Swimming Two-Beat Kick vs Flutter Kick

– Should you be doing a two-beat kick? (funky music) That might have come out wrong. – Are you listening? (funky music) – Morning, Trainiacs. Welcome to another taper on workout bay. Just 1100 glorious meters this morning. I tell ya, between a taper and just giving myself a full body shave, I am smooth and flying in the pool. In that order? That might have come out wrong. I’m gonna run with it. Let’s have a little chat about the kick. Specifically, should you
be doing a two beat kick, a four beat kick, a six beat kick, or dragging along the
bottom side of the pool? Alright, so there’s a
lot of what I would call swimming propaganda out there in the world about how a two beat kick is the answer to all of your swimming prayers. That ain’t the case. Fact of the matter is,
for the vast majority of us triathletes out
there who don’t come from a swimming background, we
don’t have a very strong kick. And having just one kick per leg throughout the course of an
entire swim stroke cycle, that’s not enough kick propulsion, thrust, balance, buoyancy, rotation, whatever you want to call it, to be able to get our body into a
good enough position. No, no, no, before you jump all over me and you say Taren, I’ve
tried a two beat kick, it’s the best thing
ever, I was there myself. I drank that Kool-Aid myself. Yeah, yeah, I did. Years ago. I was like two beat
kickin’ right over there. But what I found is that because I needed such a strong kick to be
able to get enough propulsion because I didn’t have a very strong kick, it was actually doing me damage because I was snapping
my legs really hard. The exact opposite thing that
you want to do with a kick. Let me finish stretching here and we’ll go into the office and I’ll draw this out or something. (funky music) (creaks) Made it. So many fun things in
the office, Trainiacs. Number one, little bobblehead Taren here is gonna help us learn how to swim. Indistinguishable. And number two, look what Mel got. Little poop emoji ball. They know me so well. – My mom’s your biggest fan. – Oh, it was your mom. Mel’s mom got me this. She’s a Trainiac. Hi Mel’s mom. So the purpose of your kick in
swimming is to do two things. As I always mention, it’s to get you horizontal in the water with your feet up close to the surface of the water and not like this,
dragging and causing drag because it’s gotta push
its way through the water. So you want your feet
up close to the water and how you do that is
by activating your core and kicking enough that your feet float up close to the water and your heels just make their way out of
the surface of the water. Second, the kick is to help
turn your body side to side. Now, where the two beat kick falls apart and it did this for me because
I’m like most triathletes, I didn’t come from a swimming background, I don’t have a really strong kick. Triathletes also run so that
causes ankle inflexibility so our kick just by nature
isn’t going to be very strong. With that two beat kick,
for me to get my feet up close to the water and to get my body turning side to side, I had to give my leg, each time I did the two beat
kick it was like a (grunts). It had to be really strong. So what ended up happening is because I was tensing up and I
was focusing really hard on a hard kick, I wasn’t actually able to focus on a proper body
roll with the rest of my body because all the energy was
going into that kick down here. Kinda defeats the purpose
of having a two beat kick which in theory is supposed
to make swimming easier. And if what you’re doing
is every time you do a kick because you’re not doing that many kicks it has to be really
strong, really forceful, really flip you around,
what’s gonna happen is you’re actually gonna tire
yourself out a little bit and the second thing that
I found more important is because I was basically pausing and waiting for that
two beat kick to happen, my entire upper body
was basically pausing, so I’d be like (grunts) with one kick, pause, pause, pause,
(grunts) with another kick, pause, pause, pause, (grunts) and that pause is basically
pushing me forward and then I’m decelerating. Pushing me forward and
then I’m decelerating. And all of that energy of the push forward is just basically
getting you started again as opposed to keeping you going and having your momentum do
a lot of the work for you. So what I ended up finding
worked out a lot better is a light six beat kick. So instead of having to get
each one of those two kicks do all the work that
the kick is going to do, I now have a six beat kick where I’m just keeping a light flutter and it’s enough to turn my body and keep my feet up close to the surface of the water. I’m actually, even
though I’m kicking more, I’m putting less work into kicking. And this is why you’ll hear
me say things in the vlog where I’m like, you know what? Don’t focus on making
your kick that much better because its not gonna
make you that much faster, but we still go and do
a bunch of kick sets in all of our swim sets. It’s because your kick
needs to be strong enough to build the foundation
of your swim stroke, getting up close to the
surface of the water and rotating your body, but in my opinion it doesn’t need to be any stronger. So it needs to be strong enough, not so super strong. Because odds are, as most tri-athletes, we’re not gonna get it
to the point of being so super strong if we didn’t come from a swimming background. There you go. Bobblehead Taren and I
have to go and present well out of town, so I got to motor. (funky music) So we are heading into
this random air field way out of town in
Winnipeg to do a speech to about 12 business owners. This is not necessarily
triathlon Taren focus. What I do is I talk about triathlon Taren and how social media allows you to connect with people all over the world, build authentic relationships
and it doesn’t have to be about buy my stuff, buy
my stuff, buy my stuff. So triathalon Taren is the
backdrop that allows me to do it but chatting about
social media in general. It’s fun. Certified cameraman here? – Okay, yes. (chatter) – So Taren, welcome, and over to you. – Thank you. Thanks for having me. (funky music) Woo doggy. Done. That was I think a two hour presentation. At the end they said, do you have any parting words about social
media and I said yes. The best thing about
social media advertising is that when you do a wealth,
it’s not advertising at all. It’s creating actual
one on one connections, friendships, people that you chat with, you help out. Like I’ve said about the Trainiacs. Many times before, the
best part about doing this is that I feel like I’ve got
friends all around the world. And if you approach your
social media tactics as a business from the standpoint of how do I help the most people and how do I connect with the most people, then it doesn’t feel like advertising and coaxing people into
doing business with you. You’re kind of just going
through life together with your followers, and that’s
how I feel about you guys. And gals. And kids. And dogs, we love dogs. And goats. Alright, I gotta get to
another meeting in a city about more social advertising, so alright. I’ll see you all later, Trainiacs. Have a good one.

48 thoughts on “Swimming Two-Beat Kick vs Flutter Kick”

  1. Great explanation. I am currently training for my first tri and although I have a swimming background (lifeguard/swim team) it's been about 10 years since I did any serious swimming. Looking forward to putting some of your advice into practice. Thanks for making these videos!

  2. this "swimming background" thing is confusing. it doesn't make too much sense. e.g. person A from ages 9-18 swam and for those latter years did so competitively. person first swam at age 22 and then did so for the following twenty years- completeing numerous swimming marathons and Iron Man comps
    What benefit does person A have? is it to suggest that starting swimming at a younger age gives you a benefit?

  3. I just thought of this but have you cut down on the floatie pant use? thinking back I can't remember the last time I saw Floaty Pants Gesell in the vlog (until you finish the marathon that's your name to me)

  4. I've tried the 2 beat kick for a little while but ended up swimming slower, it slowed down my arm stroke speed "cadence" and the exertion level was harder as well.
    tossed out the window that experiment. I rather do 1500m sets in 21mins with an easier exertion than a 22minutes and burning shoulders.

  5. I've been doing 2-beat for a while now, I just found I naturally slid into that rhythm and the other patterns felt more strenuous. I can't tell if it's compromising my body position, though – would it be worth investing in a video analysis session? I know a local group does that for $65 and you can keep the footage after as well.

  6. Struggling with dropping legs heavily I am still trying to get it better by practicing both kicks. But – a few week ago I have bought a wetsuit and it basically solve the whole problem. With it on I am able to have rather nice body position even with negligible kicking. All I have to think about now is not to have stiff ankles.

  7. I definitely needed this. My master's swim prep coach has been working hard, trying to get me to kick more. If only we could all hydroplane like Katie Ledecky–she barely seems to kick during most of her swimming.

  8. Great video, but it's such a bummer when I'm reminded you drive a Kia Soul. I've never seen a good driver in one of those… Ever. I'll just chalk it up to you being a great triathlete and being a good driver just isn't necessary in that case. I forgive you.

  9. Taren, today I completed my first ever triathlon and I won my age group! Your videos helped me a lot throughout my training and I just wanted to say thank you!

  10. swimming seems to be a lot like martial arts. ….some people seem to take to it naturally while others struggle with the basics…..there are lots of experts and gurus. …there are many different "best" ways to attack the problem…and all the experts agree on just one point….that point being: all the other experts and gurus are wrong😐

  11. As a certified head coach for a USASwimming team in Oregon I am always impressed by the technical knowledge king from this channel. great information Taren.

  12. I appreciate this video a lot. My kick has been all screwed up since my young years. It was a strange mix of breast stroke kick, with side stroke, and other all into one. Well, during the last 3 years in triathlon, I developed I believe something similar to a 2 beat kick, which is more effective than the crazy twisty thrashing than 3 years ago.

    Now, after my half and full iron is finished in Aug + Sep, I'll see if I can focus on changing from this 2 beat to an effective flutter by implementing the drills you recommend. So, I'm looking forward to the off season swimming sessions.

    Thank you from Roanoke, Va (The Star City)

  13. Hi there! Just found your channel and I'm really enjoying it.

    One thing I'd like to mention is that a 2-beat works well for me, and I think that body-shape can be a big factor. I'm a tall guy, and a lot of that height is in my legs. Luckily this means I float pretty easily and I'm not struggling to keep my legs up.

    I find that if I try and do a quicker pace my coordination and my body roll falls apart pretty quickly. I was hoping to find some tips to help with this, but I think my take away is that I should do what works for me and not worry about it.

  14. I wish you just shown a video that illustrates your problems with 2 beat kick. All this talking was interesting but a picture (a video in this case) is worth a thousand words.

  15. I would say that for the vast majority of triathletes their kick will be providing well under 10 per cent of their propulsion maybe 4 per cent? (Over 400m Ian Thorpe would only get about 14 per cent of his propulsion from kicking) kicking shouldn't be used for balance you should be able to balance without kicking the two beat kick is all about rhythm not propulsion. So I would personally say done correctly two beat kick is the best for triathletes but that said a weak 6 beat kick could be a quick fix and work for a lot of people

  16. It's funny to hear the word "propaganda". So lets see, the thumb nail of this video shows an underwater image of a swimmer, but then the video itself has no swimming footage at all. Furthermore, half of the video is just talking about the 2bk, while the back half is basically promoting himself as a social media guest speaker which has nothing to do with swimming. And then to hear "expert advise" such as "when you do it well, it doesn't feel like an advertisement". Just wow.

  17. Great channel thanks for all the posts.  When people get the two beat kick wrong they use it to create rotation and kick themselves round.  The rotation should come from the core (even with a 6 beat kick) a the kick should fire from the hip to help tap into the weight shift as you spear into streamline.  Sound like you never really got the timing right to me.  You don't need to pause with the two beat kick.  See this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U72vWHxvn6c

  18. nice props and great editing /production of your videos…you're very passionate and that's fun to hear. However I think you're describing some confounding factors with your own 2BK troubles…sounds like you were not balanced when using the 2BK and possibly your stroke rate was a little low. (pause-pause-pause-pause as you described). Slightly higher rate, attention to the front of the stroke to improve balance from that end can enable a lighter, rotational 2BK that's still energy saving and doesn't feel like you describe your old kick.

  19. Mate, I swim a lot, I come from a swimming background, and if you reckon you can maintain a 6 beat kick for over one km, you are off your rocker!  If a two beat kick takes too much energy out of you, then you would be better off just dragging your legs and doing away with the kick.  Swimming is a sport where it takes fitness plus technique.  Just about anyone can run and ride a bike, but it takes time to master swimming.  That's why all the Asians drown in Australia, they do not have enough respect for the water and the challenge of swimming as a learnt skill.

  20. I don't come from a swimming background, but I have an insane kick for some reason….I have never heard of the different "beats" for kicking, I tend to simply just kick non stop…any idea how to use the power of your legs to your advantage? My pull is the weak part!

  21. With a wetsuit and a good arm rythm you can alleviate 2beat kick problems i think. Don't need that big push to make it work on those conditions. In the end you kick less, use less O², keep your legs fresher.

  22. Not sure what kick I use. I just do what feels natural and concentrate on full arm strokes. I trained for years breathing on every third stroke and when in open water I go to a two stroke and keep my face away from the oncoming waves. I really enjoyed viewing your videos and have gained quite a bit of knowledge since I’ve been out of the sport for about 10 years. I come from running and cycling background with my swimming related to lifeguarding. Keep up the good work.

  23. Two beat kick is great if executed efficiently. Its not about being strong or having strong kicks. Work on techniques bro. Not strenght

  24. I bought some floaty pants after watching your videos on them, and these actually helped me gradually hone a 2-beat kick and avoid my legs locking with the effort of staying afloat.

  25. I started doing a 2 beat kick after watching the 1500m world record holder Sun Yang. I found it works for me. I feel less fatigue and my times improved.

  26. I had loads of swim training when I was a little kid… So my flutter kick by habit is probably closer to 4 or 5 kicks per side (so, 8 or 10-beat)… Should I try to bring this down (through training) to get closer to a 6-beat? Or should I keep up my multi-flutter kick?

  27. OMG this guy raved in for minutes before there was anything concrete said. Three minutes in and nothing but yap yap. I can’t waste any more time

  28. I enjoy your videos. In this one you make the fault of making a personal preference a general advice I think.
    2bk might not work for you but that does not mean it doesnt work for others. I dont have a swimming background. 2bk works for me. I dont ‘WHOHHH’ like you describe haha. Just a normal balancing kick and propulsion from the arms.

  29. first time i watched this video, i had started swimming using 2 bit kick, and i did not believe in that video, because i found the 2 beat kick more comfortable and it allowed me to swim longer distance without fatigue. but after sometime, i found myself very slow compared to others, so i came here and watched the video again and i really liked very much because it shows exactly the cons of that style, specially the pause it causes, which made slower swimmer, and in order to compensate that pause, you have to have very strong kick and perfect catch to puch you longer each stroke, things that you do not have unless you been practicing since you were a kid, further more strong kick and strong catch tire out fast. i am going to start the smooth six beat kick in order to be faster. thanks a lot, great video

  30. Long time competitive swimmer, distance/backstroke specialist, current swim technique coach for age group youth swimmers and adult triatheletes, and current olympic triathalete here.
    My thoughts:
    2 beat kick = should NEVER be done by triathletes. You pretty much nailed it in terms of needing a lot of technique, especially in the upper body and overall body position to be able to make the 2 beat kick to work.
    6 beat kick = too much "kick" for the average non-swimmer. I personally see it as moving the legs too "fast" and you just churn up white water and get nothing out of it in terms of propulsion. Not only that, but unless you really don't put lots of energy in the legs, you burn through your legs too fast for the swim. The muscle groups are really different between swim and bike/run so it's not that impactful for the rest of the race.
    My prefered kick = 4 beat kick. (Two kicks per arm pull) It is VERY easy to scale up and down for sprints and long swims, nice and easy kick, very easy to get full rotation in.

    Try a 2 beat kick in your shiny new swim spa and lemme know your thoughts. I'd like to share it with the swimmers and (few) triatheletes I work with.

  31. The 2 beat kick made me able to learn freestyle as an adult. Constant kicking made it all too hectic with all the rest to think about. I find myself sometimes doing some small kicks in between, but I think I’ll stay with 2BK and practice on getting more power from the glutes. I’m more curious about the crossover 2BK allegedly being more energy efficient or not..

  32. Watch Sun Yang and others who have used it it competitions. Actually they advice it for long distance swimming. 6 beat kick is for sure is more tiring to use since you're using the biggest part of your body to continously kick to stay afloat and for propulsion.

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