2 beat, 6 beat, red beet, backbeat

Should you swim with a 2 beat or a 6 beat kick? Swimmers ask me regularly if they should swim with a 2 beat kick to conserve energy. To review, the kick beat is based on how many kicks you complete per stroke cycle. A stroke cycle is simply one right arm stroke followed by one left arm stroke. A 2 beat kick has 2 kicks per stroke cycle while the 6 beat has 6 kicks.

Although it may seem to be economical, it may not be right for you. It has been my experience that swimmers who naturally have a 6 beat kick are best advised to continue to kick this way and work on improving their kicking technique. 

Good kicking technique is driven from the hip, not the knee (image.1). The knee and ankles remain flexible and toes should point inward. At Swim Smooth we suggest lightly brushing the big toes against one another.

Image 2 - illustrates an excessive knee bend. This type of kicking not only creates more drag it requires a large amount of oxygen to fuel your quadriceps. This could be a contributing factor as to why you may feel so out of breath.

Good candidates for a 2 beat kick are swimmers who have a high stroke rate, a great catch, and very good rhythm. 

If you are unsure whether to use a 2 beat or 6 beat kick, ask me. Send me an email and I’ll be happy to respond!  

(red beet and backbeat are inspired by Dr. Seuss, backbeat is also a nod to Beatle fans everywhere!)