Dryland Tip: Chair Kicks

By G. John Mullen of SwimmingScience.net and CenterofOptimalRestoration.com, Swimming World correspondent

SANTA CLARA, California, November 24. DR. G. John Mullen has returned with a Thanksgiving present in the form of his latest Dryland Tip. Today, Mullen explains the chair kick, which is a dryland exercise that focuses on the downkick in freestyle and the upkick in backstroke.

Purpose: The chair kick is a swimming specific plyometric exercise similar to a downkick in freestyle or upkick in backstroke. Unlike traditional plyometrics, the chair kick is done in the horizontal plane, similar to swimming. It stresses the hip flexors (quadriceps) while forcing core stabilization.

Directions: Start in the push-up position with the top of your feet on a chair with cushion. Bend one knee and rapidly extend your knee to push yourself off the chair. While supporting yourself solely on your arms, land on your opposite leg by bending the knee to absorb the impact of the landing, then repeat.

This exercise should be performed for low repetitions, approximately 4-6 repetitions and be used cautiously for athletes with a history of knee pain.

Dr. G. John Mullen is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. At USC, he was a clinical research assistant at USC performing research on adolescent diabetes, lung adaptations to swimming, and swimming biomechanics. G. John has been featured in Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, and the International Society of Swim Coaches Journal. He is currently the strength and conditioning coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, owner of the Center of Optimal Restoration and creator of Swimming Science.