Would my swim improve in I had my legs amputated?

OK, a bit of a flippant title, but I', seriously considering it unless someone can help me with my swim kick. 2nd season of triathlons and I've really worked on my swimming, given I'm moving up to OD including 2 open water sea swims at Llandudno and the Angelsey Sandman.

Tonight was the first time I've thrown drills in to the mix and it was a bit of an eye opener.

Main set 10 x 100 @ 2min with 10 sec rest. Absolutely fine. Now take the kick out of the equation using a pull buoy and I was doing 50s in 1 minute flat...EXACTLY THE SAME FRIGGING PACE!

Is it really possible that my kicking has NO IMPACT WHAT SO EVER? Please help before I go tie myself to the train track and rid myself of these useless appendages!!!


  • Well they are not slowing you down! Good news!
  • You might find your legs less "useless" in the other two disciplines, I tend to find pedalling with my arms really difficult ( I can't see where I'm going)
  • i am quicker with a pool buoy... They lift your thighs and feet and make you more streamlined and therefore faster.

    All the kick really does is keep your feet up.......  It only adds power if you are a really good swimmer.......
    Being streamlined is the most important thing.

    Your times are about the same as mine.... we are still in the crap swimmer category where technique is more important than force - our mechanics / streamlining are ok, but can be better.   (remember 10 year old girls swim faster than us......... its all about technique!)

  • Gastank, I'm not ruling out that method for the bike...anything to help.

    O.RC you managed to build me up and knock me down so quickly. I'll take the silver lining that I'm matching my pull buoy time sans flotation aid and wipe the rest from my fragile memory, the ego can't take it.

    Just wasting time on YouTube and there are some useful vids on simple flutter kick technique that I'll try out tomorrow
  • stanners - look at this recent thread - you'll find a few people don't bother with the kick as it slows us down


    I'm quicker when I don't kick and always use a pullbuoy in the pool
  • I'm also much quicker with a pullbuoy than without.....heard it is a bloke thing which doesn't help that I'm supposed to be a lady
  • Isn't it to do with how well you float.  Women generally have higher body fat so we float better, floating better gives you a more streamlined flat body position in the water so you swim more efficiently.  Using a buoy aids your body position so you swim more efficiently.  I have also hear that over a longer distance the kick is a lot about keeping you level in the water so you pull better, but in a sprint distance is more important for propulsion. 

    I think it's worth trying to improve your kick, cos even if you're not going to kick loads you still want to maintain as streamlined a position as possible and get whatever help you can from the kick.  Do you do kick drills?

  • Thanks Buddah.

    have started doing lengths with the kick board to try and help build glute strength. Session planned for tonight and will be the focus of the drills

    Thanks again
  • it does pay off to do kick drills. I didn't move AT ALL just using leg kick, now I can do a couple of lengths or so with just a leg kick and no kick board or any float aid at all. quite chuffed with that. don't need to use my arms at all, even to balance for breathing image I'm not a fast swimmer though but it is nice to know the legs are actually starting to do something
  • Well my kick is pathetic and I hardly move when just kicking. However stick on a pair of swim flippers (Masters coach uses them for about 6 lengths out of 50) and I am away like a rocket. Quickest in lane (2nd slowest lane) by a decent margin. Take flippers off and I'm at the back kicking and not going anywhere.

    Ankle flexibility is an issue for me.

    So assuming you aren't moving to Spain don't worry the wetsuit will lift the legs and you will rocket along quite happily. Save the legs for the bike and run.

    As the distances get longer saving the legs is more important.


  • Fellow forum members,

    Thanks all for your replies. I had a session in the pool this morning and essentially reduced my kicks to nothing. The difference it made in terms of energy used to swim 1k was immense.

    I used it to help with the rotation and that was it, so thanks to your combined words of wisdom, I may not be faster but based on one session of feedback, I am swimming more efficiently.

    I'll continue to do some kick board drills as part of my core work and any gains I get will be a bonus.

    Cheers again
  • guys when im racing i dont kick when i swim as i have a screw in my knee which hurts when kick but if im looking at 70.3 and IM is the really an option or am i goin to have to try work with my legs???
  • for longer races most people seem to kick less ... just a flutter kick for balance if anything ...

    ... although an occasional strong kick can be handy in putting people off the idea of swimming over you image
  • IF you really want to see how much benefit you get from your legs, get an old bike inner tube, and cut a 400mm length from it, and tie it into a loop. When you swim next, use the loop to tie both of your ankles together, and then try swimming without any ankle movement at all, and you see how much of impact it has on your overall body position. Most people think they don't kick when swimming, they may not kick to get propulsion, but they will have a very little flutter kick that will aid their body position.
  • I don't think i kick.......you wouldn't notice as you were always in front of me.in fact in colder weather I seem to cross my ankles over to keep my feet warm.not sure a kick would work in that position.......image
  • How is the river, I need to get back into the OW soon, and now the weather looks like it's improving,
  • I haven't been able to go the last month as I haven't been able to get anyone to walk the bank for me.....OH is busy marathon training.......but will get back as soon as possible........let me know if you want to go anytime and i will try and get there
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