Freestyle swimming leg action, technique for freestyle

by Kev


I'm getting frustrated with freestyle. It's a stroke I've never been able to crack yet I can swim a mile of breaststroke.

As someone pointed at my pool, my legs are sinking too low in the water because I'm not kicking from the hip, so my arms are working overtime pulling me forward and keeping me afloat. I lift weights three times a week and run 3/4 times a week so I'm used to generating a lot of power and momentum from my knees.

I've been swimming this morning and when I kick on my back looking at my feet my technique looks fine. Flip over on my front and my legs feel like they've got lead weights on them. The best I can manage with my poor technique is 1 and a half lengths of a 20m pool before I'm panting like an asthmatic or swallowed half the pool.

For this week I've swam 4 times in as many days and aim to put in 5 sessions a week to crack it, plus I've given the weights and running a complete miss to focus entirely on swimming and I'm prepared to do that for the foreseeable if it helps.

One last final thought, you say tat

Any advice welcome.

Hi Kev,

thanks for getting in touch, there can be a few reasons for your legs sinking. Just because you are not kicking from the hips doesn’t mean this is why your legs are sinking.

Think of your head as a sea saw with your legs. So your head is too high legs will be too low, if head is to low legs will be coming out of the water splashing too much.

Legs do not create propulsion they simple keep you vertical hence legs sinking, leg action also stops your legs from moving from side to side (lateral deviation) in other words keeps you in straight line.

Legs give only about 5% of propulsion. Yes legs action must come from the hips no bendy knees but also your head position is important. Even if your legs are correct and you are kicking from your hips if your head is in wrong position you will still have legs that sink causing much drag. Keep your head looking at floor but slightly looking forward.

One last thought, you say that you like to keep fit and do weights, do you have quite muscular legs? This can cause legs to sink. Muscle weighs 3x more than fat. This is why women who naturally have more fat then men float better than men and have better body position in the water.....

Anyway let me know how you get on and if you managed to decide why your legs are sinking and if you manage to correct will be good for others to lean about freestyle swimming leg action.

Hope this helps any other questions then please get back in touch

Dale :)

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Nov 19, 2014
Sinking legs
by: Kevin

I probably do have a bit of muscle mass in my legs and a low body fat % too (around 12%) at around 13st and 5'7 tall. From next week I'm changing my gym routine to help with the swimming to try and lose a little weight. I'll pay attention to my head position too next time I'm in the pool. Thanks.


You're most welcome :)


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