Dolphin Kick Swimming for Beginners – Swim Like A Fish

    welcome back! Without a doubt, if you are new to the sport of swimming or have been swimming for a long time, you are working on improving your swimming with a dolphin kick. the dolphin kick is a mix of timing, technique, mobility and your anaerobic capacity. most swimmers now rely heavily on their dolphin kick during their runs. We may not all be the Michael Phelps of dolphin kicks, but having this technical tool in your pocket is a key component to swimming success.

    let’s get started!

    The dolphin kick has a very long history throughout swimming. while it may seem new to a beginner, it has actually been around for quite some time. To read more about the history of the dolphin kick and how it came to be, click here. Otherwise, let’s talk about when you can legally use it.

    Reading: How to dolphin kick

    what strokes use the dolphin kick swim?

    The easiest and most obvious stroke to answer this is butterfly. to swim a legal butterfly stroke, swimmers must use a dolphin kick. a dolphin kick is also seen in backstroke and freestyle races with underwater swimmers kicking walls. Also, you are now legally allowed to dolphin kick during a breaststroke retreat. That’s why I said what I said above: If you’re currently swimming and trying to improve, better be working on your swimming dolphin kick.

    what exactly is a dolphin kick?

    By definition, a dolphin kick is a swimming kick used primarily in butterfly, where the legs are extended backwards and move up and down in unison with a slight bend in the knees on the upward movement.

    according to the fina rules (sw. 8.3), all up and down leg movements must be simultaneous. the legs or feet do not need to be on the same level, but they should not alternate with each other. watch the video below:

    why kick dolphins?

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    a dolphin kick can produce speeds up to 25% faster than your freestyle kick. this is due to the fact that both legs come down and hit the water with a larger surface area. you get some help from the vortex of the waves produced by the downward motion, and you’re recruiting/using more muscles during this kick.

    Although a dolphin kick is similar to a freestyle kick in that the down kick generates most of the propulsion, you get more help from the up kick with two legs than with one. .

    You don’t believe us? try a 50 all out dolphin kick without a board, versus an all out 50 freestyle kick without a board and let us know how it went. make sure to keep the same number of underwater dolphin kick for both 50 as well. I would recommend wearing a snorkel and going streamlined on the surface as well for the 50s.

    how do i learn the dolphin kick?

    I would recommend that you start doing leg raises on land. similar to these below:

    I would start with 3×10 leg raises and maybe 3x:30 leg holds to build core strength.

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    From there I would recommend starting with the dolphin kick in the pool and incorporating the use of the upper body with the undulation. try this drill using a board and pole to help learn the flow and toe point required with the dolphin kick. I’d try 8×25 like this with enough rest to get you started.

    Finally, I would try diving underwater for some dolphin kicks to start working on your anaerobic capacity. from there I would start swimming one lap and try a few reps of that. maybe 4×50 to start.

    how to improve your dolphin kick swim?

    As we said when we started this blog, having a great dolphin kick requires good timing, technique, mobility, and aerobic capacity. technically, you want your swimmers to be able to have the core strength to sustain the movement of the legs up and down together. in addition, the anaerobic engine to be comfortable in a situation of lack of oxygen. on top of that, you need pointy toes or high plantar flexion to really move some water with your feet. then you have to practice, practice and practice the flow of your dolphin kick, to create that nice flow and undulating movement.

    Be sure to keep an eye out for next week’s post as we discuss why swimming underwater with dolphin kicks is faster than above!

    until next time,

    abbie fish

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