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Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s

 

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DavidK

Mar 7, 05 9:39

Post #1 of 27 (2676 views)
Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s Quote | Reply

Like many cyclists and runners I can not point my toes very far I try to do the freestyle flutter kick. This must be the reason why I do not move forward when I have attempted kick sets without using fins.

So, is it worth trying to "fix" this problem with stretching? I have a fear that I will somehow make my ankles less stable if I try too hard to stretch them.

I know that I can use bigger fins to try to stretch the ankle. I also know the "point toes and sit back on them" stretch. What other stretches are there for this area? What about the product made by Zoomers called the Rack?

I would love to read about others triathletes experiences with this issue.

Most important - Did stretching your ankles help you to become faster swimmers?

David K


eganski

Mar 7, 05 9:44

Post #2 of 27 (2667 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

This is, imho, the second biggest problem that new swimmers face, and that's ankle flexibility. This affects the whole leg, which is the BIGGEST problem new swimmers face, what to do with their legs (which is why most of you probably swim better with pull buoys)

Get a bag of ice, sit down with your legs extended, and extend your ankle under a couch or something (forcing a stretch). Then place the icebag on top of your ankle, and alternate every 2 minutes. This will really stretch your ankle, and help your swimming.
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jaylew

Mar 7, 05 12:28

Post #3 of 27 (2612 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [eganski] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Why the ice?


vitus979

Mar 7, 05 12:34

Post #4 of 27 (2604 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I know that I can use bigger fins to try to stretch the ankle.

100% the best answer. (They don't need to be all that big, but bigger than zoomers. Standard fins are fine.) Used regularly, I don't think there's anything that comes close to increasing ankle flexibility specific to swimming.

Which brings me to my next point: I think a lot of people who complain about inflexible ankles don't really have that problem at all. Their real problem is that they keep their toes pointed the whole time, throughout the entire kick. Fins can help with that, too.







"People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don't realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world."


nosmo king

Mar 7, 05 12:36

Post #5 of 27 (2599 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The reason you are not going anywhere may not be entirely due to your ankle inflexibility. It may be in your balance. Try floating in the water face down with your arms forward. If your feet start sinking, then you need to work on your balance.


eganski

Mar 7, 05 13:06

Post #6 of 27 (2567 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [jaylew] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Because at school, we did what our coach told us to do, and never asked questions...

I don't know, but it's a stretch that worked. Most of us faced the problem of ankle flexibility when returning to school after a summer of running/trying to stay in decent shape. This stretch worked.

I wouldn't be surprised if less than 5% of college programs used fins/zoomers. We never did.
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FLA Jill

Mar 7, 05 13:11

Post #7 of 27 (2559 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Ankle stiffness doesn't necessarily equal ankle stability, IMO. I've got extremely flexible ankles after not only far too many sadistic swim coaches who would try to make us do way too much breaststroke and flutter kick, but also a couple years of gymnastics lessons. I've never had problems because of that. Generally my ankles only get all bendy when I want them to. When I do do something like slip on uneven pavement, and roll an ankle enough so that ankle bone darn near the pavement, it only hurts for a couple of strides and I'm back running normally, not worried that the role tore out a ligament or something.


kac94

Mar 7, 05 13:16

Post #8 of 27 (2549 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [vitus979] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Seriously, you'r not supposed to keep your toes pointed the entire time?

When do they unpoint?

Can you tell I'm a crappy swimmer?


DougStern

Mar 7, 05 13:19

Post #9 of 27 (2547 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

David,

Strength and flexibility are not inconsistent terms. Ballet dancers have amazing flexibility and they are on the feet all day long.

The rack works very well. It is extremely painful to use and it works. The ice idea is a very good one.

Beside stretching your ankles learn how to kick. Practice on your back with or without fins. Initiate your kick by pressing your STRAIGHT leg downward. Feel the water on the bottom of your feet. Now kick up, your knee will slightly bend and you will feel water on your instep. When you kick on your back make sure your knees do not break the surface at any time. You will learn to kick up and down. When you kick on your stomach feel as if you are starting your kick by lifting your hamstrings then kicking downward. You do point your toes all the time because there is propulsion on the up and down beats.

If you want to improve on your kicking ability you must practice it. Kicking properly will translate to more effortless and faster swimming.

DougStern


the metazoan

Mar 7, 05 13:50

Post #10 of 27 (2521 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DougStern] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

IMO being a fast kicker is all about ankle flexion. The bigger the angle between the top of your foot and your shin the better. I consider myself a good kicker (33-34 sec for a 50 short course yards with a board, no big push offs) and I have about a 180 degree flexion, that is you can almost put a straight edge on my shin and it lies perfectly flat on my foot. And I can hold that position without cramping (another big must). Work on ankle stretching, foot under couch while lying down and bring back of knee to floor.

Also even with this flexibility I have never sprained my ankle.

metazoan


jaylew

Mar 7, 05 13:55

Post #11 of 27 (2514 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [the metazoan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In Reply To:
I consider myself a good kicker (33-34 sec for a 50 short course yards with a board, no big push offs) and I have about a 180
I can't even swim that fast!


pdxjohn

Mar 7, 05 15:54

Post #12 of 27 (2466 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [jaylew] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

The folks at Zoomers make a little Medieval torture device called "The Rack". You stick your toes through these straps on a flat plate and gradually increase the stretch by lowering your knee. Presumably the real flexible people can drop their knee to the ground. It works pretty well, makes for good use of down time while watching TV.


ajfranke

Mar 7, 05 16:12

Post #13 of 27 (2452 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [the metazoan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Do you mean out and back in 34 seconds, kick only?

There is no way I could swim that even off the blocks.


the metazoan

Mar 7, 05 16:33

Post #14 of 27 (2440 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [ajfranke] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Yes, 50 yds only kick. All about ankle flexion.

look at for good exercises.

http://www.zoomers.net/new-thekick.htm



[reply]Do you mean out and back in 34 seconds, kick only?

There is no way I could swim that even off the blocks.[/reply]


eganski

Mar 7, 05 16:42

Post #15 of 27 (2433 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [the metazoan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

wow, that's with a kickboard, no zoomers?

What's your fastest 50 free time with that kick?
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ajfranke

Mar 7, 05 16:50

Post #16 of 27 (2428 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [the metazoan] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I mean this in the most affectionate possible way, but you are totally disgusting.


Rappstar

Mar 7, 05 17:11

Post #17 of 27 (2420 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

An ex-US national swim team friend of mine (fly & back in the mid-80's) recommended a mono fin. Says it works much better and faster for building strength and flexibility. Give it a try. Also a cool toy just to have at the pool...


"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via." - Seneca | rappstar.com | Facebook - Rappstar Racing | @rappstar | WTC Ironman Pro Ambassador

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vitus979

Mar 8, 05 10:09

Post #18 of 27 (2374 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [kac94] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Seriously, you'r not supposed to keep your toes pointed the entire time?

Next time you're in the pool, try kicking a lap or two while keeping your toes rigidly pointed the whole way, then kick a couple of laps while relaxing your ankle a bit. See if you can't tell a difference.







"People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don't realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world."


scm910

Mar 8, 05 10:31

Post #19 of 27 (2348 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [eganski] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Quick Question for eganski...
Do you stretch both feet at once and just switch the ice bag? Or do you stretch one foot at a time with the ice bag on the foot being stretched?


DavidK

Mar 8, 05 11:02

Post #20 of 27 (2326 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [DavidK] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Thanks for all the replies. I started stretching my ankles last night while watching TV and will keep at it to see if it helps.

David K


eganski

Mar 8, 05 11:07

Post #21 of 27 (2317 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [scm910] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

One at a time....
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rgr195

Mar 8, 05 11:26

Post #22 of 27 (2305 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [Rappstar] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

MONOFIN: I've seen those and remember reading an article about them but it's just strikes me as one more thing to bring to the pool that screams "I AM THE ULTIMATE TRI-GEEK....BEHOLD AND FEAR MY HUGE BAG OF SWIM 'TOOLS'"


rgr195

Mar 8, 05 11:36

Post #23 of 27 (2294 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [vitus979] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I know that I can use bigger fins to try to stretch the ankle.

100% the best answer. (They don't need to be all that big, but bigger than zoomers. Standard fins are fine.) Used regularly, I don't think there's anything that comes close to increasing ankle flexibility specific to swimming.


I can relate to what your saying:Whilst doing my PADI cert dives I remember being in great pain after having to fin across a pound with huge stiff fins, this was yrs before taking up swimming for triathlon.

But riddle me this V-man: when I started swimming I picked up a pair of regualr snorkel fins that I kept cutting inches off. They are now as long a pair of zoomers. But everytime I cut a chunk of the fin off I would feel on the tops of my feet at the ankle for awhile. Increase in ankle flexability?



J


vitus979

Mar 8, 05 11:39

Post #24 of 27 (2293 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [rgr195] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

They are now as long a pair of zoomers. But everytime I cut a chunk of the fin off I would feel on the tops of my feet at the ankle for awhile. Increase in ankle flexability?

You mean after swimming with the zoomer-length fins, you had some soreness on the tops of your feet? If so, then yeah, I guess they were helping to increase your ankle flexibility. Maybe the zoomers work for that as well as regular fins for some people. Not me, though.







"People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don't realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world."


Rappstar

Mar 8, 05 14:35

Post #25 of 27 (2268 views)
Re: Ankle Stretching for Freeestyle Kick ??s [rgr195] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Isn't that the point of all our gear - aero helmets, speed laces, disc wheels, massive pool toy bags, laminated workouts, etc. etc....


"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via." - Seneca | rappstar.com | Facebook - Rappstar Racing | @rappstar | WTC Ironman Pro Ambassador

Ask me about: Specialized | Compex 20% OFF - RAPPSTAR20 | Zipp | 1st Endurance | Normatec 10% OFF - RAPP2013 | Quarq | SRAM | ZICO | Smith Optics

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