Kicking Sets for Triathletes



A balanced kicking technique and proper leg strength are two key assets of elite triathletes. There are many specialty fins and kickboards to help you develop each properly.

Quick Tip

Fins can help beginner triathletes improve body position, increase leg strength and swim for longer distances and extended periods of time.

Generally, most triathletes hardly use their legs in the water. It makes sense because it conserves energy, but ultimately your legs can make a big difference in the open water.

Here are a few instances when a strong kick is beneficial:

  • Swimming against an oncoming current or tidal surge
  • Helping maintain a streamlined body position through undulating ocean swells or turbulent surface chop
  • Catching a wave to bodysurf in towards the beach
  • Getting into position before rounding a turn buoy while in a large pack
  • Moving ahead of your competition while approaching the T1 transition
  • Sprinting ahead of a competitor drafting off you or dropping a pack
  • Catching up to a competitor ahead of you
  • Generating body heat when the water is cold

It's simple: If you want to pick up the pace, move your legs faster. Fins can help beginner triathletes improve body position, increase leg strength and swim for longer distances and extended periods of time. More experienced triathletes can do fast burst vertical kicking sets with fins rather than just cruising easily up and down the pool with a low heart rate.

Here are some sample kicking sets designed to help with speed, stamina, strength and awareness:

1. Pool Kicking Sets

To develop speed:

  • 1 x 25 easy + 1 x 25 fast
  • 1 x 25 easy + 1 x 50 fast
  • 1 x 25 easy + 1 x 75 fast
  • 1 x 25 easy + 1 x 100 fast

To develop stamina:

  • 1 x 25 easy + 30 seconds vertical kicking (hands in or out of water)
  • 1 x 25 easy + 30 seconds vertical kicking (wrists or elbows out of water)

To develop strength:

  • 10 x 25 kicking with KAATSU Aqua Bands (all strokes)
  • 3 sets of vertical kicking with KAATSU Aqua Bands
  • Aqua-jogging with KAATSU Aqua Bands in shallow water
  • 3 x 60 seconds of treading water with KAATSU Aqua Bands
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About the Author

Steven Munatones

Steven Munatones is a multi-time USA Swimming national open water swim team coach, NBC Olympics marathon swimming commentator, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee and 1982 world 25K swimming champion. He created the Open Water Swimming Dictionary, Open Water Source and The Daily News of Open Water Swimming. He is also founder of the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Steven Munatones is a multi-time USA Swimming national open water swim team coach, NBC Olympics marathon swimming commentator, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee and 1982 world 25K swimming champion. He created the Open Water Swimming Dictionary, Open Water Source and The Daily News of Open Water Swimming. He is also founder of the World Open Water Swimming Association.

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