Kick Timing Deconstructed (Step 2 of 3)
Notes for this week:
1. You should definitely have done last week.
2. You might consider doing some more reading and completing the initial skills and workouts of the program.
3. You don't need to do the mind grinder, but it's there. You should. 

Workout shorthand and many other explanatory videos are HERE.

The main technical activity this week is what is known as the “1-Beat kick”. We also introduce “Pulse-Kicking”, a technique that advances your ability to turn the legs on and off at will while swimming.

In these and future drills, we will use the term “STROKE CYLE”. In freestyle, a “STROKE” refers to a single arm pull, while a “CYCLE” refers to two arm pulls: 1 right and 1 left. Thus, two strokes make 1 complete cycle.

The 1-beat kick is a special case of the “SWIM w/1-legged kick” drill from last week. With 1-BEAT, we are only allowed to kick once per stroke cycle (in other words, 1 kick every 2 pulls). When thus limited, we have to make sure that we put it in the right place – the timing will become apparent when you get it – hint: the kick should come when the arm on the same side is pulling. This is the cornerstone drill for learning proper timing in any style of Australian crawl.

That said, the perfect timing is individual to some degree, based on your body composition. So, for this week, rather than try to prescribe a proper timing goal, the swimmers objective is to simply experiment with the 1-beat kick, seeing what timing feels natural.

Swim with Pulse Kick

Swimming with a “PULSE KICK” – This is not only a great drill for refining timing, but also a technique that is used by many successful distance swimmers. Generally, pulse kicking involves changing the kick rhythm that you are using between sets of stroke cycles. In this introduction, we are alternating between pulling (0 kicks per cycle), to swimming (whatever number of kicks per cycle you naturally use).

Basic Description: Swim while changing changing the kick rhythm that you are using between sets of stroke cycles. In the basic form, we alternate 6 strokes (3 cycles) of pull only with 6 strokes of swim (0 kicks per cycle), with 6 strokes of swimming (whatever number of kicks per cycle you naturally use).

As we progress, we will be able to alternate between specific numbers of kicks per cycle. This forces us to be adept at turning the kick on and off while maintaining a continuous, fluid pull. In this way, the pulse-kick is a counter-balance to the mode of operation of the Statue of Liberty drill, where we turned the pull on and off while maintaining the legs. However, both of these drills target the legs, as it is they who will bear the brunt of any awkwardness in your motions, thus, the kick is not only the “goal” here, but also, the “indicator”.

Once you get comfortable with pulse kicking, you may find that it is actually quite fun, and may allow you to add variation to workouts, without compromising speed (try pulse-kicking at masters workout during a swim set). Pulse-kicking can also be effective in the open water when conditions are a bit rough: you can use a high intensity kick to push yourself over the swells, then rest the legs by pulling or swimming with a low intensity kick for a few cycles, getting ready for the next swell.

After all of this technically challenging, timing work, the main set is an opportunity to relax and find your groove. The “mind-grinder” is a staple workout from my days as a young coach and swimmer in Northern Delaware. The “micro mind-grinder” is essentially 7 x 200, broken into various chunks (this is a small variation on the basic set: the classic “mind grinder” is 7 x 1,000 – but I digress). With nothing but :10 rest between swims, and an ascending pattern of distance coupled with a descending pattern of repeats, your body can settle in to the set, and you will soon find yourself cruising along at just the right effort level.


Videos:

Pulse Kicking
http://tinyurl.com/nembe8d

Pulse Hard / Easy -
http://tinyurl.com/ow473zh

Pulse 1 beat / Swim -
http://tinyurl.com/p2wmamo

Swim w 1 bt -
http://tinyurl.com/q7aqzjv

FINDING FREESTYLE
PRIMARY WORKOUT - WEEK #4

WARMUP
1 X 200 CHOICE :20 REST
4 X 50 on: 15 REST
ODD – 3-BEAT KICK w/BOARD (from week 1)
1 X 100 SWIM, BREATHING EVERY 3/4/5/CHOICE BY 25
REST :30

TECHNIQUE/INSTRUCTION
ALL ON :10 - :15 REST
6/10 X 25 SWIM w/ 1-BEAT KICK (1-LEG, 1-PER CYCLE)
6/10 X 25 SWIM w/ PULSE KICK (CHOICE)
(6 STROKES SWIM w/ NORMAL KICK / 6 STROKES PULL) or (6 STROKES SWIM W/1 BEAT / 6 STROKES PULL)

CONDITIONING – MICRO “MIND GRINDER”
Ease into your pacing on this, make sure that you don’t go too hard on the first half, so
that you have something left for the way back down.
8 X 25 SWIM on :10 REST
4 X 50 SWIM on :10 REST
2 X 100 SWIM on :10 REST
1 X 200 done as 50 SWIM / 50 6-6 PULSE (CHOICE) :10 REST
2 X 100 SWIM on :10 REST
4 X 50 SWIM on :10 REST
8 X 25 SWIM on :10 REST

1 x 100 EASY SWIM OUT