Originally Posted by Rincewind
If I point my toes while sitting on a chair I can get about 135 degrees. I've been doing the sitting on feet stretch every day before and after exercise. In fact I've been doing it ever since my cross country running days at college. (25 odd years?) But my ankles just dont get any more flexion =(.
I dont believe exceptional ankle flexibility is essential for the beginner level that I am at, but it does make balance drills a lot easier.
I am pretty much forced to wear fins or I dont move down the pool when kicking.
A lot of advice on forums doesn't take into account the specifics of the people we are talking to. The rule of thumb is to kick with a straight leg using pointed toes and you'll get propulsion. That's great for 13-30 year old, swim team members and triathletes, but the reality that is that the older fitness swimmer is unlikely to get much propulsion with that advice. Your feet just aren't going to flex enough to push enough water backwards to move you forwards much.
I struggled with this for a while and the simple solution is to bend your leg a tad when kicking - almost like a whipping motion. This gives the top of the foot a better angle to more easily push water backwards. You want to bend your leg just enough to provide some propulsion but not enough to become an opposing force to your forward motion. Experiment a little w/o fins - they just become a crutch.
Also, don't get in your head that the kick is going to do much for propulsion anyway. It mostly helps you with core rotation and keeps the legs streamlined with the body. If you get that and a little propulsion to boot, consider that pretty good.