One kick wonder . . . . .
Wisdom begins in wonder . . . . . Socrates
Cross Over v. Rhythmic Kick technique
We all know the standard 2 beat, 4 beat, and 6 beat kick. If you don’t, for every right and left pull you kick 2 or 4 or 6 times in correspondence to the arm strokes. Notoriously, a two beat kick was for distance and a 4 beat kick middle distance and a 6 beat kick reserved for sprinting. In the last few decades a sprinters’ kick (6 beat) started to be infused in some distance events.
Trent Grimsey, current World Record holder for the English Channel in 6:55 minutes; (21 miles) places swimmers in two categories, strong swimmers and rhythmic swimmers.
- Strong swimmers – slow stroke rate, very efficient, strong in the gym
- Rhythmic swimmers – high stroke rate, not overly efficient, weak in the gym
Advantages of Cross Over Kick Technique
Grimsey teaches all rhythmic swimmers he coaches to cross over kick for the following reasons:
1. More Efficient Body Position. Rhythmic swimmers have a higher stroke rate and the upper body slightly sits higher in the water, in turn making the legs sit slightly lower in the water. Performing cross over kick lifts the legs higher so the body position is better in the water.
2. Compliment Arm Rhythm. Rhythmic swimmers swim fast when they have good rhythm in their stroke. The cross over kick helps rhythmic swimmers stay in rhythm with their arms. It is like a tenuto in music. (a deliberate hold).
3. Reaching your Potential. Often you’ll find rhythmic swimmers not reaching their full potential because their coach is telling them to use a normal 2 beat, 4 beat or 6 beat kick. Rhythmic swimmers can’t find rhythm doing that and in turn can’t swim fast doing that.
4. Energy Efficiency. Standard kicking, 2-4-6 beat kicking is exhausting on the legs. In a triathlon or a distance swim standard kicking will not only exhaust the biggest muscles in your body that you will need to use later, standard kicking also does not keep them afloat with minimal or no added effort the way a cross over kick does.
5. Lengthens Stoke Pull. The cross over kick lengthens the pull of your stroke. As the hip lifts and the ankle crosses more length is available in the back of the stroke.
6. Balanced Rhythm. The rhythm is like a dance with minimal effort to find easy tempo and get a break or pause (tenuto) without compromising body position. For a 2 beat cross over; think of it like a waltz 1-2, cross. 1-2 cross.
7. Speed. Even if you fall into the strong category you can swim fast easier if you use a cross over kick.
Both authors of this article are cross over kickers and proud of it!