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Butterfly - Extra-Kick Fly

Posted by Glenn Mills on Dec 13, 2011 07:40AM

Here's a simple butterfly drill that incorporates a few wonderful aspects... relaxation and the opportunity to work on timing.

Why Do It:
If you need to work on a longer butterfly, this drill is great.  If you need a bit more work on your lungs, this drill is great.  If you need to discover the timing of your second kick, this drill is great.

How to Do It:
 The drill is simple.  Swim butterfly, but after the hands land in front, throw in a couple of extra kicks.
2. When you're planning on staying under longer (which is sometimes necessary for masters swimmers, to slow down their stroke rate), you'll automatically dive a bit deeper on your entry.  The longer path you'll discover can be more comfortable for longer butterfly swims.
3.  You're going to be under water longer, so it's easy to turn this into a semi-hypoxic training set.
4.  The extra time you spend under water will allow you to plan on "kicking your hands out" to work on that 2nd kick of your regular fly.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
When you're learning, or when you want to train using this drill, throw on some fins, or just try to go faster.  Also, try to get your head down and in line with your body during the underwater portion.

Archived Comments

Responded Dec 13, 2011 04:50PM

So what do you mean by hypoxic? I hear this a lot from coaches, but you can't have hypoxic training without hypoxic air, and even then, it's far from certain it's of any benefit.
Depends what you mean by hypoxic though, most people don't seem to know....:/
Good drill, I do that for fly during warm-up.....

Responded Dec 13, 2011 08:22PM

OK, it's going to be really obvious I'm not at all current (give me a three decade break here) on the rules, is more than two kicks per arm cycle "stroke" legal?

Responded Dec 13, 2011 08:30PM

Remember: This is a drill!

But, with that said, here's what the USMS rule book says about butterfly kick:

"kick—All up and down movements of the legs and feet must be simultane- ous. The position of the legs or the feet need not be on the same level, but they shall not alternate in relation to each other. The breaststroke or whip kick may be used exclusively or interchangeably with the dolphin kick while doing the butterfly stroke at any time during the race. Only one breaststroke or whip kick is permitted per arm pull, except that a single breaststroke or whip kick is permitted prior to the turn and the finish without an arm pull. After the start and after each turn, a single breaststroke or whip kick is permitted prior to the first arm pull. A scissors kicking movement is not permitted."

Responded Dec 13, 2011 08:45PM

Thanks Barbara, BTW, I had the privilege of being in your community twenty years back for a reunion concert some friends did there. You live in a little slice of Heaven.

Responded Dec 13, 2011 08:52PM

Andy... hypoxic means you're holding your breath longer than you want to. ;)

Responded Dec 13, 2011 10:34PM

Sorry Glenn, that's a little vague for me. You mentioned hypoxic training, are you sure you can achieve that just by holding your breath? It's not the same as breathing a low oxygen atmosphere.

Responded Dec 13, 2011 10:39PM

Sorry... didn't know you needed that much detail. Here ya go: :)

Responded Dec 14, 2011 07:59AM

Glenn that page links to another which clearly states you need hypoxic air. Holding your breath isn't the same. It's one of the 'truths' of swimming that need challenging.
Why do elite swimming teams spend $$$ on altitude training camps, and why don't land based sports use breath holding?

Responded Dec 14, 2011 08:03PM

I would imagine first, that since air is fuel, it's good to have... and land based sports have ample access to it, whereas swimmer do not. Swimmers need to train their body for that extra step that teaches the body how to use oxygen more efficiently since they get it less frequently.

While I'm no scientist, and whether hypoxic training is as beneficial as everyone thinks, as a swimmer, I've not chosen to challenge that as my battle as there are so many other things to focus on.

For me, some good "breath holding" is a necessary part of swimming both in it's ability to allow you to focus more on your application of force as well as hopefully acclimating the body to working well without ample oxygen. However, as I get older, and have changed my personal mantra as a breaststroker from "air is for wimps" to "air is good", I've focused more on better breathing technique than hypoxic... uh... breath holding swims. :)

Responded Dec 16, 2011 10:24AM

We certainly need oxygen for our muscles during the majority of a swimming event, no doubts there. Land based sports have far better access to air, but none employ the use of breath holding at sea level to improve fitness. We can't always get to breathe, but the way to improve our use of oxygen is through a good aerobic based training regime, which does not require bouts of breath holding to work. When we're underwater the focus should be on good mechanics that maintain speed, simply getting used to staying under longer at low rates of effort won't help. I suppose that last point is my only problem, because you've highlighted the fine points in your last post: air is good and breathing technique.
This topic bugs me more because I coach kids. They need more air in because they burn more fat, and also I often notice their stroke mechanics are compromised by an enforced breathing pattern.
Good stuff, cheers...:)

Responded Feb 09, 2012 08:53PM

I just wanted to make a point on the hypoxic "problem":
First of all, every high level sports use the benefits of altitude specially in the first and final phase of preparation. It develop the ability of the body to use the oxygen (mainly blood vessels, mitochondria and hemoglobin augmentation).
The fact to holding your breath is a cheap way to reproduce that phenomena but not as efficient. When holding your breath, your body use the oxygen inhaled until no more remain in your lungs. Now you're working in hypoxia (for few seconds). Then you'll need to breath again! At sea level, you will inhale 100% of the oxygen existing in the air. Inhaling +/-70% instead of 100% will definitely create a huge adaptation of your body.
Furthermore, training at high altitude means living at high altitude (at least for 2 weeks), which means that you ask your body to react to the lack of oxygen, higher pressure level (making more difficult to breath and so develop thoracic cage muscles), every second. When you come back down to seal level, your a beast!!! That why high level athletes spend $$££€€ in nice altitude training center.

Responded Feb 10, 2012 12:30AM

@RomainR : Could a swimmer snorkel with a cardio cap produce the same effect (+/-70% instead of 100%) ?

Responded Feb 10, 2012 02:10PM

The snorkel with cardio cap have an effect on your breathing muscles. Thinner is your snorkel harder it will be for you to breath.
You'll still not enjoy the effect of high altitude because the concentration in oxygen inhaled will still be 100%.

Responded Jun 04, 2012 01:54AM

There's no limit on kicks per cycle in competition, however 2 kicks per stroke (one puts the hands in, the other, hands out) is the most common timing.

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