The legs are a crawl swimmer’s powerhouse, and proper use of the legs often makes the difference in competitive swimming at all levels. A competitive swimmer’s ability to kick quickly, regularly and efficiently is essential.

Swimming training: leg technique and propulsion

The legs demand a lot of training in order to achieve proper coordination with arm movements and breathing. Working hard on the legs is also important to accustom your body to making an effort that demands enormous quantities of oxygen.

A good leg session will tone you up, build muscle, burn calories and improve your heart rate! No need for moderation when it comes to exercising your legs for swimming!

So let’s get on with it! Shows us your skinny thighs and into the water!

1H10 - 1H20 SESSION


Warm up for about 20 minutes to wake up your joints, muscles and heart rate. It is very important to warm up before using any training equipment.

12 x 50 metres, alternating:

- 50m crawl (25m kicking without a board / 25m normal swim)
- 50m backstroke (25m kicking without a board / 25m normal swim)

4 x 100 kicking without a board:

- 25m kicking on your right side
- 25m kicking on left side                    x 4
- 25m fast, kicking on your front
- 25m slow, kicking on your front

Don't forget to rehydrate during your rest breaks!

TOTAL: 1,000 metres


These exercises, with and without equipment, will increase your awareness of your leg movements in the water, will help to correct your movement, and then to automatically use the right kicking technique.

- 30 seconds static kicking (1 minute with fins)
- 6 x 50m progressive kicks from 1 to 3 (1. Slow / 2. Moderate / 3. Fast / 4. Slow / 5.Moderate, etc.)
- 50m slow (with or without a board)

Repeat this series of exercises at least three times. Without any equipment the first time, then with a board and, lastly, with a board and fins to enjoy a taste of high-speed swimming.
Do not forget to hydrate yourself during your rest periods... cramps can come on fast!

TOTAL: 1,050 metres


Wind down by keeping moving so that the body reduces its effort little by little. Prioritise relaxing your muscles, get your breath back and focus on your swimming technique.

- 350 metres kicking (50m big-toe kicks" / 50m underwater kicks")

TOTAL: 350 metres

SESSION TOTAL: 2,400 metres

Give yourself a pat on the back!The workout is finally over! More than 2 kilometres in less than an hour and a half. Hats off to you! If you want to get stuck into a more substantial workout, you can adapt it to your desires and/or needs. You can also repeat the “Series” more than three times. In fact, I would encourage you to do so!

This type of swimming work-out focussed on the legs is a great way to improve your technique and swimming power, but also to improve your heart rate and to burn lots of calories! Give it a try. Your body will be grateful!

Finally, don’t forget to stretch and hydrate yourself to prevent muscle aches the next day. And don’t hesitate to take a cold shower to increase circulation and speed up recovery.

Print the session

See you very soon for a new swimming workout!

Swimming training: leg technique and propulsion


National Swimmer & Dialogue Leader