How to Improve Your Kick with NTC Aquatics

How to Build a More Powerful Kick with NTC Aquatics

Kick sets don’t need to be long, boring reps of being mounted to a kickboard. Don Gibb of NTC Aquatics shares a tough set that will push and power your legs to a faster kick.

Don Gibb is no stranger to high-level, elite swimming.

Prior to taking on the head coach job at NTC Aquatics in Clermont, Florida, he served as head coach at Florida State University, the University of South Carolina and Daytona State University.

During his tenure at FSU he was named ACC coach of the year twice while leading them to a top 10 finish at NCAA championships. During his own swimming career he was an NCAA All-American five times and SEC champion in the 100m freestyle.

A Kick Set for Muscle Confusion and Toughness

The kick set that he shared below is one of his favorites. It can be used regardless of stroke and distance specialty.

The set is designed with a few different purposes in mind:

  • Muscle confusion. Swimmers need new stimuli to keep them interested, and their muscles interested, over the course of the workout. Belting out 500s of freestyle kick over and over again might be great for yardage, but it isn’t terribly exciting or engaging.
  • It’ll make you more aware in the water. As Gibb notes, the changes in body position and resistance helps create more awareness in propulsion. The vertical kicking aspect of the set will also help you develop a more symmetrical and balanced kick, as it forces you to focus on the upkick.
  • It’ll test your toughness. At the end of each mini-round is a quick dryland aspect–jumps or split squats. With your legs burning from the hard effort this is–as Gibb adds– “food for those five inches between your ears.”

Here is the set:

Round 1:

  • Vertical Kick :15
  • Board kick 200 HARD
  • 5 jumps or split squats

Round 2:

  • Vertical Kick :30
  • Board kick 150 HARD
  • 10 jumps or split squats

Round 3:

  • Vertical Kick :45
  • Board kick 100 HARD
  • 15 jumps or split squats

Round 4:

  • Vertical Kick :60
  • Board kick 50 HARD
  • 20 jumps or split squats

Set Notes:

  • “At the end reverse or go back through the sequence,” says Gibb.
  • For the vertical kick use weights, or buckets with water or weights in them.
  • “Vary strokes as necessary, intervals appropriate for that time of year and the various groups,” he adds.
  • For the distance swimmers in the group Gibb will sometimes add more time to the vertical kicking without the use of weights.
  • When the big meet is starting to roll up, they will add fins and jump rope instead of doing the jumps.
  • Don’t forget to keep a tight, engaged core for the duration of the entire set.

“If you ain’t burning, you ain’t learnin’!”

A big shout-out to coach Don Gibb for popping by and sharing this workout. You can stay-up-to-date with NTC Aquatics online or by throwing them a follow on Instagram.

More Kick Sets & Workouts:

How to Improve Your Kick with the Mesa Aquatic Club. Paul Smith, head coach of MAC stops by to drop a set and kick set for you swimmers looking to aspiring to level up your kick.

How to Develop an Unstoppable Freestyle Kick. Our ultimate guide to building a freestyle kick that will help power you past the competition.

Workouts That Every Competitive Swimmer Should Try Once. Our ever-growing database of practices and sets for serious swimmers. Practices from Michael Phelps, Brett Hawke, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky and much more.

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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