Realistically, underwater dolphin kicks can account for up to 60% of a race (in yards). There is a reason why swimmers are limited to only 15 yards/meters of underwater dolphin kicks: they are much faster than regular swimming on the water’s surface. Here are 5 basic ways to jumpstart your dolphin kick…
1. Think like a dolphin
Basic, but vital. Like I tell the 8 of unders I coach: you are a dolphin. Dolphins don’t have legs. They have a tail. Keep your legs together and think of yourself as one straight line.
Nothing strengthens your core like classic sit-ups. Your core is the part of your body that’s doing most of the work underwater, so it’s important to keep it as strong as possible. Classic sit-ups are a great place to start building core power. As you develop, there are numerous exercises you can do to build and maintain core strength.
3. Squeeze your abs
Engage your core muscles. Keep them tight. That way, your kicks are more effective.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Set a goal for yourself and stick to it as closely as possible. Aim for three kicks off every wall for a whole practice. Sound easy? It’s hard to resist the temptation of zoning out during a long practice. Once you’ve mastered three kicks off of every wall, strive for four, five, and so on. Some elite swimmers can kick 10-11 dolphin kicks over each wall.
5. Tighten your streamline
Squeeze your ears. Your streamline is what guides you through the water and in order to move effectively, your streamline should be as tight, thin and smooth as possible.