Kickboards are rectangular boards made of foam or plastic. They keep a swimmer’s upper body afloat while the swimmer works on their kicking techniques. Swimming is an activity that entails the rhythmic movement of the arms and legs.
Coordination of the rhythmic movement of the four limbs could prove tasking for beginners; hence, the need for kickboards. Kickboards allow swimmers to target the legs and hips to ultimately improve their kicking technique. The use of kickboards is not restricted to only beginners.
Kickboards are also used by expert swimmers who want to isolate the legs and work on them without having to bother about their arm movement. Our team of expert reviewers scoured the kickboard market to draw up a list of the best kickboards in 2021.
A kickboard may be a swimmer’s most important piece of practice equipment, since developing leg strength and kick technique is a critical component to any swimmer’s performance. Kickboards are made of dense foam that keeps them afloat as you hold onto the sides.
When using a kickboard, you’ll want to hold the sides (if there are handles, hold onto them). You can choose to practice your kicking with your face in the water or out of the water and looking at the end of the pool you’re kicking toward. Whatever kick you are practicing, make sure your hips are just below the surface of the water, and that your feet don’t drop to the bottom of the pool. With the exception of breaststroke, your toes should basically always point toward the side of the pool you’re swimming away from. If practicing freestyle, backstroke, or butterfly kick, the result of your kick should make the water look like it’s boiling--if it’s not boiling, your feet are too far down! If practicing breaststroke, the “snap” when you bring your legs together should result in a good progression forward, with your heels ending up just beneath the water behind you.
Like most swim equipment, kickboards come in kids’ and adult sizes. Kids’ options usually have handles to make it easier for them to hold onto, or may come in a triangle shape to practice the side grip they’d use with an adult kickboard. Adult options can also come in the triangle shape, and may have bumps on the sides to show where best to grip them.
It is important to note that kickboards should not be used as lifesaving devices or as a means to help keep yourself or a child afloat (always, always supervise children when they are using swim equipment). You should also not stand or sit on your kickboard, since it can easily slip out from beneath you and injure either you or other swimmers.
The Speedo kickboard is built to last several trips in the swimming pool. Constructed from high-quality materials, the kickboard has a high level of durability that ensures you won’t be needing a new kickboard anytime soon.
Scallops found on the side of the kickboard make it easy to grip
Speedo kickboard is lightweight, weighing just 10 ounces
The board’s non-slip surface minimizes the risks of accidents
Kickboards are always a great addition to a swimmer’s training gear, irrespective of their swimming proficiency. Expert swimmers and beginners alike can use them. As a swimming aid, there is no shortage of kickboards in the market.
The abundance of swimming kickboards makes it harder to pinpoint the best kickboard that suits one’s needs. In this buying guide, you will find tips that will help you to choose the best kickboard.
The buying guide also contains a section that answers frequently asked questions about kickboards and swimming.
What are the Types of Kickboards?
Kickboards are categorized based on the purpose they serve. The following are the most common types of kickboards.
This type of kickboard is designed for kids that are just learning to swim. They are smaller than other types of kickboards and usually have small finger grooves for kids to hold on to them easily.
Alignment kickboards have a triangular shape. The triangular design makes them go up to 2 inches underwater. Often, expert swimmers use alignment kickboards to improve their body alignment and head position. They do this for the ultimate aim of improving their lap time.
This type of kickboard can be used as a kickboard and as a pull buoy. It is a hybrid of a kickboard and a pull buoy. With a pull-kick kickboard, transitioning between sets becomes easier. The pill-kick is not as big as traditional kickboards and has a slight curve that makes it fit easily between the legs during pull sets.
What are the Things to Consider When Choosing a Kickboard?
There are various factors to consider before going ahead to purchase a kickboard for swimming. Your expectation and needs will largely inform your choice of kickboards. Some of these factors are explained below.
For the best swimming experience with a kickboard, you need to have a properly sized kickboard. Although an adult can use a kid-sized kickboard and vice versa, nothing beats using a correctly sized kickboard.
For example, when a kid uses an adult-sized kickboard, such a kid could develop shoulder discomfort due to the oversized board. The ideal size for a kickboard is one that has enough room for the head to stay inside the water, with the elbow resting on the board when the kickboard is held from the top.
Grip or handle
A kickboard’s handle or grip determines how well the swimmer can hold on to the board while swimming. For kickboards that have grips, the grip takes the form of curves or indents on the side of the board.
Handles can either take the form of two holes where the fingers fit in or straps for holding the hands firmly in place. Kickboards with handles are the preferred option for kids as they hold their hands in place while swimming.
The kickboard is not a swimming gear that will you dump after a single-use. You will be needing it quite often. Therefore, it is important that you buy a kickboard that will stand the rigors of frequent use without a glaring decline in its quality. A major factor that determines durability is the type of materials used to make the kickboard.
EVA foam is the most common material used to make kickboards because of its affordability. High-Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) is another material used to manufacture kickboards. They are durable and more expensive than EVA foam.
Also, the kickboard should be protected from naturally occurring hazards like UV rays from sunlight exposure to ensure durability. The chlorine used to kill off germs in the swimming pool could also adversely affect the durability of a kickboard. However, there are new kickboards that are resistant to it.
Overall, the durability of the kickboard should be prioritized to avoid the extra costs of replacing kickboards often.
Before buying a kickboard, you should look out for the board’s safety features. Safety features like anti-slip properties should also be considered.
Design and color
The color and design is another factor to consider before buying a kickboard, especially if the kickboard is meant for a kid. Kickboards that are colorfully and attractively designed will resonate more with children than other basic designs of kickboards. The attractiveness of their new swimming gear will spur their interest in learning.
How Much do Kickboards Cost?
The price of kickboards ranges from $5 to $35. $5 kickboards are the most basic kickboards you will find out there. However, they may not be as durable as more expensive ones within the range of $15 and $35.
Tips on Using Kickboards
Endeavor to check the kickboard before every use to ensure it is in perfect condition.
Kickboards are not replacements for floatation devices. They are there to help the swimmer improve their kicking technique.
Always dry off the kickboard after every use.
For a long-lasting kickboard, store the kickboard in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Finally, an adult should always be there to supervise kids whenever they are using kickboards.
What muscles does swimming with a kickboard work?
With kickboards, the upper body is usually in a position of rest, leaving all of the work to the lower body. Thus, muscles found in the lower body around the hips, abs, and hamstrings are usually worked on when using kickboards.
How many calories do you burn swimming with a kickboard?
The amount of calories burnt with a kickboard depends on the intensity and the duration of the exercise.
Where should your head be when using a kickboard?
The head can be lifted above the water, or you can have your face down in the water when using a kickboard. Comfort is the most important factor when choosing any of the two.
Is swimming with a kickboard a good workout.
Yes, swimming with a kickboard is a good workout, especially when trying to target the lower body. It helps to isolate the muscles of the lower body for maximum effect.
Lucy spent the better part of her young life traveling and competing in swim meets and gymnastics. Being a dedicated individual sport athlete, Lucy knows that being at your best at the competition is everything. As a freelance writer, Lucy joins our Product Reviews Team to provide all of her insight on the best products to keep you at the top of your game.