By Nenad Rodic
posted 04/05


See arm stroke section.


Six beat kick

Six beats per one cycle (two strokes) of arm stroke. Downbeats in relation to sweeps of each arm. Downsweep right-downbeat right/insweep right-downbeat left/upsweep right-downbeat right. Opposite for the left arm. The most important of all these kicks is the third one that accompanies the upsweep since you gain the most speed in this part of the stroke and reach peak velocity.
Two beat kick

Often used by distance swimmers, a two beat kick requires great efficiency from every kick since there are only two kicks per cycle. Naturally you’ll do the two most important ones from the six beat pattern, those accompanying the upsweeps. The right leg kicks down during the right arm insweep and upsweep and left leg during the left arm in/upsweep. When you see a world-class swimmer doing this pattern, don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need to kick since they don’t seem to kick either. Their kick is very efficient and propulsive. I would recommend this pattern to all efficient kickers who have great body position and balance.

PLAY VIDEOFour beat crossover kick.

It is basically a six beat kick with three normal kicks accompanying the breathing arm with one leg cross on the downsweep of the opposite arm. It is the most common pattern. Even Ian Thorpe uses this pattern until it’s time to engage his monster six-beat kick.

Which pattern is the best? It depends on how efficient you are. Six beat is too energy demanding; I don’t recommend it for races over 200 m. A two beat demands kicking proficiency as well as good balance. It seems that four beat or four beat with crossover are the options for a triathlete. 

By Nenad Rodic, founder of TriathlonPlace.com