Thoughts On Ironman Swim Kick By An Older Age Grouper

Ironman Swim Kick

Ironman swim kick?

Ironman swim kick, Frits with an s

I dedicated my latest book to Frits with an ‘s,’ (left), who is sorely missed. Wonderful triathlete and kind man. Here we are at the World’s Half Ironman Championships in Las Vegas, in 2013. A great guy!


  • reached the final stages of fixing a strained hip flexor (psoas)
  • weak psoas muscles anyway
  • just recovered from surgery #2 this year
  • travelled with Deb to Europe, to visit the wife of my recently deceased friend, Frits (with an ‘s’)
  • almost recovered from a massive cold and bronchitis that caused muscle aches all over and encouraged my hip flexors to cramp up every morning (aging is fun!)
  • finally sent my latest paperback off to the publisher,

I went for a swim, yesterday.

As my latest book, Prepare for Aging, is all about changing the way you move as you age (see the cover below, that I built for the paperback that took me months to create – hell, I’m no graphics artist), I thought, how about changing the way I kick in the pool, in order to spare those wimpy psoas muscles.

Now, there are lots of ways to kick, in freestyle, but for distance (2.4 miles in Ironman), it can be tricky, especially when followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon, and you’re an ol’ fart!

Ironman swim kick

Finally sent to the publisher; only took a year to finish it!


  1. Not kicking or hardly kicking with loose ankles (kick only helps one stay high in the water, anyway, for distance). For many this is the best way to go for distance swims.
  2. From the quads (read this on the Swim Smooth site, some time ago).
  3. From the hips (lots of psoas and glut work).
  4. From the whole body, i.e., butterfly!

What is the best Ironman swim kick, I thought?

Being a scientist, I experimented with each, using as my measures of success, (1) hip flexor comfort, and more importantly, (2) my sense of enjoyment of sliding through the water.

Up front assumptions when you try this: You’ve mastered balance in the water, and can stay high!

Why these assumptions? You have to avoid increasing drag due to excessive leg displacement – think like a fish, or kelp waving in the current. Slide through the water, or forget kicking; it’ll just slow you down.

Conclusion: Butterfly felt best for my psoas muscles, and was more fun! It took a while getting the timing right, emphasizing cross-body arm-leg effort. Start with full butterfly, then slowly emphasize each leg to comply with arm activity – Oh! Yes! Stay high, swim downhill, lay on your arms, all that stuff still applies.

This experiment is worth a go, especially as you work to adapt to aging, by changing the way you move.

Wishing you happy laps,

kev aka FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.