Stroke count, stroke length, and glide are important in swimming, but the overriding KING of efficient swimming is rhythm. One of the best tools for developing a sense of rhythm is the Tempo Trainer by Finis. Here’s a fun, challenging breaststroke kick set that uses the Tempo Trainer to help you develop a smoother, more efficient rhythm.
For an introduction to the Tempo Trainer, follow this link to an article entitled ‘It’s All About Rhythm.
If you’re using a Tempo Trainer for the first time, or if you’ve used it only for freestyle, it’s a good idea to do a few easy lengths of breaststroke kick with the TT to get a sense of your cadence. You might start with an initial TT setting of 1:75 or 1:80 or 1:85. This means that the TT will beep every 1.75 (or 1.8 or 1.85) seconds. Remember: this should be EASY kicking, not all out. Start by kicking 25s, and adjust the TT up or down until you find a pace that feels comfortable.
Here’s the set:
5 X 100 on a sendoff that gives you approximately 30 seconds rest.
The first four 100s are breaststroke kick with a standard kickboard. The final 100 is breaststroke. Start with the Tempo Trainer (TT) set at an easy cadence, then increase the cadence by :05 second after each 100. Your goal is to stay with the BEEP-no matter what-and to descend your time on each 100.
Here’s an example of what your TT settings and times might look like:
1st 100: TT @ 1:80 (kick time: 1:55)
2nd 100: TT @ 1:75 (kick time: 1:52)
3rd 100: TT @ 1:70 (kick time: 1:47)
4th 100: TT @ 1:65 (kick time: 1:43)
5th 100: TT @ 1:60 (swim time: 1:30)
After each 100, you don’t have much time to change the TT setting and still make your sendoff, so get to the TT right away. Don’t mess around!
One interesting thing to try with the kick is to have the BEEP of the Tempo Trainer fall at a different part of the kick on each length. On one length it might fall just as the feet are slamming together. On another length it might fall as the feet begin to separate. This keeps the set interesting, and gives kind of a syncopated feel to the kick.
Once you get to the final 100, your legs will be geared up for some fast kicking, and the swim should feel very quick and very powerful – and very kick driven. Just stick with the BEEP and let your arms fit into the rhythm and flow of the kick.