Try This Vertical Kicking Set That Will Leave Your Legs Shaking

Level up your kick with this gongshow of a vertical kick workout that will leave your legs quivering, your kick much-improved, and hungrier than a Hungry-Hungry hippo.

Welp, recently after a solid night of sleep I sat up slowly and with a sinking and churning feeling in my belly—I had tweaked my neck/bottom of my trap sleeping funny on it. That’s what happens when ya double stack pillows, I guess.

Anyhoo, having talked about the importance of being able to train around injury and being a hard worker and all that I figured I would put my mouth where my money is (or something like that), and destroy my legs at the pool regardless of how my neck was feeling.

My trusty green kickboard was out of the equation, and the fact that I don’t trust the local lap swimmers at the YMCA to properly follow the lane directions kicking with a swimmer’s snorkel was out too.

Might as well pound out a nasty vertical kicking session then!

If you’ve been around these parts before there is a chance that you stumbled upon the Auburn sprint set that I once did and (barely) survived, so you know I am into destroying myself in the name of amusing you guys.

60 Minutes of Vertical Kicking Super Fun

The workout took just over an hour, and this is the equipment I had on hand for it:

  • My trusty pair of DragSox.
  • A 20lb brick.
  • My relatively haggard-looking swim fins.

Things I wish I had on hand:

The workout was a full-blown assault on my legs with varying levels of resistance, weight, and toys. The goal was to improve endurance, power and speed of both my freestyle and butterfly kicks.



Aaaaand here we go:

Part 1

20 minutes “warm-up” as–

  • with DragSox
  • on :45 on/:15 sec rest
  • alternating dolphin kick/freestyle kick

2 minutes rest.

Part 2

10 minutes as–

  • vertical Zona kick drill (this is basically single leg kicking; kick with right leg, left arm streamlined above your head–awesome for stability and core work)
  • Alternating left/right legs by round
  • w. fins
  • :45 on/:15 off

3 minutes rest.

Part 3

10 minutes as–

  • w. Fins + DragSox
  • :45 on/:15 sec rest
  • Alternate dolphin kick/flutter kick by round

3 minutes rest.

Part 4

20 minutes as–

  • :15 sec on/:15 sec off
  • The goal was high tempo (but really, it was keeping my face out of the water to breathe)!
  • Holding 20lb brick as close to possible out of the water
  • Alternating dolphin kick/freestyle kick by round

15 minute chill on the stationary bike to flush out legs.

While it didn’t leave me debilitated like the Auburn set did, I did leave the pool with an interesting twitch and quiver in my calves, a hankering for anything that even looked like a carbohydrate, and most importantly, I had a great sleepy sleep later on with one non-neck spazzing pillow.

Would you like more help with your kick?

I’ve accumulated a ton of resources on this site, from reasons to kick more, proven ways to improve your kick, and all sorts of sets and workouts to help ya out.

Whether you are a freestyler, breaststroker, or want to master the underwater fly kick, there is a ton of stuff here to help.

Here are just some of them:


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About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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