Since we conceptualize the most common form of the 4-beat kick as a hybrid between a 2 beat and a 6-beat kick, we will first use swimming with a pulse-kick as a tool to help us explore the the unique timing needs of the 4-beat.
We will also benefit greatly from a mastery of the 6-beat as a means of preparing ourselves for doing the 4-beat, thus, there will be a substantial emphasis on the 6-beat in this workout, and throughout the block. Even though the 6-beat kick can be the most demanding of kicks, you can expect to see more of the 6-beat in easy swimming and warm down portions of the workouts.
4 Beat Kick w/Board Video:
1 X 300/600 ALT 50 SWIM / 25 F&P
12 x 25 KICK w/BOARD on :10 REST
3x 4-beat kick
3x 3-beat kick
16 X 50 on :10 REST
4 @ 6-6 PULSE alt. 1 BT / 6 BT
4 @ 5-6 (same)
4 @ 4-6 (same)
4 @ 3-6 (same)
1 X 400/600/800 PULL N/S (buoy optional)
4/8 X 25 SWIM FAST on :10 REST
ODD - w/6 BT kick
EVEN - CHOICE KICK
1 X 200/400 EASY CHOICE
This week's technical fitness workout contains a test set to evaluate how kicking impacts your swimming speed. Theoretically, more kicking = more speed, but in practice this is not universal, and for some individuals the relationship is inverse (MORE = LESS and LESS = MORE).
Additionally, there is often a price to be paid for this extra speed, and depending on the distance of your event (and whether or not you have to get on your bike immediately afterwards), the elements in the equation shift substantially. In more technical terms, the “metabolic cost” of your kick has to be weighed against the gain in speed. All this said, the use of a minimal kick such as a 1-beat or a 2-beat can provide substantial benefit to your speed, while impacting your exertion level minimally. In fact, a properly timed kick may actually INCREASE your efficiency. As the countless laps of 1-beat, 2-beat, pulse-kicking, etc. indicate, it is this increase in efficiency that we are seeking in the Finding Freestyle program. By timing a set of swims using a range of kick frequencies, this test set has been designed as a means of helping you quantify the benefits of varying levels of kicking in your stroke. The basic test set looks like this:
3 X 50 PULL FAST
1 X 200 SWIM EASY
3 X 50 1-BEAT fast
1 X 200 25 SWIM / 25 PULSE EASY
3 X 50 SWIM FAST
1 X 200 25 SWIM EASY / 25 KICK ON BK
When doing this set, observe your times and calculate an average time for each level of kicking. Be aware of “break points”, that is, places where the addition or subtraction of kicks no longer produces a linear response in terms of speed. Meter your speeds so that you are going fast, but not so hard that your speed drops off at the end of the set due to fatigue, not lack of proper timing. Advanced athletes may opt to do this set twice through, doing SWIM on the 2nd set of fast 50s and 1-BEAT on the 3rd set of fast 50s during the second round to account for fatigue.
Obviously, we want the type of break points that produce a large gain in speed with a minimal increase in kicking (or kick effort). Similarly, depending on the length of your target event, you may wish to weigh the speed gains versus the energy cost for kick frequencies that have the opposite type of break points – i.e., larger exertions, with only small gains in speed. A more primary benefit of this exercise is that it will provide you feedback as to how well your kicking actually works. It is not uncommon for swimmers to experience a “maximal” at the 1-beat kick, that is, they are faster using a 1-beat than they are pulling or using a 2,4 or 6-beat. Obviously, this provides you with a road map indicating your areas of potential improvement – an opportunity. To paraphrase my freshmen year calculus teacher: “when you encounter a problem such as this, what do you do? PUNT?” – let's hope not (in calc, I did). Use this as an opportunity to provide you with a concrete, attainable goal. The old saying "Timing is Everything" is very relevant here. If you do NOT gain additional speed from the addition of kicks over a 1-BEAT, there is a glaring need for better timing. Better timing in the kick for sure, but looking at the stroke holistically, better timing of the arms, legs, torso and head. Be observant of what your body is telling you during this test set, not only looking at the clock (the effects), but also try to be aware of what is transpiring within your own body (the cause).
1 x 600 ALT 50 SWIM / 25 3-6 SoL REST :60
8 x 25 F&P w/HL on :10 REST
1 x 300 ALT 25 6-6 PULSE (1 BT L/ R) / 25 PULL
TEST SET (variations give 1,050-2,700)
3 X 50 PULL FAST on :10 REST
1 X 200/300 SWIM EASY REST :20
3 X 50 SWIM w/ 1 BT FAST on :10 REST
1 X 200/300 ALT 25 SWIM / 25 6-6 PULSE EASY (choice) REST :20
3 X 50 SWIM FAST on :10 REST
1 X 200/300 ALT 25 SWIM EASY / 25 KOB
1 x 400/600 ALT 25 FSBA (3 strokes right/ 3 strokes left)/ 75 SWIM
This HD workout takes a break from all of the kick rhythm work, and gives a set of 12x75 PULL FAST, as the main set. Feel free to add a pull-buoy if it floats your boat.
1 x 400 ALT 50 SWIM / 50 PULL REST :15
1 x 200 SWIM, ALT 25 w/1 BT / 25 w/6 BT
12 x 75 PULL, FAST on :10 REST
1 x 100 EASY SWIM
This block follows on some of the previous work, building longer swim endurance, however, this week we throw in a little bit of what one might call middle-distance speed work.
Descending 200s are a main-stay of swim training, the fast iterations of this set will give you an opportunity to push a high speed, while also stretching your ability to maintain that speed. In between these 200s, we go back to a set of 25s where you alternate fast pulling, and swimming with some complementary drills.
1 x 600 ALT 50 CHOICE / 25 SWIM w/1 BT
6 x 50 KICK, DEC 1-3 on :15 REST
4 x 75 SWIM w/1,2,3 SB by 25 on :10 REST
MAIN SET (variations 2,550 - 3,750)
3/4/5 x 200 SWIM, DES 1-3/4/5 on :20 REST
10 x 25 on :15 REST
ODD - PULL FAST
EVEN - 3-6 SoL
3/4/5 x 200 PULL, DES. 1-3/4/5 on :20 REST
10 x 25 on :15 REST
ODD - SWIM FAST
EVEN - F&P
3/4/5 x 200 SWIM, ALT 100 w/6 BT / 100 CHOICE BT on :20 REST
10 x 25 on :15 REST
ODD - PULL FAST
EVEN - EASY SWIM w/6 BT
1 x 300 EASY
We will revisit last weeks workout, since the "splicing" of the 1-beat and 6-beat into a pulse kick should create a bit of challenge for you.
Again we will do a set that requires you to do the 1-beat/6-beat pulse kick with a combination of even and odd numbers between changes of kick rhythm. We will move down to a 3-3 pulse this time, where you will do 3 arm pulls using a 1-beat kick, and then 3 arm pulls using a 6-beat kick. These are relatively quick changes, and may prove a bit difficult, probably offering you considerably more challenge than a 4-beat will!
1 X 400 ALT 50 CHOICE / 50 6-6 PULSE (pull/swim) REST :45
12 X 25 on :10 REST
ODD – SWIM, BR EV 5
EVEN - HU2B
9 X 50 PULL, DES 1-3 on :10 REST
1-3 BR EV 2 ON RIGHT
4-6 BR EV 2 ON LEFT
7-9 BR EV 3RD
16 X 50 PULSE ALT 1 BT / 6 BT on :10 REST
4 @ 6-6
4 @ 5-5
4 @ 4-4
4 @ 3-6
5 X 100 on :15 REST
ODD - PULL
EVEN - SWIM w/2 BT
4 X 25 SWIM FAST on :15 REST
1 X 100 EASY
A melange of kick rhythms, used over larger distances (100-200) will put you into a mode that will strengthen your ability to use alternative kick rhythms. Normally, when we do things like the 1-beat kick, we will do it as 25s or 50s, but doing this for an entire set of 150s will cause your body to fatigue in novel ways, hopefully causing your body-brain to adapt in novel ways.
One of the components of the main set asks you to do either 2 or 6-beat, whichever is NOT your norm. If you generally use a 4-beat, choose either, or even mix it up by 25s.
1 X 800 ALT 50 SWIM / 50 HL PULL REST :60
9 X 50 on :10 REST
#1 – 1-6 SoL
#2 – FSBA, 25R / 25L
#3 – SWIM w/2 SB per 25
3 X 200 PULL on :20 REST
3 X 150 SWIM w/1 BT on :15 REST
3 X 100 SWIM w/LPR on:10 REST
6 x 50 SWIM, DES 1-3 on:10 REST
3 X 100 PULL, DES 1-3 on :15 REST
3 X 150 ALT 25 6-6 PULSE (choice) / 25 SWIM on :20 REST
3 X 200 SWIM DES 1-3 on :30 REST
1 X 300 ALT 25 HL F&P / 75 SWIM w/FAST BREAKOUTS
Put on some fins and have some fun! Well, let's be serious, fins ARE fun, but they also offer a particularly insightful view into the role played by our feet. The power stemming from the fins can really amplify your sensation of the feet and how they integrate with the arms. Taking a day like this every so often to focus on the legs makes for some interesting observations - but be observant! Fins are so powerful that some folks can forget that they even have arms, and just let the legs dominate the stroke. The goal is to allow the fins to shift your awareness subtly in the direction of the legs, but to still maintain a sense of what the legs are doing in context of the arms, torso and head. The fins will force you to slow your tempo down a bit, which is also a nice challenge to your system. If you can not tolerate so much fin work, mix the set up a bit, instead of doing 2 x 150 of each activity in pairs as it is prescribed, do 1 x 150 of each activity without fins, then go through 1 x 150 of each activity with fins.
1 X 500 ALT 100 CHOICE / 25 F&P REST :45
PUT ON FINS
8 X 150 on :15 REST
2 @ KICK
2 @ SWIM w/2 BT
2 @ ALT 50 1-6 SoL / 50 HU2B / 50 3-6 SoL
2 @ SWIM FAST
1 X 100 EASY