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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > April 2018 > BACK TO SCHOOL


Take a back to basics approach to kick and pull to improve your front crawl, says Fiona Ford

Implementing ‘old school’ training can bring about improvement. Quite simply, these methods work, particularly if you know what type of stroke you have and where it needs refining by bringing about a back to basics focus. A swimmer with a strong freestyle kick, whether they consciously or subconsciously use their legs for propulsion, will benefit from improving their rhythm, catch, pull, use of back and lat muscles by including ‘pull’ sets. Swimmers who barely kick at all, whether by choice or not, or have a low leg or hip position in the water, will significantly reduce some of their drag co-efficient in the stroke by engaging an efficient streamlined kick from the hips. It is always quite amazing in a squad or club how a focus on leg kicking efficiency and engaging hip flexors and glute muscles to keep the leg mostly straight while kicking, provides almost immediate speed gains by not utilising quads and hamstrings, which create drag and are very demanding in energy terms. This is often a significant factor holding back the multisport athlete or land-based athlete turned swimmer!

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Our April issue is our one-year anniversary issue, and it's a cracker to get you in the mood for the start of the main outdoor swimming season. On the training front, we've got a couple of kick and pull sets to try out or a fitness and technique boost, and would look at how poor technique may not only slow you down but also be a factor in shoulder injuries. Our contributor Becky Horsbrugh relates how she became a hero for a day in Bangladesh when she swam across the Bangla Channel. Then, just in case you thought outdoor swimming was a new thing, Richard Nelsson tells us the story of two swimmers from the 1950s who went about swimming in every tarn in the Lake District, naked.