole leg is posessed by a demon and wants to separate from the body (and that's the end of the session, the leg ripping itself out of the body, which can take minutes, then sinking to the ground and eaten by the pool sharks); fortunately that time it wasn't that bad (I now know when to stop dead and not moving, not moving, keep quiet, make no sound ...).

Perhaps early Monday morning ...

Instead of the 100m's (full stroke) I'll do next time 50m's, USPRT-style: target time 45s, 20s rest, let's start with six of those.

Regarding the cramp, didn't get them now for quite some time. Perhaps today it was the fast 50m full stroke, followed by 50m kicking, which triggered that. And Monday morning ...

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Post by Sprinter Wed Aug 04, 2021 4:38 am

Yesterday I started some USRPT-style interval series' for kicking. That means, given target times for the swim AND the rest. Since big plans never worked for me, I do these modular style, small units, which can be applied and extended.

As target time for 25m of this type of set I've choosen 30s, for "relaxed speed". One feels the flow, while not being overwhelmed.

For the rest time I've used 25s, some kind of default (for a somewhat higher rest time).

DId 2 x 4 of these, and that felt nice, and can be extended.

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