Kickboards, why I never use one

Kickboards have been around the sport of swimming for a very long time.  They are a staple in most competitive team workouts.  In my workouts, both age groups and master’s workout you won’t see a kickboard anywhere.  Kickboards create two primary issues:

  • Sitting with your arms stretched out across the board creates a bad body position. This raised head, lowered hips is not mimicking the body position you will use when swimming.  Why train in an artificial body position when the correct body position is available.
  • Sitting with the arms stationary on the board creates stiff shoulders and stiff necks. No fun and not great for the next set.

One coach commented to me, “But they kick faster on the boards.” I responded with: “I swim faster with fins on. Does this mean we are going to train all are yardage with fins on now?” I admit kick board does have some uses, but they are teaching applications not workouts.  If you must use a kickboard try Finis’ underwater kickboard.  This board will keep you in the correct body position and not create stiff neck and shoulders, but be for warned, kicking with their boards is generally slower than kicking with no board.

Leaving the kickboard behind opens up the question how should I kick?  There are a number of positions that work well.  Kick on your back, side or stomach, in every case keep your body in line.  On your stomach and back, kick with both arms out front in a streamline position.  On your side, put the underwater arm above your head and the surface arm at your side. You may find that kicking without a board can be slower for some swimmers so you may want to adjust interval times

So leave the kickboard on the shelf!

Up Next:  Warm downs, why I don’t want you to skip them

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