Kickboard Techniques

Yellow flippers and swimming board image by Georgiy Pashin from

Hitting the pool for exercise doesn't mean tedious laps back and forth without stopping. Even if you love lap swimming, using a kickboard to switch up your workout and provide variety will keep your muscles guessing, challenging your body to continue improving. For an effective and fun swimming workout, grab a kickboard and dive right in.

Basic Kickboard Use

Using a kickboard during lap swimming will isolate your legs, concentrating the effort in your lower body. Isolating your legs helps strengthen your leg stroke and allows you to practice kicking technique. To practice flutter, butterfly or breast stroke kicking, grip the concave end of the kickboard with both hands and extend your arms over your head. This allows you to practice correct stroke-specific breathing while kicking across the swimming pool. To practice backstroke kicking, Place the board against your chest with the concave end pointed toward your head. Wrap your arms around the board as though you were hugging it and propel yourself through the pool using a flutter kick.

Nontraditional Kickboard Use

To use your body as resistance and to get an excellent cardiovascular workout, hold the kickboard vertically in the water, width-wise across your abdomen and face the side of the pool. Extend your legs in front of your body so that your body forms an L shape. Flutter kick as hard as you can, maintaining the L shape of your body, propelling yourself backward across the pool. When you reach the opposite side, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the same movement to return to the opposite side, but this time use a butterfly kick to propel yourself. To use the kickboard as resistance during lap swimming, hold the board width-wise, pressed vertically into the water with your arms extended above your head. Flutter kick, butterfly kick or breaststroke kick across the pool, using the resistance of the board to increase the difficulty of the movement.

Using a Kickboard to Gain Strength

Traditional kickboard use provides you with an additional flotation resource, making movement easier. However, when you press a kickboard through the water, its buoyancy creates resistance, enabling you to use it as a strength-training device. To work your entire upper body, hold the board vertically in the water with both hands, your arms extended directly in front of your body. Bend your elbows and pull the kickboard through the water directly into your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Push the board back to the starting position and repeat 12 to 15 times. To work your shoulders, place the board width-wise in front of your chest, the board floating on the surface. Place your palms flat on the top of the board with your fingers pointing toward each other. Press straight down into the water, extending your elbows. Slowly raise the board back up to the surface and repeat the movement 12 to 15 times.