Swim Legs

Zero to Hero Swim Boot Camp – Develop Your Kick

Getting started in the water…without panic attacks! 

Here’s the secret: baby steps….

In the next few days of the Zero to Hero Swim Boot Camp, you’ll take it slow, build gradual progress, and I promise that sometime very soon you’ll cross an invisible bridge and enter the land of easy, sustainable swimming.

We’re going to nail this sprint triathlon swim thing together in 5 simple steps! What we’ll do is start by developing your kick, find a rhythm that makes breathing easier and then gradually build up the lengths into laps and laps into some serious workouts. 



What you really want to do as a beginner triathlete swimmer is develop a consistent kick, because that will:

  • Keep you from sinking
  • Help you stay streamlined
  • Make it easier to breathe
  • Allow you to focus on other techniques

If I could go back, this is what I would do for my first three workouts. (I call them kick starters!) 

Develop your swim kick with Kick Starters

Without a strong kick you’ll feel like you’re constantly sinking. That not only creates way too much drag and slows you down, it makes it hard to breathe. Don’t mess with my oxygen!

What you’ll do is grab a kick board which helps to keep your head above water, literally. You may feels goofy at first, but don’t worry about that because even pro swimmers do this, and that’s because it really works. This has become such a great resource for beginner swimmers, I’ve actually coined a term for it. There are three easy steps, and if you pull it off right, you’ll look like a pro doing drills, rather than a newbie. 

Real quick, before we get into the drill, here are the basics of the kick: 

  • Keep it compact, meaning, no huge scissor kicks (especially during a breath),
  • Your kick should come from the hips, not your knees,
  • Bend your knee ever so slightly… too much bend creates a ton of drag,
  • And remember to keep your ankles floppy, not stiff.

Kick Starters – Step One:

Hold the kick board straight out in front in a semi-streamlined position. I say that because you’ll be keeping your head above the water the whole time, and this let’s you get plenty of air. 

Kick Starters – Step Two:

Next you’ll practice kicking and breathing, so it’s the same position, but this time you’ll take a breath and slowly exhale with head down under the water. Work on going farther with each breathe as long as it stays even and controlled.

Zero to Hero Swim Boot Camp - Develop Your Kick | TwoTri.com

Feel those legs burning yet? Yes, that feeling is building muscle memory and endurance. Trust me, this will pay off in huge ways!  

Kick Starters – Step Three:

Now we are bridging the gap between a strong kick and upper body technique. This time you’ll practice side breathing. What you’ll do is start in streamlined position, and take a breath to the side while holding the board with one hand. Then, simply alternate sides. As you alternate breathing on each side, practice body rotation (more on that later).

What I wish I knew when I was beginning is how important a good kick is, as well as the fact that it takes some work to build up the endurance.

Zero to Hero Swim Boot Camp - Develop Your Kick | TwoTri.com

There’s so many advantages of developing a strong kick early on. You’ll not only accrue some serious endurance, but probably the best thing in my opinion is this: now that you have a consistent kick, your mind will be able to focus on other techniques.

And that takes us into the next session where we’ll talk about breathing, so make sure you come back tomorrow for some more great triathlon swim tips!

Posted by Trainer +Davey Anderson 

About Author

Trainer DaveyTrainer Davey is an Orange County personal trainer at heart, but has since moved to Nashville and taken on the new challenge of triathlon training. Of course, he misses his home of Surf City...but Music City ain't so bad either!View all posts by Trainer Davey →