Reinforcing the leg movement in swimming is both an important skill in terms of safety and an often-forgotten technique element that helps immensely in developing speed. As such, it is primordial for both beginner swimmers and those more advanced.
This week we bring to you more advanced leg exercises with an elastic, to practice both flutter kicks and breaststroke leg movement. Although the exercises are categorized as 'advanced', they are in fact suitable for any child aged 4 and up that can maneuver with the elastic reasonably well.
Therefore, if your child is a 7 year old platypus, these exercises will be perfectly suitable and in fact very helpful. Similarly, if your child is already swimming at a dolphin level, these exercises could be an excellent part of their daily routine and something they can combine with more elaborate arm exercises we shared last week. Let’s dive in!
In the video below, Dan shows the following exercises, your child can do them all (if seal and up) or stop at breaststroke:
1) Flutter kicks in the canoe position: In this exercise, the core is engaged and therefore if this is too challenging for your child, they can perform it while resting their back on the couch or the wall. They will do the flutter kick movement (remember, it is important that the legs are straight and knees pointed), while holding the elastic in their hands. The movement should at first be wide, then smaller, and at the end smallest and fastest. It would be great if they could perform all three movements without pause devoting 15 seconds to each exercise. This 45 second set can then be repeated three times for a real workout!
2) Flutter kicks on the stomach: In this exercise, it is the back muscles and the gluteus that is engaged. Thus, it should always be performed after the first exercise, so that both abdominal and back muscles are getting equal engagement. The concept is the same, the leg movements are at first wide then smaller and finally the smallest and fastest except this time there is no elastic. As shown by Dan, once your child gets to the smallest kick, they should form the arrow shape: putting their arms and hands together and extending them forward and putting the head in extension of the spine, with the look to the ground. This exercise could also be performed as a 45 second set.
3) Breaststroke on the back (resting on the palms): This is an important exercise for advanced swimmers that is often performed even by professional swimmers as it develops strong consciousness of the movement. In particular, it allows for greater control and checking of whether the legs are moving symmetrically. Remember to not go too wide; the legs should stop at about 45 degree angle on each side. Speed tip: putting the focus on the closing of the legs propels the body forward and is the most important part of the breaststroke leg movement.
4) Breaststroke on the back (resting on the elbows): This is the same exercise that engages the core more as the body is in a more angled position. The upper body and the legs should form a 90 degree angle. To substantiate this exercise with arm movement, grab a ball and read the section of our last blog talking about breaststroke arms!
We hope you have been enjoying these ideas for swimming-related exercises to do at home. If you end up trying any of these out, feel free to send us a video via email! In addition, if you happen to have ideas of what you would like us to film and write about next, do not hesitate to let us know!