Home Training for a Triathlon

To kick or not to kick, that is the question

Hi everyone, new to the forum and just getting back into into training after a couple of years of little activity. I completed a sprint triathlon in 2016 and loved it so am trying to build myself back up, and like most of us, the swim is the toughest bit. I competed the last one using breaststroke, but want to do freestyle going forward, and wondered if you lot could offer some advice. A friend of mine who has competed many triathlons has said that I shouldn???t be sun g my legs on the swim to save them for later, but the problem is if I try I just sink!!! Should I be resting my legs, or should I be kicking? If am am kicking, what sort of kicking ration should I be using? Cheers!


  • AngiemacAngiemac Posts: 40

    I had the same problem (sinky legs) but found if your head is in the right position your legs stay up more. I kick a lot less now and find swimming less stressful. My swim instructor told me that some of the best swimmers only get about 10% of their propulsion from their legs. 

    The better I swim the less I kick and I am getting faster. I do believe there is a balance, but often find if I swim in open water (in a wetsuit) I forget to kick all together.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    As Angiemac says head a correct head position will help keep your legs up so reducing drag. Gentle kicking finishes the job. Hard kicking uses up huge amounts of oxygen for virtually no propulsion - OK for a 50m sprint but not for triathlon distances. Kicking should be from the hip, it should be shallow and stay inside the 'shadow' of you body, toes should be pointed (plantar flexed) and your feet should be inverted so that your big toes just about brush each other as they pass. Two beat is used by many of the better long distance open water swimmers.

    If you decide not to kick (pool or open water) at least point your toes to reduce drag. Try kicking with your toes pulled up towards your shin and see what happens.
  • Train yourself to kick your legs, that will give you stability and nice body position in the water, but do not give it all during the race. Just have a nice steady effortless kicking.

  • Late reply and hopefully you are sorted now, but...

    Swim with a pull buoy (or even 2) and learn how to use your arms effectively as it is your arms that provide almost all your propulsion.

    As above, even if you are a good kicker, you will only get a very small proportion of propulsion from kicking but it is very expensive in terms of energy expenditure.

    Kicking simply drains you, and its this energy sapping that is the important part you don´t want.

    See: https://mastersoftri.com/triathlon-training-swimming-training-tools/ and



Sign In or Register to comment.