Kickboard Techniques

by Michelle Hogan, Demand Media
    A kickboard can be used to improve swimming technique or for strength exercises.

    A kickboard can be used to improve swimming technique or for strength exercises.

    Swimming is a way to stay in shape and reduce impact and wear on your body. Whether you are uncomfortable with your swimming abilities or would like to add some variety to your swimming routine, a kickboard can be a useful tool. Traditionally, a kickboard is held while the swimmer kicks behind it, but there are other ways to use a kickboard that are equally as effective.

    Warm Up

    Use a kickboard to warm your muscles up before your full swimming workout. Hold onto the kick board at the sides near the top. Extend your legs straight behind you and your arms straight out in front of you in a prone position, so that your belly button is facing the bottom of the pool. Perform a flutter kick back and forth in a lap lane. Your toes should be pointed and your legs firm but relaxed. Push yourself through the water at a relaxed pace.

    Refine Your Kick

    Hold onto a kickboard and get into a prone position. Kick just one of your legs for a pool length or two while the other floats behind you. Kicking from the hip will propel you through the pool easier. Kick on one side for a count of 20 and then kick the other leg with the first one floating. After several laps, your flutter kick overall will become more efficient and your legs stronger.

    Alignment

    Improve the alignment of your body while you swim by holding a traditional kickboard in an overhand grip at the bottom of the board. Hold the board out in front of you so that your arms are straight and the rest of your body is in a prone position. Keep your head directly behind your hands and perform a flutter or frog kick. You should notice an improvement in the alignment of your body overall as you perform several laps at a time. Specialty alignment kickboards are also available. These are smaller and triangular-shaped and have a strap on top for your hands.

    Resistance Training

    A kickboard can be used to perform a variety of resistance training techniques. To exercise your abdominal and arm muscles, stand in chest deep water with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hold the kickboard so that the rounded edge is at your armpit and the end is in your hand. Hold the board at the end in an overhand grip. Keeping the board perpendicular to the pool bottom and your elbow close to your body, swing the board slowly but firmly so that the board is sticking out in front of you at a 90-degree angle to your body. Swing the board back to the starting position and repeat the exercise 12 to 15 times or as comfortable. Switch arms and repeat.
    Another exercise is a simple walking exercise. Stand in chest-deep water and hold the board out in front of you so that it is perpendicular to the pool floor. Walk with the board out in front of you, pushing it through the water, creating resistance as you walk. This improves both the strength and cardiovascular workout of underwater walking or running.

    About the Author

    Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.

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