Vertical Kicking (VK) Swim Drill

Vertical kicking (VK) is a part of the static posture and balance swim drills.  Most adult swimmers waste a lot of energy on kicking.  They tend to use the kick for the wrong reasons, which encourages incorrect leg motions such as bicycle kicking or kicking from the knees.  Vertical kicking will help teach you effective kicking motions while it conditions precisely the right muscles.  As you are learning this drill, use full-size training swim fins.

As the name indicates, this is a kicking drill in a vertical position.  Go to a deep section of the pool where your feet cannot touch the bottom. Place one hand on top of the other on your chest and start kicking.  The goal is to keep your head above the water surface, the water just below your chin and with your nose pointed straight forward.  Check you aquatic posture - tall and tight just like a soldier walking on land.  Keep your hips directly under your shoulders; do not lean forward or backward.

The standard kick used for , and for this swim drill, is called flutter kicking.  The word kick refers to the action of driving your leg forward from behind your body plane to an equidistance in front of your body plane.  As one leg kicks, the other leg recovers.  The legs alternate their opposing kick and recovery motions in a continuous rhythm. Each kick should originate predominantly form your hips allowing your knee to yield slightly to the pressure of the water as the leg kicks forward.  There should be no knee bend at all in the recovery portion of the kick cycle.

Vertical Kick from the Hips

Kick mainly from the hips and keep your ankles loose. A small, fast kick is better than a larger, slower kick.  Start in short 15 seconds kick followed by a rest and repeat many times.  Vertical kicking is excellent to do early in your training.  It is physically demanding.  Your survival instincts will tell your neuromuscular system which motions are most effective at keeping your mouth and nose in the air.  

Once you have mastered the vertical kick holding a tight-line fashion with long fins, master it with short blade fins and then, bare feet.


1.  If your nose is pointed anywhere but straight forward and horizontal to the water surface, then you have tilted your head off of your tight line.

2.  If your are bobbing up and down a bit with each kick, then your kicks are too large.  You need to keep them compact.

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