1.) Work on your plantar flexibility

Performing an ankle stretch to increase plantar flexion will help improve your flutter and dolphin kicks. The more plantar flexion your feet have, the larger the surface area you have to kick with.

Perform this stretch by sitting on the tops of your  feet on a soft surface. If you have knee sensitivity, put a block or kickboard in between your thighs and calves. Gently rock your body weight over the tops of your feet attempting to lift your knees as far away from the ground as possible.

If you have knee pain, avoid sitting on your feet. Sit in a chair and curl your toes down. Push the top of your foot away from you. This is another way to perform the same stretch with less pressure on you knee joints. 

Caution: this stretch is not stretching any muscles—strictly tendons. Tendon sare not like a muscle—they aren’t as elastic. It is important to be very gentle with this stretch and work your way up to holding it for 30 seconds. Try 3×15 seconds to start and build from there.

2.) Kick on your side

Break down your kick sets into sets with and without a board. Spend some time kicking without a board on your side. Change up the side you are kicking on too. By kicking on your side, you will be able to notice if you are kicking in both directions. And also, how much of your upper body is moving.

Side kicking will increase your awareness of your body in the water, along with, help strengthen the upward phase of your kick.

3.) Vertical kick

Another great way of kicking is to perform a vertical kick. Similar to kicking on your side, vertical kicking helps create body awareness and whether you are kicking in both directions.

More specifically, vertical kicking helps a swimmer understand whether or not they are pointing their toes. Pointing your toes is very important in swimming, as the surface area of the foot is what creates the propulsion that drives a swimmer forward.

Vertical kick sets help add variety into workouts and change the body position of a swimmer. You can still get a great kicking workout in with vertical kicking. Try adding in a medicine ball or weight. Or try vertical kicking in a streamline.

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