Swimming exercise

Get your swim on!


A few swimming quotes from an Olympic Swimming legend:

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”

 “If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.”

 “I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything.”

 Michael Phelps


He’s an inspiring man and has done things in the world of sports that not many can’t come close to, perhaps even Gretzky.


These quotes can be a great motivation for a swim meet, a swimming workout, or simply for life;  and since we are talking about Michael Phelps there is no better workout to start with than the one dedicated to developing your Underwater Dolphin Kick


  • Early vertical ankle (EVA).  To maximize your propulsion kick backwards, not only up and down.
  • Kick small, kick fast.  Think of yourself under the water, and the magnitude of your kick is like a high octane Sports Car, not a Mack Truck.
  • Kick from your core, not your hips.  Your power will come from the core, not your knees.
  • Kick in front of your body. Remember that the extension of the kick should take place in front of your body.
  • Fast transitions come from fast toes.  Think of the tips of your toes as a whip, snapping fast and without pause between transitions in the up and down phases of your kick.
  • Be a two-directional kicker.  Use the upkick of your dolphin kick to generate propulsion as well.


For Ankle Strength

  • Dorsiflexion.  Point your toes away from your body with a band.
  • Plantar flexion.  Point your toes towards your body with a band.
  • Inversion.  Point your toes inwards with the band.
  • Eversion.  Point your toes outwards with the band.


For Extra Flexibility

  • Lacrosse/Tennis Ball to the bottom of your foot. Standing or sitting, use a ball to loosen up the fascia on the bottom of your feet.
  • Foam roll calf. Hit both sides of your calves with a foam roller.
  • Ankle rotations. Supplement your arm and leg swings with big toe-led ankle rotations. Do them in both directions.
  • Wall lean stretch. Standing facing the wall, plant your heel into the ground, toes reaching up to the wall, and lean forward.
  • Ankle roller.  If you only do one stretch, this is the one.


Wrapping It Up

Do these consistently in tandem with your everyday training and sets.

Remember controlled breathing helps lengthen your underwaters.  Practice breath control in your swimming to help your underwaters.

Tack on around 5-10 minutes of vertical kicking to your workouts.

 SET 1 

10 rounds of :30 seconds of vertical kick :15 seconds dolphin kick, :15 seconds freestyle kick. The transition between the two kicks should be seamless; don’t bob under the water during the switch, not doing so will simulate your racing conditions more closely. So many swimmers lose momentum between the transition between dolphin kicks and freestyle; this will teach you to power through without losing propulsion.

:30 seconds rest  Use fins or a weight belt for added resistance. Get creative and do race simulation. For a 60 second 100m freestyler, you could break it down in the same manner you would race it: The first 5 seconds do dolphin kicks. :10 seconds freestyle kick.  Repeat three more times. (Or do two rounds of :5 sec fly and :25 seconds freestyle to simulate long course swimming.)  Total time: 10 minutes


10 rounds of :10 seconds blast dolphin kick vertical kicking :20 seconds rest :20 seconds of deep water push offs. How to do these? Sink all the way to the bottom (best done in the deeper end of the pool) and in a perfect streamline push off the bottom, kicking as fast as you can. The goal is to get as high up out of the water as possible.

:10 seconds rest.

Total time: 10 minutes.

For more workouts like this check out Yourswimbook.com


When it comes to swim meets, a great way to mentally prepare is visualization.  1/10 of a second is life and death so you better live it, feel it and see it before you dive in the pool.  Swimming is one of the most competitive sports in the world and although the men and women may seem soft compared to an Offensive Lineman, they are not.  Swimmers are some of the most fierce athletes you can come across, this is part of what makes the sport amazing and exciting.  The other part is the tenacity and dedication that goes into training and making sure your body is ready to handle the challenge ahead.   Consuming 1,000 calories give or take per day isn’t easy even when it’s your full-time job.  Try it some time.



A leisurely swim is an anecdote to many things in life.  Going for a swim is one of the most therapeutic things in the world, both mentally and physically.  A casual swim will invigorate your mind while annihilating your stress levels, not to mention it’s great for people with joint problems.  Whether you prefer to swim in the early light of the dawn or under the August moon it doesn’t matter. When it comes to swimming, just do it and you’ll be better for it.