The 10 Best Kickboards
10. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch
- dolphin and shark designs
- ideal for toddlers
- artwork can fade over time
|Brand||Melissa & Doug|
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
9. Swimtastic Kids
- does not absorb water
- available in pink or blue
- not appropriate for adults
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. Finis Alignment
- promotes streamlined positioning
- can also be used for snorkeling
- may be too porous
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
7. Tyr Classic
- 2 colors available
- helps you use your legs in the water
- odd size is too large for some bags
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
6. Speedo Double Barrel
- cutout handles for a secure grip
- textured to prevent slipping
- pricier than other models
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Poolmaster 50513
- rear handles assist with back stroke
- dries quickly in the sun
- heavy and bulky
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Nordesco Rigid
- supports average adult's weight
- rigid design withstands heavy use
- stands out at the public pool
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
3. Tyr Hydrofoil
- ergonomic surface
- angled cutouts for hand placement
- convex center for gliding
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
2. Finis Foam
- does not bend under pressure
- suitable for sensitive skin
- isolates leg muscles
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Speedo Team
- good for multiple applications
- eva foam construction
- appropriate for resistance training
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
What Separates a Good Kickboard From a Great One?
When it comes to kickboards, it's best to prioritize substance over style, as there are a lot of sleek-looking boards that simply can't live up to their design. The classic kickboard is shaped like a U (or a tombstone) across the top, thus allowing the board to make easy turns while in the water. Certain boards are also built with hollow slots along the rim. These slots act as a safety mechanism by keeping a submerged board from springing up and hitting its owner in the chin.
Most people prefer a kickboard to be light (i.e., 5-12 oz.), but not flimsy. Ideally, you'll want a board to be made out of either plastic, or fiberglass, or polyurethane. Foam boards aren't very durable, and you're likely to encounter some problems whenever you're trying to balance significant weight on a foam board in the water.
It's important to note whether a kickboard has been designed with any type of a curve along the base. A curved base will allow you to avoid knocking into the board with your knees - or your head - whenever you're doing standard exercises. In addition, a curved base will keep the board from jamming into your chest whenever you're leaning on it from behind.
As a precaution, you may want to do some research to ensure a kickboard offers UV protection. Certain boards attract the sun by virtue of their colors. This could, of course, cause a major sunburn if you happen to be outdoors on a kickboard for any extended period of time. In addition, it helps to confirm that a kickboard is weatherproof. Certain plastics are prone to warping, and a lot of people tend to leave their pool supplies out in the yard during the cold-weather months.
A Quick Breakdown of The Most Beneficial Kickboard Exercises
Swimming has tremendous cardiovascular benefits. And whether you are an experienced swimmer or someone who rarely goes to the deep end of the pool, using a kickboard can make exercising in the water a whole lot easier, and fun.
The most straightforward kickboard exercise requires that you drape the top half of your arms over a board, while kicking your legs across a pool. This builds the quads, while easing joint and muscle pain throughout your lower body. You can shift the focus to your hips by maintaining the same position, while bringing one leg up, and out - as if you were climbing - until that leg runs parallel with your waist. Switch legs. Repeat.
One of the benefits of doing kickboard exercises in a pool is that the water offers a natural form of resistance, which is the basis for a lot of fitness equipment. As an example, consider one kickboard exercise that requires you to stand in chest-high water, while pressing down against the side rails of a board. You can build your biceps and your forearms this way (just be mindful not to lose hold of the board).
If you're an experienced swimmer, you can really work the abs (along with the shoulders) by lying on your back while holding the board above your head and kicking forward. This exercise is difficult in that it places the onus almost entirely on your lower-body. But it'll pay significant dividends if you can build up to doing it while kicking your way across the water.
A Brief History of The Kickboard
Kickboards were invented by Adolph Kiefer, an American swimmer who set an Olympic record in 1936 on his way to taking home the gold. Upon returning from Berlin, Kiefer was hired by the U.S. Military to handle water training. Eager to help recruits work on their leg strength, Kiefer developed a series of "kickboards," which he had designed by way of combining plastic polymers with fiberglass.
These boards caught on so quickly that Kiefer began to manufacture them. Within a few years, the "Kiefer Kickboard" had become a staple of the physical-therapy market. The demand for these kickboards was such that it led to increased competition, along with several derivative items, including the swimming noodle and the leg buoy.
By the 1970s, kickboards had evolved into a training tool for aspiring swimmers, as well as toddlers who had just started making their way into a pool. Once the fitness craze took hold, waterbugs throughout the U.S. began to experiment with different aerobic exercises that could be done via a kickboard in the pool.
Today, you can find kickboards at any swim club, gym, water park, therapy center, YMCA, or aquatic class. Kickboards are still used as a military resource, and they are often used in conjunction with certain facets of lifeguard training, as well.