In the fairy tale “The Little Mermaid”, the mermaid agreed to trade her voice for the witch octopus for human feet. When she had the desired legs, she “fell up and down” struggled a few times to walk normally on land due to her unfamiliarity with the way of human feet. Likewise, when people go into the water to swim, the “human” feet used to walking on land will take some time to adjust to the “steps” in the water.
Leg movements are a real challenge for amateur swimmers. Some people feel that their feet are “as heavy as lead” as if they want to hold them back, others say they try to hit them hard but not help them move forward any faster.
In this article, we will find out what movement is the correct movement when striding and the cause and how to fix it!
A footstrike is an alternate foot kick that has two parts: kick up and kick down. The forward force phase is the kick-down phase. To create a lot of forwarding force in the down rock phase, the instep of your right foot is large, meaning you have to stretch your feet like a ballet dancer. The more straightened the foot, the more surface area of the foot that you can use to push the water back, the better the forward force of your foot kick will be.
Many of you beat your feet like “handle hoes” (do not stretch your toes), just knock your feet into the water, not the instep, so you hit hard as well as not. In foreign technical books, it is simply described this straight-toe and leg-beating movement as “long leg” so that swimmers can easily imagine.
According to a scientific article published in the journal Physical Biology in November 2012, the most important thing to get more thrust from the lower extremities is not greater muscle strength but flexibility high joints of the ankles. This joint has limited flexibility because humans are less likely to stretch their toes when standing upright on the ground, but if we want to swim underwater, we have to practice stretching them so that they flatten out like a fishtail!
In terms of the “lead-heavy” foot feeling, it is a fault of too much bending in the knee when beating the leg. This is a common mistake in stride where swimmers begin their leg movements by bending their knees during kick-up. They want to bend their knees a lot to kick down hard, but that’s the wrong thought.
In fact, it can even pull you back because when you bend your knees up, your feet push the water in the wrong direction!
When we walk, our leg movement begins at the hip. The same applies to kicking your feet while swimming. Make sure your head, hips, and heels are at the surface of the water. Starting from the hips, our legs move alternately up and down continuously. Pillows and ankle joints only bend very slightly when moving up and down.
A useful tip is that the footstrike depth is only within the general depth of the body (about 20-30 cm). If you focus on kicking down (not kicking up), you will tend to keep your legs straight and longer, without kicking too deep.
You should practice leg beats individually with a plank. Make sure the toes are straight but the ankles are comfortable so that the joint can move freely. Alternatively, you can also exercise stride with a propeller. When wearing the presser, you cannot bend the knee too much and the large surface of the presser foot also helps you to improve the flexibility of the ankle joint.
In short, your stride can be like a fishtail that balances your body and pushes your body forward (when you hit your legs properly) or it can be like an anchor pulling your body and make you swim tired quickly (when you hit the wrong leg). This is all due to foot stretching and beating techniques.