Tuesday, July 02 2019

The above preview is for Kickboard Circuit, posted on 2/15/16

Got some kickboards stored in the equipment shed and gathering dust?  Well dust them off and get ready to reinvent your aquatic fitness classes with some kickboard action.   Fitmotivation Fitness Friend, Jackie Lebeau, just posted a video that features 20 kickboard drills & skills – standing, seated and side-lying – all performed in a high intensity circuit that features kickboard exercises combined with recovery sequences that include dynamic flexibility.   

Long associated with swimming, kickboards have been largely ignored by aquatic fitness professionals – until now.  Newly crowned as the kickboard queen, Jackie has featured kickboards in her recent aquatic fitness workshops, particularly at the International Aquatic Fitness Conference (IAFC).  This has sparked interest in using the kickboards in traditional aquatic fitness classes.

Quick History Lesson
Adolph Kiefer invented the kickboard during World War II to help U.S Naval recruits improve their kicking power, an essential ingredient in wartime water survival.  The history of Adolph Kiefer himself is absolutely fascinating for aquatic enthusiasts as it includes a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, as wells as his stint in the U.S. Navy training commanders and recruits how to swim, thus saving countless lives in Naval battles.   He went on to establish Kiefer & Associates in 1947 and is credited with several revolutionary innovations in the world of swimming.  Kiefer Swim Products remain one of the most recognizable brands in the industry to this day.

Kickboard used in video
According to Jackie, the model of kickboard she used in the video is no longer available – but there is a similar Kiefer model available and the good news is that it is just $8.95.


What are some ways I can use kickboards in my classes?
You can use kickboards for interval, circuit and Tabata training as seen in the video.  They can be used for choreography, upper body, core, balance and more.  I will be teaching a Kickboarding Deep class at IAFC, which incorporates many of these types of uses – all in the deep end.  I'll also be leading a swim-fit blended class in the early morning at IAFC as well.   I hope you can join me for one or the other, or both.

Can you share some teaching tips for Kickboard Circuits?
Kickboard models:
  Not all kickboards are created equal. Your facility may have soft foam boards, rigid foam boards, plastic boards, or arrow shaped boards. Before you teach Kickboarding Circuit in your class, try each of the 20 moves with the kickboards at your facility so you can personally test each exercise before introducing them in your class. 
Straddling the board:  If your participants are wearing lotion, the straddled seated exercises are going to be more challenging for them. They've got to grip the heck out of the board in order to keep it in place. An option is also to reach down with one or both hands to keep the board in a stable position.
Timing the intervals:  Make it easier on yourself by using a timer app or by using pre-formatted music. This way, you can keep your eyes on your participants instead of watching the clock for the interval timing.  The Tabata Gold music CDs (Volume 1 & 2) are examples of pre-formatted music. 

Can you share some insights into the three positions that are used in the Kickboard Circuit workout?
Standing position:  This can be challenging because of the large surface area of the board. The drag force can literally pick you up off the pool bottom if you not standing in appropriate depth, or if you are not engaging your stabilizers. Suggest moving to a more shallow depth if you see participants struggling to stay grounded.
Seated and side-lying positions: These can also be very challenging for participants who aren't comfortable with their feet off the floor. Allow these folks to wear a buoyancy belt so that they feel more comfortable.
Standing or kneeling positions:  I avoid these positions on the board.   I feel that in a group setting it can be too dangerous with mixed abilities in case someone loses control of the board.

What advice do you have for someone who has never used kickboards in their classes?
When I decided I wanted to start using the kickboard, I just got in the pool and played around until I had found enough moves to build a class around. I still hop in the pool and play around whenever I need a new move for class. Don't ever stop doing that.  Discovering one new move can get the creative juices flowing.  Introducing a new piece of equipment in your classes can make your trademark choreography feel brand new!

For some additional kickboard ideas or to contact Jackie, check out her website.  Jackie is a continuing education provider for AEA, ACE and AFAA, as well as an AEA Training Specialist.  Jackie has several CEC approved courses and is available for trainings and workshops.   

Fitmotivation extends a hearty THANK YOU to Jackie for sharing her Kickboard Circuit and Seamless Shallow videos with Fitmotivation subscribers.



Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.