What Does Swimming with a Kickboard Do?

Swimming with a kickboard is a focused exercise that engages the lower body and improves leg strength and kicking technique.

A kickboard provides buoyancy and allows you to concentrate on your lower body movements without the need to coordinate full-body strokes. This targeted approach helps build endurance in your legs and further improves your overall swimming technique.

Incorporating a kickboard into your swim sessions can yield significant health and fitness benefits. It elevates the heart rate, contributing to cardiovascular health, and allows for concentrated training sessions by isolating specific muscles.

Additionally, proper use of a kickboard can improve body positioning and breathing, enhancing your swimming efficiency and possibly reducing the risk of injury.

Key Takeaways

  • Kickboards target lower body workout, increasing leg strength.
  • Regular kickboard use boosts cardiovascular health and refines swimming technique.
  • Proper technique with kickboards can lead to better body positioning and safer training.

Kickboard Fundamentals

When you integrate a kickboard into your swim training, you’re embracing a tool designed for targeted leg workouts and improved buoyancy in the water.

What Is a Kickboard?

A kickboard is a flotation device typically made of foam, which provides buoyancy and support in the water. Its primary function is to isolate your lower body, allowing you to concentrate on leg strength and kicking technique.

Types of Kickboards

There are several types of kickboards available, each designed with specific features to aid in your swim training:

  • Standard Kickboards: These are rectangular and flat, offering a stable surface. They are versatile for all levels of swimmers.
  • Ergonomic Kickboards: These have contoured designs for a more comfortable grip and often accommodate different holding positions.
  • Swim Training Kickboards: Some kickboards may include features such as hand slots or channels to enhance your swim workout.

Applications in Swimming

Using kickboards can be beneficial for various applications in your swimming routine.

  1. Technique Improvement: They help in emphasizing leg movement, correct body positioning, and refining the flutter kick.
  2. Endurance and Strength Training: By supporting the upper body, kickboards enable you to focus on powering through the water with your legs.
  3. Swimming Drills: Kickboards can be used to perform specific drills that improve your overall swimming proficiency.

Remember, while kickboards offer numerous benefits, it’s important to maintain a balanced swimming routine that also includes full-body workouts.

Swimming Techniques and Drills

Utilizing a kickboard during swim practices can refine your technique and enhance specific muscle strength.

It allows for concentrated focus on leg movements and stroke improvement across various swim styles.

Kickboard Drills for Different Strokes

  • Flutter Kick: Improve your freestyle and backstroke lower body technique with flutter kick drills. Using the kickboard, you maintain a horizontal position in the water, which is ideal for practicing consistent and efficient kicks.
    • Freestyle: Focus on small, rapid kicks from the hips while maintaining a straight leg with slight knee bend.
    • Backstroke: Similar to the freestyle, but performed on your back, emphasizing continuous movement without pausing between kicks.
  • Breaststroke Kick: This drill helps to develop the powerful, whip-like motion needed for the breaststroke. It also aids in building the inner thigh and hamstring muscles that are crucial for this stroke.
    • Exercise: Practice the “frog kick” by bending your knees, turning your feet out, and snapping them together, propelling yourself forward.
  • Dolphin Kick: A key component of butterfly, the dolphin kick drill with a kickboard assists you in mastering the undulating body motion starting from your core down to your toes.
    • Technique: Keep your legs together and push them in a wave-like motion, engaging your core muscles for momentum.
  • Backstroke Kick: Target your backstroke technique with focused kick drills, supporting your balance and improving leg strength.
    • Execution: With straight legs, alternate your kicks, aiming for a continuous flutter motion, not too wide, ensuring fluidity and consistency.

Improving Technique with a Kickboard

Kickboard drills give you the opportunity to isolate your legs and concentrate on proper kicking mechanics.

Practice consistent, productive kicking without the need to synchronize with arm strokes. This isolation boosts propulsion and can lead to notable improvements in overall speed and endurance across all strokes, such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

Common Beginner Mistakes

When starting with kickboard drills, beginners often encounter a few common errors:

  1. Excessive Bending: Keep your knees moderately straight during flutter and backstroke kicks; excessive bending can reduce efficiency.
  2. Incorrect Posture: Maintaining a straight back is essential; slouching can disrupt your body alignment and hinder your progress.
  3. Overkicking: Use controlled, purposeful kicks rather than large, splashy ones. Aim for precise movements driven by your hips rather than just your feet.

By avoiding these mistakes and incorporating kickboard drills regularly into your practice, you’ll be on your way to mastering the nuances of each swim stroke and improving your swimming technique.

THREE Physical Benefits of Using a Kickboard

Using a kickboard during swim training offers targeted physical benefits, focusing on improving specific muscle groups and aspects of strength and endurance.

1. Leg Muscles Activation

When you engage in swimming using a kickboard, you effectively isolate and activate your leg muscles. This isolation allows you to concentrate on your leg strength and endurance.

Specifically, the muscles in your thighs, calves, and feet are worked extensively as you kick against the water’s resistance. Regular use can lead to enhanced leg power and more efficient swimming strokes.

2. Core Strength and Stability

Kickboard exercises demand stability, which in turn strengthens your core muscles, including your abs and hips.

This increased core strength can improve your overall swimming posture and balance in the water. You’ll find that with a stronger core, you’re able to swim more efficiently, as a reinforced midsection provides the foundation for powerful swim strokes.

3. Upper-Body Relaxation and Recovery

While your legs are hard at work, a kickboard allows your upper body to relax, which can be useful particularly during recovery periods.

By supporting your weight, the kickboard takes the strain off your arms and shoulders, giving those muscles a chance to recover from intense swim training.

This can also be a strategic way to loosen up if you have tight muscles or are looking to prevent overuse injuries.

  • Isolate leg muscles for targeted strengthening
  • Work on core strength for better swimming posture and stability
  • Allow upper body to relax and recover during kicking drills

Swimming Kickboard Health and Fitness Benefits

A person swims with a kickboard, legs kicking, body streamlined. Water ripples as they move forward, muscles working, heart pumping

Incorporating a kickboard into your swimming routine promotes notable health and fitness advantages, including enhanced cardiovascular health, effective weight management, and comprehensive full-body conditioning.

1. Cardiovascular Improvement

When you use a kickboard during your swim sessions, you’re engaging in a robust cardiovascular workout.

The consistent movement of your legs increases your heart rate, which helps to strengthen your heart muscle and improve your overall cardiovascular endurance.

2. Weight Management

Swimming with a kickboard is an effective form of exercise for maintaining or losing weight.

The activity is a high-calorie burner, aiding in creating a calorie deficit while being easier on the joints compared to high-impact exercises.

  • Calories burned per hour:
    • Freestyle, moderate pace: ~500-700 kcal
    • Freestyle, vigorous pace: ~700-1000 kcal

3. Full-Body Workout

Despite the focus on leg movement, a kickboard provides a full-body workout. It targets a wide range of muscle groups, including your core and lower body, promoting muscle endurance and strength.

  • Muscle groups targeted:
    • Lower body: thighs, hamstrings, calves, and glutes
    • Core: abdominal muscles and lower back

Utilizing a kickboard for laps also enhances your body’s alignment in the water, contributing to better swimming form and efficiency during all your aquatic exercises.

Technique and Body Positioning

When incorporating a kickboard into your swim training, emphasizing your technique and body positioning is crucial to maximize the benefits and minimize drag.

Importance of Proper Form

Using a kickboard effectively requires awareness of your body’s alignment and movements. Proper form is essential because it ensures that the effort you put into each kick translates into forward propulsion with minimal resistance.

Your arms should be straight, with hands gripping the top edge of the kickboard; this helps keep your body flat atop the water.

By focusing on form, you’ll experience a more efficient workout, targeting the appropriate muscle groups and enhancing your lower body strength.

Maintaining Streamlined Body Position

To maintain a streamlined body position:

  • Keep your body as horizontal as possible.
  • Align your head, back, and hips to reduce drag.

A horizontal and streamlined posture supports proper technique, allowing you to glide through the water with greater ease. Pay attention to your:

  1. Back: It should be straight, not arched.
  2. Chest: Press it slightly down to lift your lower body up for a balanced body position.
  3. Legs: Kick from the hips with only slight bends at the knees to maintain continuous motion.

Maintaining this position prevents unnecessary drag and keeps your body moving fluidly. Remember that your head position affects body alignment; look slightly forward and downward to keep your spine and neck in a natural position.

By ensuring these key aspects of technique and body positioning, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the kickboard’s potential to develop your swimming skills.

Breathing and Coordinating Movements

Using a kickboard primarily helps in developing a strong kicking technique while allowing you to breathe more easily. This section focuses on optimizing your breathing and coordinating movements to enhance your swimming efficiency.

Breathing Techniques with a Kickboard

When you swim with a kickboard, your head remains above water, enabling you to practice consistent breathing.

This is crucial because continuous oxygen intake is vital for muscle endurance and overall performance. With a kickboard, you can concentrate on:

  1. Inhaling deeply through your mouth to maximize oxygen intake.
  2. Exhaling fully to expel carbon dioxide and maintain a rhythm.

A kickboard supports your upper body, so you don’t have to worry about timing your breaths with your strokes, which can be particularly beneficial for beginners or those looking to refine their breathing technique.

To learn more about breathing with a kickboard, visit Enjoy Swimming.

Synchronization of Kicking and Breathing

The synchronization between your kicking and breathing is another aspect that can be honed with a kickboard. By separating the leg movements from the rest of the stroke, you can focus on:

  • The timing of your kicks with your breaths.
  • Maintaining a steady kick that propels you forward efficiently.

Use this opportunity to develop a regular kicking pattern that complements your breathing cycle. Balanced coordination is key to a smooth swimming rhythm.

Mastering this can lead to serious results not just in training but also in competitive swimming environments. For an in-depth guide on using a kickboard to improve your technique, check out this resource by The Arena Swimming Blog.

Kickboard Safety and Injury Prevention

Utilizing a kickboard during swim training can enhance your aquatic routine while ensuring safety and mitigating injury risks.

By focusing on proper techniques and equipment use, you safeguard yourself against common swimming injuries.

Avoiding Common Injuries

To stave off neck strain and shoulder pain, maintain a neutral head position and avoid overextension. Injuries often occur due to improper form.

For instance, frequent and excessive neck arching while using a kickboard can lead to strain. Aim to keep your body aligned, with your head in a natural, forward-facing position.

Proper Use of Equipment

A kickboard should be used to isolate and strengthen your lower body while promoting safety and preventing upper-body injuries. To correctly use a kickboard:

  • Grasp the sides of the kickboard with both hands.
  • Extend your arms fully, without locking the elbows.
  • Position the kickboard so that it’s under your chest, not causing you to arch your back excessively.

While a kickboard can help maintain buoyancy, remember it is not meant to be a life-saving device. Adequate supervision and swimming proficiency are necessary, especially for beginners or those recovering from injury, to ensure the kickboard is an aid, not a crutch.

Additional Training Tools

While kickboards focus on lower body strength and endurance, introducing other training tools such as fins and pull buoys can deliver a well-rounded swimming training routine.

These tools target different muscle groups and enhance various aspects of your swimming technique.

Integrating Fins and Pull Buoys

When you integrate fins into your swim practice, you immediately notice an increase in your leg strength and endurance.

Fins add resistance, making your leg muscles work harder, which can lead to improvements in speed and power. They also help in refining your kicking technique, whether it’s for freestyle, backstroke, or butterfly.

Using a pull buoy shifts the focus to your upper body. Placing the buoy between your thighs, you disable your leg movement, which increases upper body strength because you rely solely on your arms to propel you forward. This can significantly improve arm technique and core stability.

Benefits of Swimming with Fins

  • Enhanced propulsion: Fins increase your foot’s surface area, helping you move faster through the water.
  • Muscle targeting: They help isolate and strengthen leg muscles, which are essential for a powerful kick.

By incorporating both fins and pull buoys into your routine, you gain the opportunity to work on specific parts of your swimming technique and develop a more powerful stroke overall.


Swimming with a kickboard offers several benefits. It helps you to:

  • Isolate and strengthen your leg muscles
  • Enhance your lower body technique with focused practice
  • Maintain a consistent body position in the water

The use of a kickboard also allows you to concentrate on your kick, perfecting movements like the flutter kick or dolphin kick. This targeted approach can lead to improved propulsion and increased endurance.

With uninterrupted breathing, your workouts become more efficient, providing your muscles with the oxygen they need. Moreover, swimming with a kickboard can:

  1. Boost your swim training
  2. Offer a low-impact exercise alternative

Incorporating kickboards into your routine can effectively enhance your swim performance, especially when integrated smartly with overall swim practices.