• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

strengthening ankles?

Drrayb

Member
May 6, 2018
8
2
13
35
Hello,

I have begun using fibreglass fins for underwater hockey/rugby. Prior to that I was using rubber scuba diving fins.
I outgrew the scuba fins fairly quickly and they began to react too slowly to my kicking and thus slow me down a bit so I switched to the stiff fibreglass ones. (rugby and hockey require fast finning most of the time)
I have considerable thigh power 'on land' but it just doesn't seem to translate in the water. I feel like everything below my knee (shin, ankle, foot) are super weak in these new fins and I cannot translate the power from my thighs into forward movement adequately.

Short of spending more time swimming with these fins, is there anything else I can do? I am working on ankle stretches and of course cycling and squatting in the gym still.

Thank you
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,048
794
218
71
Hello,

I have begun using fibreglass fins for underwater hockey/rugby. Prior to that I was using rubber scuba diving fins.
I outgrew the scuba fins fairly quickly and they began to react too slowly to my kicking and thus slow me down a bit so I switched to the stiff fibreglass ones. (rugby and hockey require fast finning most of the time)
I have considerable thigh power 'on land' but it just doesn't seem to translate in the water. I feel like everything below my knee (shin, ankle, foot) are super weak in these new fins and I cannot translate the power from my thighs into forward movement adequately.

Short of spending more time swimming with these fins, is there anything else I can do? I am working on ankle stretches and of course cycling and squatting in the gym still.

Thank you
This might work: My YMCA has a machine that allows you to raise a weight by doing a "stand your your toes" movement. Absolutely killer on your calves and should be strengthening your ankles as well. You could probably do the same thing holding some free weights. might even work better for overall improvement.

Short of that, more swimming time. Your ankles will strengthen pretty fast.
 

emilemold

Member
Aug 24, 2017
1
1
11
33
Ok so that makes me think of one very interesting dry training technique for the monofin back kick posted here
Starting at around 3min45

So while you may skip the hip kicking, holding your ankles strictly extended and trying different movemens might help you develop the stability and strength in ankle extension
 
  • Like
Reactions: HLanger1955

Drrayb

Member
May 6, 2018
8
2
13
35
This might work: My YMCA has a machine that allows you to raise a weight by doing a "stand your your toes" movement. Absolutely killer on your calves and should be strengthening your ankles as well. You could probably do the same thing holding some free weights. might even work better for overall improvement.

Short of that, more swimming time. Your ankles will strengthen pretty fast.
Thank you cdavis. The calf raise - I will start doing them. Today I also went to the pool with the fins and spent time in the deep end just doing long sweeping kicks, rapid kicks, just trying to feel the work in the feet, keeping myself floating upright out of the water and such. it felt productive
Ok so that makes me think of one very interesting dry training technique for the monofin back kick posted here
Starting at around 3min45

So while you may skip the hip kicking, holding your ankles strictly extended and trying different movemens might help you develop the stability and strength in ankle extension
thank you emilemold. This looks really good, I will try it out!
 

SDC79

Active Member
Jun 29, 2015
14
10
43
42
I agree with cdavis. My gym has a squatting sled which allows you to do a modified almost-horizontal squat-type movement pushing against a plate - this allows you to do weighted calf raises with a lot of control. An alternative is to put weights in a rucksack and do ankle raises against a ballet barre or the wall. I've also found that improving ankle flexibility by stretching them against the ground or a wall or using a resistance band improved ankle strength, but that might just be me as I am ridiculously inflexible. As for the swimming, either using a front snorkel, finning against a wall with your face up (not ideal), or finning hard whilst upright - essentially trying to hold yourself out of the water - allows you to go all out without worrying about blackouts too much. Don't push it too much to start with, though, or you'll find yourself injured. Good luck!
 
Mar 22, 2009
689
205
148
Another thought, Kicking with long fins works the front of the lower leg a lot. It takes a lot of swimming to strengthen this area. If you have strong thighs from other activities, then you might be suffering from a relative weakness of the tibialis anterior muscle and associated tendons.

This muscle works the OPPOSITE of the calf. It raises your toes when you stand on your heels and all the stress from a downward (power portion) of a typical kick must be transferred from the upper leg to the foot via this muscle and associated tendons.

A very effective and simple exercise which can be performed anywhere can be used to target this area. It seems that not many athletes target this area, so it may seem a little strange.

Stand with your heels about 12 inches from a wall. Bend you knees slightly and lean back, with your back flat against the wall. Then keep your heels on the ground and lift your toes up as much as you can.. basically tapping your toes. You will be fatigued within a very short time. If you want to do a super set, then you can move to a simpler version of this exercise and one which allows a better range of motion.

Stand on a step with 2/3 of foot hanging over the step, facing down the steps. Now hold onto a hand rail for balance and then tap your toes, but this time you can extend your toes downward. You can keep your knees slightly bent, but don't move the knee joint - keep the bend fixed.

This gives extra range of motion and also works the ankle area in a position which is more similar to kicking with fins, since you apply stress when the toes are pointed downward. This exercise can make a world of difference because it targets a very specific area. Calf raises work the opposite muscle group. If you desire, you can alternate calf raises on steps and then immediately switch to the toe raises without any rest. 3-4 sets of each exercise with little/no rest will give you a burn and takes maybe 8 minutes or less to complete.
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,048
794
218
71
Thanks Dano, I learn a lot from your posts. Explains some of my uneducated observations. After a lot of years and hours of big fins, that system of muscles and tendons must be very strong in my legs. These exercises are easy for me (keeping the same knee bend makes'em harder). I had always assumed that lack of ankle flexibility and calf strength from not using fins a lot was the explanation for other divers having issues with long fins. Looks like tibialis anterior strength is a big factor that most divers need to work on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MAKO Spearguns

HLanger1955

Well-Known Member
May 17, 2013
117
22
58
Ok so that makes me think of one very interesting dry training technique for the monofin back kick posted here
Starting at around 3min45

So while you may skip the hip kicking, holding your ankles strictly extended and trying different movemens might help you develop the stability and strength in ankle extension
Very interesting video..I can do this at home :)
 

Drrayb

Member
May 6, 2018
8
2
13
35
bit of a progress update:
The problem has been solved (in an embarrassingly short amount of time)

since start of october I have been doing, on a weekly basis:

- daily stretching of the instep
- 1 day of leg weights
- 1 day of high resistance, near-max effort spinning
- 1 day of underwater rugby
- 1 day of deliberate swimming/finning - long, slow kicks to really feel the water and push hard with the fins...fast lengths...swimming upright in the deep end, etc

now I can kick as hard as I want! Thank you all for the advice so far

Next steps for me are to keep working on shoulder / thoracic spine flexibility to get a better streamline, and hip flexor flexibility so I can initiate a stronger kick from the upbeat

Keep the advice coming if you have any :)

Thanks again all
 
  • Like
Reactions: MAKO Spearguns
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing

ABOUT US

ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2021 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Spearfishing and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.

ADVERT