How To Stop Your Legs From Sinking – Root Cause 10

The  Ultimate Guide To Balance & Alignment In Freestyle Swimming

Fixing Your Sinking Leg Problems


Root Cause No 10: 

Kicking Too Big or Too Deep

We’ve just talked about how the downward kick helps lift the legs up. But if you drive your legs down too deep, you will pull your hips down deep with them.

You want your hips to remain at the surface at all times. The deeper your kick goes, the harder it will be to keep the hips on the surface. After you kick deep you have to recover the heels a long way back to the surface.

Keep your kick small and consistent. A good rule of thumb is to keep the depth of your kick to the same size as your hips. Measure your hips and then drop that width down into the water. You want to keep your feet within this box. Driving the legs down deeper than that will cause your legs to drop.


Why It Happens 

This issue takes root when a swimmer is first learning to kick.

The first time you try the kicking movement, chances are the natural instinct will be to kick to be to kick very big. Often it will replicate the size of your stride when you walk or run, which is much bigger than we want to see in the water. If you are learning on your own and have no one to provide you with feedback you end up building a habit of kicking deep.

It’s likely not until you see your kick on video or have a coach point it out that you will notice just how big your kick is.


How To Fix It 

{1} Vertical Kick 

Vertical kicking is the best drill you can do to improve your kick. It forces you to keep your kick narrow and fast (otherwise you sink). It gives you instant feedback on where your kick is going wrong. And how powerful your kick is in one direction relative to another direction.


{2} Kick With a Pull Buoy In 

You can use your pull buoy to help teach you how to keep your kick narrow.

Swim regular freestyle or do the Balance drill with the pull buoy between your legs.

Work on increasing the propulsion coming from the flick of your ankles.  At the same time, make sure you keep the pull buoy between your thighs being careful not to let it pop out.


{2} Kick With a Band 

If you’re really struggling with kicking too deep or too big, take a pair of pulling bands and loop them together. Slide the bands around your ankles and swim freestyle.

At first you may want to try wearing a snorkel so you can get the kick right without having to focus on your breathing.

The bands should stop your kick from getting too big. You’ll feel the resistance increase as your kick size increases.