How To Stop Your Legs From Sinking – Root Cause 9

The  Ultimate Guide To Balance & Alignment In Freestyle Swimming

Fixing Your Sinking Leg Problems


Root Cause No 9: 

Not Kicking 

Your kick does a lot more for your body position than it does for propulsion. It is one of the primary ways to help keep your hips and legs from sinking.

The downward part of your kick actually provides lift that helps bring your heavy legs up to the surface. In the same way that pushing down on the water with your extended arm lifts your body up.

This is a simple physics principle. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Every time one of your legs kick down there is an equal and opposite reaction pushing up. The upward push lifts your legs in line with your hips and head keeping your body balanced. When you stop kicking there is no upward force strong enough to overcome the pull of gravity so your legs sink.

Why It Happens

In general, triathletes hold a pretty strong misconception about kicking.

The idea that you need to save your legs for the bike and run is a common mistake. The thought process isn’t necessarily wrong per se….

You absolutely want your legs feeling good for the bike and run. But by not kicking at all you’ll burn through more energy than if you kick just enough to drive an efficient stroke.

A light kick will raise your hips and legs and give you the stability you need to maintain your balance.

Not kicking at all will result in

  • sinking legs
  • dropped hips
  • increased resistance
  • higher energy expenditure.

How To Fix It

There is no quick way to learn to kick efficiently, especially if you learned to swim as an adult. However, there are a couple of drills and tools you can use to help speed up the process.

{2} 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 Fins

Get a pair of fins and use them in during your warm up and cool downs as well on selected drills.

You’ll want a pair of short blade fins as opposed to the long divers fins. The short blade fins allow you to replicate the kicking motion more accurately.

Swimming with fins on will force your ankles into a flexed position (which helps improve ankle mobility) and will also give you a good feel for pushing back and down on the water.