Looking to pump up your kick power? Look no further than the top—Auburn University. Since 1990, the Tigers have compiled a sick resume, including six men’s and four women’s NCAA crowns and a combined 15 SEC titles.
Bryan Karkoska, strength and conditioning coach for both squads, explains how a strong kick will leave opponents in your wake. “Kick power is your main propulsion through the water,” he says. “When performing the backstroke and freestyle, it helps you keep your hips up and enables you to stay on top of the water. For the butterfly, fly stroke and underwater butterfly, the kick really helps you off the walls.”
To transform your kick into a high-octane motor, Karkoska prescribes dry-land training, particularly the Med Ball Kick and Seated Med Ball Kick. The Tigers perform both twice a week throughout the year. Complete 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, resting no longer than a minute.
Med Ball Kick
- Stand with med ball between ankles
- Have partner stand three feet in front of you
- In one continuous movement, jump up and kick med ball towards partner’s chest
1. Initiate the movement by jumping, not kicking.
2. The jump and kick should be an explosive, continuous movement.
3. Use your arms for balance.
4. Place enough tension on the med ball with your feet so that it doesn’t fall out on your jump, but is still easy to kick to partner.
Seated Med Ball Kick
- Sit on ground with knees bent
- Hold med ball between ankles with feet off ground
- Extend arms to ground directly under shoulders, for stability
- Kick ball forward to partner, who’s standing three feet away
1. Keep your hip joint flexed, and explosively kick the med ball forward.
2. Keep your back straight throughout the movement, and don’t rock or use momentum for the kick.
3. Keep your core tight and hips in a set position. From there, just kick out with your legs.