Band kicking (super easy)

  • Train the hip-flexors in the most direct way
  • Develop hip driven kick
  • Make about 15 bands for about $50

What you need

  1. Theraband Roll- 25 yards will go a long way. Different colors are different resistances (Grey > Blue > Green > Red > Yellow). Remember, you can always start light, and add more bands as the legs get stronger.

http://www.amazon.com/Thera-Band-Extra-Heavy-Yard-Latex-Bands/dp/B000AXN2AC/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1450804197&sr=8-7&keywords=theraband

 

Assembly

Step 1- Cut the Theraband roll into about 20in sections

Step 1.5- If you have younger swimmers, cut the Theraband hotdog style to ease the resistance by folding it up and cutting as shown (instead of buying two rolls of different resistance bands)

 

Step 2- Tie it up. Make sure you double knot and stretch all the parts out to make sure they kind of "stick" together

 

Step 3- Put it on and kick. Go above the knees when just getting started or for longer kicking sets, or slide the band down to the ankles for sprint kick sets

 

How it works

Developing "hip-flexor driven" freestyle kicking is the focus of these bands. By creating resistance in the plane of action of those muscles, we can add to the water's resistance and give swimmers another way of training their kick. 

Nerd time: The hip-flexor is the combination of the Illiacus and Psoas Major (the beef tenderloin cut) and their job is to flex the hip and bring the femur bone up towards the trunk. 

 

When the hip-flexors are not strong enough, swimmers end up bending their knees to gain leverage on the water and use the much larger quadriceps. That might put more force on the water, but you're giving up a lot of drag. By getting the hip-flexors up to scratch, we can train the kick to start at the hips and maintain a more streamlined position throughout the stroke.

 

Sample Sets

For very young swimmers (8 and unders) the bands can be a great tool to do short bursts of very powerful kicking. BUT, make sure the bands you use are light or cut in half and use with fins or wall kicking. You don't want them feeling like they are tied up and panic. 

 Bands on ankles without fins, as many rounds as you desire.

15s Sprint wall kick
30s rest

 

Move the bands to the knees and add fins for some longer sets or drills, 2 rounds with bands, 2 rounds without them.

100 kick with board
4x25 Shark fin
4x50 Overkick Free (count strokes)

 

Even for older swimmers, the bands can add a lot of resistance that needs to be worked up to. When combined with fins it actually makes kicking very hard since now we are resisting the hip-flexors with the band and the quads/hams with the fins. 

No specific sets here, just make sure to start with the band at the knees without fins and short fast sets. Build those small muscles slowly, gradually adding distance, fins, and moving the bands further down the legs.