Target Your Legs With This Olympic-Swimmer-Approved Kick Workout

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Leg day doesn’t have to consist of copious sets of squats at the gym. You can target this major muscle group and feel the burn in the pool, too.

Whether you’re using a kickboard or simply kicking on your back, kicking workouts while swimming help isolate the lower half of your body, allowing you the opportunity to focus on leg strength or perfecting your kicking technique.

Not sure where to get started? This kick workout – ideal for a beginner or intermediate-level swimmer – is a favorite of two-time Olympic swimmer and three-time Olympic swimming medalist Katie Hoff.

This workout can be done in a 25-yard or 25-meter pool.

Swimming Terminology

Are you a beginner swimmer? This quick terminology explainer will help you understand the workout ahead.

One lap, or one length of a 25-yard pool, is referred to as “25 yards.” Therefore, two laps of the pool would be considered “50 yards.”

For all kicking exercises, you can either use a kickboard or kick on your back with your arms in streamline.

Warmup: 4 x 50s

  • 25 yards swim, freestyle
  • 25 yards kick on your right side; One arm should be lifted, with your ear resting on it. The other is by your side touching your hip.
  • Rest 15 seconds.
  • 25 yards kick, moderate speed
  • 25 yards kick, building to a faster speed
  • Rest 15 seconds.
  • 25 yards swim, freestyle
  • 25 yards kick on your left side
  • Rest 15 seconds.
  • 25 yards kick, moderate speed
  • 25 yards kick, building to faster speed
  • Rest for 15 seconds.

Prep Your Legs: 4 x 25s

  • 25 yards kick; mix in a few bursts of fast kicking.
  • Rest for 15 seconds.
  • 25 yards kick, moderate speed
  • Rest for 15 seconds.
  • 25 yards kick; mix in a few bursts of fast kicking.
  • Rest for 15 seconds.
  • 25 yards kick, fast speed
  • Rest for 15 seconds.

Establish the Pace

To establish your pace, time your 50-yards kick. Divide the time by two.

Example: If you kick one minute on your 50 yards kick, your pace for a 25 yards kick is :30 seconds.

  • 50 yards kick, fast speed

Time yourself and divide the time by two to find your pace.

Main Set

8 x 25 yards

  • 25 yards kick; Hold your pace.
  • Rest for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat the set above eight times.
  • 50 yards swim freestyle or your choice of stroke, easy speed

Note: Always adjust the rest as needed. If you’re having trouble making your pace time, stop, rest, and then start on the next 25 yards.

6 x 25 yards

  • 25 yards kick; Hold your pace.
  • Rest for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat the set above six times.
  • 50 yards swim freestyle or your choice of stroke, easy speed

4 x 25 yards

  • 25 yards kick; Hold your pace.
  • Rest for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat the set above four times.
  • 50 yards swim freestyle or your choice of stroke, easy speed

2 x 25 yards

  • 25 yards kick; Hold your pace.
  • Rest for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat the above two times.
  • 50 yards swim freestyle or your choice of stroke, easy speed

Cooldown:

  • 100-yards swim freestyle or your choice of stroke, easy speed.

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