It is no coincidence that the best freestyle (front crawl) swimmers across the world have an amazingly strong, powerful leg kick.
As much as the freestyle stroke is predominately powered by the arms and upper body, and only relies on the leg kick for a small amount of overall forward propulsion (around 10 to 15% and even less for novice and weaker swimmers), without a strong leg kick, you are at a disadvantage. The perfect freestyle kick can generate better balance, drive body rotation and lift the whole body higher in the water. Triathletes generally aim to kick less in their freestyle swimming stroke but without any kick, the body position is affected and as the legs can drop. To swim faster, you need to put the leg work in during your swim training and also develop leg strength in the gym.
Benefits of a strong freestyle kick
Tips to improve your freestyle kick:
Swimming is taught to children as a valuable life skill for survival and as a form of exercise in the water. As an adult who may have never learned to swim, it is easy to think that all is lost and there is no point in trying to learn. Whether you are in your twenties, forties or in retirement, it is NEVER too late to learn to swim.
Swimming is a wonderful way to keep your body and mind strong and healthy and the benefits can help prolong a healthy mind. You are not alone as an adult non-swimmer and it’s never too late to learn. In fact, it can be more fun to take lessons as an adult. It is a misconception to think that only children can learn to swim efficiently. In reality, there are lots of adults who have not learned but now want to swim with their children and grandchildren, feel conformable in the pool and sea whilst on holiday or simply take up the sport to develop their fitness. As swimming is a low impact form of exercise which means that the supportive nature of the water puts less stress on the body and our joints as we get older. Any adult knows how running affects the knees as they get older, hence swimming is the five star sport for adults and lessons will help fastrack your skills.
If you feel that you are not confident around water at the pool, have very little fitness or unhappy with your current body shape, our coaches are experienced with clients of all types and standard, and our lessons will help you overcome your fears and inspire you to continue during and after your first lesson.
Our venues are luxury private health clubs and our swimming pools are incredibly quiet (which many of our adult clients express how this has helped them develop their swimming, their fitness and their confidence in the water during lessons).
Tips for Learning To Swim As An Adult:
Benefits of swimming lessons for adults
Good butterfly swimming is fun to watch although learning to swim butterfly is often regarded as the most difficult stroke due to its unnatural style.
But it does not need to be! Yes, the butterfly stroke requires the most upper body strength of all the four swimming strokes, as the arms must recover over the water. And true, it is usually taught as the final stroke to swimmers who want to learn the four swimming strokes, due to the demands of the stroke. But learning to put this stroke together with the correct technique, can be a fantastic new swimming stroke within your weekly training sessions.
Competitive freestyle (frontcrawl) swimmers often train on butterfly workouts to help develop their upper body strength. Triathlon swimmers are training on this stroke more and more and seeing the benefits of the use of butterfly in their training sessions as they pull though the water more powerfully.
Building your butterfly stroke
Learning to swim butterfly with ease and confidence takes practice. This stroke developed over the years from breaststroke, initially swum with a breaststroke kick rather than the dolphin kick that is commonly used today. The undulating, wave like motion developed as the dolphin kick became the most efficient way of swimming the butterfly stroke (with two dolphin kicks per arm stroke ultimately become the fastest way of performing the stroke without interfering with the powerful double arm pull).
The butterfly stroke is best known for its undulating movement of the body, with a dolphin leg kick that comprises of both legs kicking down and then upwards simultaneously. Building the timing of all elements of the stoke (the arm cycle, the breath sequence and the leg action) is taught by developing each part separately by our Strictly Swimming Coaches in a series of progressive drills. Ultimately, all parts will be combined together and you will be swimming the full butterfly stroke.
Therefore, whether you simply want to learn butterfly as a new skill, or add to your triathlon training to develop upper body power and strength, our coached swimming lessons will help you develop your technique and achieve this.
The need for swimming drills in learning to swim correctly and efficiently has been adopted by swimmers and coaches across the world for decades.
A drill can be used by adult swimmers of all levels during lessons and is simply a specific exercise that focuses on a particular aspect of a swimming stroke. By isolating one aspect of the swimming stroke, drills have proven to correct stroke technique and speed up the learning process of new skills (for both children and adult lessons).
Swimming drills are designed to be progressive, teaching you one skill at a time. This progressive (stage by stage) process allows you to learn any of the four strokes at your own pace, with the knowledge that you are swimming in a controlled, emphasised manner.
There are various aims and goals when using drills during lessons, including developing balance in the water, correcting body roll, increasing hold on the water amongst many others. Correcting your drills during lessons is important if you want to master an effective swimming technique. Like children, adult swimmers should learn to build up a drill progressively and slowly (with logical sequences) and increase the level of difficulty of the drill as you feel stronger and more controlled. When reverting to your regular swimming stroke, you should feel stronger, faster and swimming with less effort.
Competitive swimmers train endlessly with the use of drills, as they have proven to improve swimming technique and efficiency significantly. Even adults learning to swim should and do follow the same method.
Why do adult swimmers need to practice swimming drills?
When we perform drills during our training or lessons, our movements are usually completely differently or exaggerated than we would normally perform during our regular swimming stroke. Old problems or bad habits in the stroke can be identified and eliminated by the sheer nature of emphasizing a stroke point during a drill. Isolating a stroke problem is vital in relearning any part of the stroke. The biggest issue in stroke correction for adults is getting the body to forget old patterns that actually feel natural (even if they are incorrect). With practice and lessons, drills can reprogram a swimmer’s action and muscle memory. Breaking down every single element into components, plus repeated practice of these components, creates this muscle memory and overcomes old habits. Training the body to replicate these actions over and over again is the ultimate goal of swimming drills. This ‘re-training’ of the body is needed on every single progression (stage) of the drill.
The best way to practice swimming drills as adults
It is very easy to perform a drill without a specific focus. Equally, one of the common problems of a training on swimming drills, is to focus on too many technique points. Select one technique component and focus completely on this component during a given swimming lesson. Once this is mastered, refocus on a new component on the next lesson.
During your lessons, always practice your drills by swimming steadily and controlled and never rush your stroke. Be aware that a new drill can take a couple of lessons to master.
The sooner you start incorporating perfect swimming drills into your routine as a beginner adult, the sooner you will gain strength, balance and power into your swimming. Our coaches and lessons will help you develop and extensive list of swimming drills that you can use during your own workouts to make you a faster, stronger swimmer.
Why Fix your Swimming Stroke?Are you looking to take your swimming fitness to the next level? Do you need to improve your freestyle technique to achieve this? Let us help you discover how to improve your swimming technique via our elite coaches and swimming lessons.
Having a good freestyle swimming technique is essential for an effective stroke and speed. Being effective means either being relaxed while swimming at slow to moderate speed or swimming fast without being exhausted too quickly. Our swimming tips will help you become a more effective freestyle swimmer.
The challenge for the uncoached swimmer is that there are so many elements of the freestyle stroke to copy and correct, so developing your swimming can seem daunting. Which elements of the stroke should you work on first? Which corrections will result in the most improvement?
Luckily, the fundamentals of swimming and the drills used to help improve one’s freestyle still remain the same and are still used today with enormous success in our lessons. Swimming freestyle is not complicated, but swimming freestyle like a champion is a matter of small details making the difference. Our coaches will show you these details with a biomechanical breakdown of your swimming stroke and propose a swimming workout to work on them.
When developing your swimming stroke, always remember that some stroke points can be applied immediately; others will need some time to be mastered. So enjoy trying them out and be patient if it takes some time to master them.
Paul started competing in swimming from the age of 8 and eventually went on to represent his country all over the world. During his time at University, Paul specialised in Aquatics and the Biomechanics of Swimming and produced numerous theses on swimming performance.