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Swimming Workouts Set #3: Kickboard Drills

Kickboard Drills for a Varied, Challenging Workout


Incorporating kickboards into your training routine can be a fun way to break up workout monotony. Kickboards help swimmers give their upper body a rest, yet simultaneously challenge the lower body and cardiovascular system. If you’re interested in working with a board, but aren’t sure how to start, then take a look at the workout examples and drills listed below. They’ll help you make the most out of your equipment and your time in the water.

The Aqua Sphere Sprint Kickboard makes a great companion for kickboard drills.

Kickboard drills are often performed with a more streamlined design. For more resistance, use a kickboard with a broader front end.


Kickboard drills can technically be used with any of the four major strokes. But because the dolphin kick requires a full body motion, the devices tend to work better with the flutter kick and with the breaststroke’s whip kick. Kickboards can also be used in a traditional horizontal position, or can be turned to the side for an even more challenging workout. Any of these kickboard drills can be mixed and matched to fit into your current routine. They’ll help enhance your cardio levels and allow you to develop a stronger, more efficient kick.


Body Positioning Drill

To perform this drill, place your hands on the ends of the kickboard with your arms fully extended. Instead of lifting your head the entire time, which can put stress on the neck and shoulders, place your head into the water with your ears along your outstretched arms. Begin kicking down the length of the pool. Instead of turning your head to breath as your normally would during the freestyle, lift your head straight up for air. This motion will actually help correct horizontal plane and result in less drag. A variation of this drill has swimmers breath from side to side, as the freestyle normally calls for. Try to see how little of your face you can lift out of the water. This drill is great for beginner swimmers who are uncomfortable with bilateral breathing.


Kickboard Hug Drill

This drill is great for swimmers who need a breather or two in between challenging sprint sets. To perform this drill, lie on your back and hug a buoyant kickboard to your chest. Your main goal is to keep your focus on the ceiling and your head pointed up and out of the water. This drill helps swimmers pull their hips up in the water and correct proper positioning for the backstroke. This drill also pulls double duty and helps strengthen and stabilize your core as well.


Tombstone Drill

This unique drill helps swimmers gain better sense of their body in the water. To perform this drill, hold the kickboard upright in front of the body, like a tombstone coming out of the water. Begin kicking the length of the pool and really focus on keeping the kickboard out of the water as much as possible. This drill helps swimmers with their balance and really gives the legs a heart pounding, challenging workout. A more advanced version of this drill has swimmers place the kickboard on its side. The longer side increases surface tension and allows high level swimmers to get the most out of their kickboards.


No matter your stroke of choice, kickboard drills and workouts will help you strengthen your legs and core, challenge your cardiovascular system, and help you work on body alignment. With so many benefits, you’d be crazy to not train with a kickboard!

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