What is a Kickboard?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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A kickboard is a flotation aid for swimmers. It consists of a foam board that holds the upper body above the water. Swimmers use kickboards to help develop their lower body and to perfect their kicking.

Swimmers of various abilities use kickboards. Beginners might use them to help them gain confidence and balance above water level. Expert swimmers may use kickboards to work on specific swimming activities like the backstroke and breaststroke as well as freestyle swimming.

Some swimmers may also use kickboards to work the upper body. Swimming enthusiasts refer to a similar tool for upper body work as a “pull buoy.” To use the kickboard as a pull buoy, swimmers hold the board with their lower body and float on it, using the upper body to swim. Others rely on specific pull buoy tools for this kind of exercise.

Some kickboards are equipped with handles for more diverse uses. Others are simply a flat plate of foam. Many kickboards are made with EVA foam, a tough, waterproof polymer. Others are made with HDPE, a polyethylene thermoplastic. HDPE is a recyclable material, and is becoming a popular material choice for many consumer products.


Trainers who want to help clients improve their swimming may recommend using a kickboard, not only to work on isolated leg movements or upper body movements, but also to build endurance. Trainers may recommend stretching or other warm-up or cool-down processes to help swimmers prepare for training tasks like kickboard activities. Gyms with pools may keep kickboards on hand for those who can benefit from using them.

According to some expert trainers, it is important to change kicking styles when using a kickboard. This is partly to prevent certain kinds of fatigue that relate to body rigidity. Changing styles also helps to avoid overworking muscle groups that may not get a lot of use outside of the water. It’s also good to wait an hour after eating before starting an aquatic workout.

In addition to conventional uses for kickboards, some swimmers use them to work the core muscles, the muscle groups that carry the body and support the spinal column. Working the core is a good way to stay healthy and avoid some kinds of injuries. Kickboards are also useful in some kinds of physical therapy because using them can isolate muscle groups. Kickboard activities may be recommended for post-surgery patients. Talk to doctors before using kickboards or other gear after a surgical procedure.


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Post 4

I can't swim. I took lessons a few times and just cannot get over my fear of the water. A swim kickboard is just one way that teachers used to try to get me to move away from the edge of the pool and try to be more daring. It sort of worked, but really I just have never wanted to swim. I don't really like water, or pools, and I don't go fishing or do water sports, so it never seemed that important to me.

Post 3

We actually don't have these at our pool! I am teaching swimming lessons at our pool so I was looking to find more equipment to help some of our more fearful new-to-the-water learners.

Another tip for those teaching swim lessons: I have found for many kids, the scariest thing is to put their head in the water.

So what I do to combat this is to put one of their favorite things into the mix - bubbles! I have the kids blow bubbles in the water, so of course only about half their face is in the water, but it helps them get to the point where they are willing to put their whole head in!

Post 2

@Tomislav - I have not used a kickboard! But I have done something much like using a swimming kickboard as far as muscles used while using a kickboard were concerned. I used a swim noodle and kicked my way back and forth down the pool. When I was doing this I tried to recreate my leg motions for running as my leg motions as I kicked. Please note though that I was only training for a half-marathon.

I decided to try this swim move after I read that cross-training for running events was a great idea and helps your muscles. I didn't have any problems with my half-marathon. But then again, I run to finish the half-marathons

, not set any records! Hope this information helps!

I was actually on here looking for what the boards I have seen kids use at our community pool for their swim lessons were called. I'm thinking they might be even better for my cross training as they seem they would offer a little more resistance than the swim noodle.

Post 1

I have found that I love to run and train for marathons, but it has taken a toll on my knees and feet.

I'd like to find some activities which allow me to still train the right muscle groups for a marathon but don't take as much of a toll on my body. People are always saying swimming is a great workout that doesn't take a toll on your knees and feet.

Has anyone tried a kick board for a type of cross-training for running?

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