How to flutter kick

The flutter kick is a kicking movement used in both swimming and exercise. Nonetheless, the flutter kick is commonly used in different strokes, like freestyle or backstroke. The flutter kick is not only meant to drive a swimmer forward, but it is also to keep the legs up and help the assist and stabilize the upper body and body rotations for the arms. Simply, all you have to do is move your legs up and down (one leg kicking downwards while the other leg moves upwards). The flutter kick is a basic skill in swimming the front crawl.

Learn how to do the flutter kick correctly with these couple of steps.

Step 1: Try the flutter kick in a stationary position.

  • Do this by holding onto the pool wall or edge. Allow your body to extend so that it is as horizontal as possible in the water. Ideally, you want your face submerged in the water so that your body stays horizontal. However, you can take your head out of the water to breath, but remember that it will be more difficult to be horizontal and to stabilize your body in the water.

How to flutter kick

Step 2: Begin moving one leg up and down.

  • Push one leg down in the water by slightly bending the knee and pushing the water down on top of your foot. The slight bend in the knee will allow the facilitation of the kicking action, but remember to not bend it too much otherwise it will create a drag. When doing it correctly, the power driven in your hip will naturally move the knee slightly. Do not forget to point and slightly turn inwards your toes to also minimize dragging within the water.

Step 3: Repeat step 2 with the opposite leg.

  • Continue following the directions from step 2 on the opposite leg. Remember to keep in mind that your legs and feet should stay in the water while kicking.

Step 4: Now try alternating legs to kick.

  • Keep one leg down while the other floats up. Do this a couple times and begin increasing the speed until you are kicking in a quick pace. If you are having trouble during this time, that is okay. For example, if your legs are sinking in the water, then try pushing your chest further down into the water. However, if your legs are rising up too much, then allow your back to float towards the surface of the water or kick at a lower strength and speed.

Step 5: Start slowly letting go of the pool wall or edge.

  • See if you can maintain the flutter kick as well as a horizontal position in the water. This will prepare you to start moving in the water with the flutter kick.

Step 6: Try moving in the water by practicing the flutter kick with a kickboard.

  • Use a kickboard in the pool and use it as a support by holding it in your hands out in front of you. Get into a horizontal position and begin the flutter kick. Remember to adjust the strength and speed of your kick according to your body position. Again, holding your head out of the water to breathe is acceptable, but you may not find yourself to be horizontal.

How to flutter kick

Step 7: Try to flutter kick without any water equipment.

  • Do this by pushing yourself off the pool wall using your legs. When you emerge into the water, straighten your body so that you are horizontal. Once you feel yourself losing momentum from the push off the wall, begin the flutter kick. Your arms should be above your head, one hand on top of the other hand, and do not forget to point your toes.

With those seven steps, you should be able to begin the flutter kick. Once you have gotten the kick, then you can begin to add your arms for more of a challenge.

There are ways to improve the flutter kick through incorporating different types of techniques. For example, improving ankle strength can improve your flutter kick. Improving ankle strength is done out of the water, such as incorporating skipping or jump roping to develop strength in one’s ankles. Ankle strength will allow for more stabilization during a flutter kick. Learning to balance out your flutter kick will also improve the kick. All you have to do is be more attentive to the upward part of the kick, and this can be practiced by incorporating vertical kicking. Another technique to incorporate in order to improve flutter kicks, is to kick the water backwards, not just downwards. In order to do this, you have to have flexible ankles. There are ways to improve ankle flexibility, which will catch more water and allow you to push more water backwards. Two great exercises for flexible ankles include ankle rockers and ankle rotations. Finally, kick mindfully and practice your flutter kick. In doing so, you will be able to flutter kick better and, ultimately, be able to swim faster.

Continue trying to find new ways to challenge yourself and ways to flutter kick. This includes adding arms, trying new swimming strokes, and continuing to practice. For example, try using your flutter kick in a freestyle stroke. The flutter kick is simultaneously used with a windmill motion of the arms. In a backstroke, the flutter kick is similar except you position yourself face-up (in a back float) while being horizontal. In this stroke, you will alternate arms in a windmill motion, similar to a freestyle stroke. Using a kickboard is also an ideal drill to continue practicing your flutter kicks.

Overall, these are ways to execute the flutter kicks and be able to swim efficiently and to lay the foundation for other swimming strokes. Having a flutter kick that is exceptional will help you become a better swimmer. The techniques and drills that I mentioned will not only improve your flutter kicks and your swimming overall, but it also adds speed, strength, and balance to your whole body while swimming.

Need more help to perfect your swimming strokes? Hire a Sunsational private swimming instructor to come to your own home or community pool today!

Samantha Nguyen’s bio:

Swim Instructor in Chicago, IL

Hi! My name is Sam. I’ve been teaching swim lessons for over two years. I have worked with a range of people, including babies, children, teenagers and adults. I’ve worked with children for 8 years as a camp counselor, babysitter, coach, and teacher assistant. I went to UIC and graduated in 2018 with 2 degrees in criminal justice and psychology. I love teaching swimming because I love to see the progress of my swimmers who went from not knowing how to swim to being able to swim on their own.

Keep these points in mind to help fix your flutter kick

A sizable percentage of the propulsion in your freestyle comes from your kick, but you need to have proper technique, strength, and endurance to take advantage of your legs.

Here are four keys for getting a more technically sound freestyle kick.

Remember Your Feet

The most important thing to keep in mind in regard to a proper freestyle kick is that propulsion comes from the top of your feet. So, the more you can relax your ankle and point your toes, the better. By doing those two things, you increase the surface area pushing against the water and that allows you to push more water away from your body, increasing your propulsion. Everything else your legs do (mechanically) aid the “flick” that happens from your feet on your down-kick. This includes the knee bend, hip swing, and core firing.

Start With the Core and Hips

Your core and hips should always initiate your flutter kick. Think of your kick like a wave, one that starts in the midsection of your body and goes down to your toes.

Some swimmers initiate their kick with their knees, causing a huge bend in their knees. Instead, your knees should only be bent at about 120 degrees. This is similar to how much knee bend you have when you walk. Also, when you walk, you’re swinging your legs more from your hip than from your knee. Follow that thinking when you kick.

Kick the Heel Out

You want your heel to exit the water on every up-kick, which ensures that you’re bending your knees enough. Some swimmers try to kick too much with their hips and don’t bend their knees to initiate the flick with their feet.

Your entire foot doesn’t need to exit the water, just the heel to halfway down the arch. If you’re flexing your foot well throughout your kick, your toes might also break the surface.

Finish Your Kick

Finish the down-kick in front of your body (closer to the bottom of the pool). This ensures that you’re using the full firing capacity of your quadriceps.

This is where video analysis comes in very handy. If your coach records you under the water and you don’t see your kick finishing in front of your body, you aren’t using all of the force you’re able to generate from your quads, which causes your kick to not be as powerful as it can be.

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Flutter kick — The flutter kick is a kicking movement used in both swimming and calisthenics.In swimming (either front crawl or backstroke), the legs are extended straight out in line with the body and then moved up and down, the one leg kicking downwards as… … Wikipedia

flutter kick — flut′ter kick n. spo a swimming kick in which the legs make rapid alternate up and down movements while the knees remain rigid … From formal English to slang

flutter kick — noun a swimming kick; the legs are moved rapidly up and down without bending the knees • Hypernyms: ↑swimming kick • Part Holonyms: ↑crawl, ↑front crawl, ↑Australian crawl, ↑backstroke … Useful english dictionary

flutter kick — a swimming kick in which the legs make rapid alternate up and down movements while the knees remain rigid, as in the crawl. [1930 35] * * * … Universalium

flutter kick — noun a kick technique in which the swimmer kicks the legs alternately up and down for propulsion … Wiktionary

flutter-kick — /ˈflʌtə kɪk/ (say flutuh kik) noun (in swimming) a kick, usually performed as part of freestyle, in which the legs are held straight and moved up and down alternately … Australian-English dictionary

flutter kick — noun Date: circa 1934 an alternating whipping motion of the legs used in various swimming styles (as the crawl) … New Collegiate Dictionary

flutter — /ˈflʌtə / (say flutuh) verb (i) 1. to flap or wave lightly in air, as a flag. 2. (of birds, etc.) to flap or attempt to flap the wings, or fly with flapping movements. 3. to move in quick, irregular motions. 4. to beat fast and irregularly, as… … Australian-English dictionary

flutter — flutterer, n. flutteringly, adv. /flut euhr/, v.i. 1. to wave, flap, or toss about: Banners fluttered in the breeze. 2. to flap the wings rapidly; fly with flapping movements. 3. to move in quick, irregular motions; vibrate. 4. to beat rapidly,… … Universalium

flutter board — flutter board, = kick board. (Cf. ↑kick board) … Useful english dictionary

More than just an ab move, flutter kicks strengthen the glutes, hip flexors, and quads.

It only takes a few seconds of flutter kicks to set your abs—especially the hard-to-target lower abdominal wall—on fire. But the benefits of flutter kicks go beyond the core, explains Kara Miklaus, trainer and owner of WORK in Irvine, California. “Flutter kicks also work your glutes, hip flexors, and quads,” she says. “Working all these muscles is an integral part of any cross-training plan for runners to help strengthen all the muscles needed for a powerful stride.”

Starting with the basic flutter kick, make sure your lower back is pressed against the ground and aim to keep your legs straight and raised at a 45-degree angle (at first, you may need to lift your legs higher or bend the knees slightly). As you build core strength and perfect the standard flutter kick, up the challenge with a couple of Miklaus’s favorite flutter kick variations

How to Use This List: Pick 2 flutter kick variations to incorporate into your existing core workout. Complete 3 sets of each exercise. Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, resting 15 seconds between exercises.

Each move is demonstrated by Jason Hardy, certified trainer, in the video above so you can master the proper form. An exercise mat is recommended.

Flutter Kick

Lie faceup with legs straight and feet flexed. Place both hands palms down on either side of hips for support. Drawing belly button toward spine, use your abdominals to lift legs about 45 degrees off the floor and flutter them—lift left leg, then right, then left, and repeat.

Scissor Kick

Lie faceup with legs straight and feet flexed. Place both hands palms down on either side of hips for support. Drawing belly button toward spine, use your abdominals to lift your left leg 45 degrees off the floor and right leg 6 inches from floor. Draw both legs in toward midline, crossing left leg over right. Draw legs apart and switch them, crossing right leg over left. Continue to switch and cross legs in a scissor motion.

Leg Raise with Flutter Kick

Lie faceup with legs straight and feet flexed. Place both hands palms down on either side of hips for support. Drawing belly button toward spine, use your abdominals to simultaneously raise and flutter your legs—lift left leg, then right, then left, and repeat—until both legs are at a 90-degree angle. Continuing to flutter your legs, lower them until they’re hovering a few inches above the floor.

Crunch to Flutter Kick

Lie faceup with legs straight and feet flexed. Interlace fingers behind your head and, drawing belly button toward spine, lift head, shoulders, and feet a few inches off the floor. Use your abdominals to perform a single crunch, lifting your chest and bending your knees. Straighten your legs and flutter them 4 times—lift left leg, then right, then left, then right.

How to flutter kick

Like all the very best abs exercises, flutter kicks don’t seem very hard at all when you first start doing them. Then, after 20 seconds or so, as the tension builds in your abs, you start to realise that you’re in for a world of pain, and then 25 seconds in you absolutely will not believe how slowly those last five seconds passed.

Flutter kicks are an essential abs exercise for anyone looking to sculpt a six-pack or strengthen their core. It’s a particular good exercise for swimmers, working the muscles needed to propel yourself through the water with your legs. Flutter kicks sometimes also go by the name scissor kicks, but to us that implies more movement of the feet than required. A flutter really is all it takes.

How To Do Flutter Kicks

Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly off the ground and engage your core muscles. Lift your feet 15cm off the ground, keeping your legs extended. Move one foot up and the other down, alternating at pace while keeping your torso still – maintaining tension in the rest of your body is crucial to gaining the core benefits of the move.

Aim to flutter for 30-60 seconds, but don’t be surprised if you tap out earlier than that at first – the burning in your abs builds up remarkably quickly with this exercise. If you’re really struggling with the move, try doing it while keeping your head and shoulders on the ground.

See related

Flutter Kicks Variations

Reverse flutter kicks

Flip yourself over for a flutter kick variation that mainly targets the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and obliques. Lie on a weight bench with your hips on the edge so your legs are free to move up and down. Hold the front of the bench for balance. Start with your legs level with the rest of your body, squeeze your glutes, then start to slowly move them up and down under control.

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also co-founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers.

The top athletes in the pool are not only fast swimmers, they are fast kickers. Here is your guide to a faster freestyle kick.

The fastest freestylers on the planet always have an unbelievable kick.

Alexander Popov, two-time Olympic champion in both the 50m and 100m freestyles could kick a 50m long course in 27 seconds. Cesar Cielo, world record holder in the 50 and 100m freestyle can kick the same length in 30 seconds.

Other top sprinters including Americans Nathan Adrian and Jimmy Feigen have made it clear that to swim fast you need to put in work on your legs. Even if you are not a sprint swimmer, athletes like Katie Ledecky are showing that you need to have some serious wheels in the lower body to compete at an elite level.

Despite this, it seems many swimmers (and even coaches) don’t emphasize lower body work in the pool. Sure, a bunch of kick sets might get scrawled up at the beginning of the season for aerobic work, but this typically tapers off as the season unwinds.

Your legs, being those big trunks of muscle that they are, need to be in hilarious shape in order to develop the type of propulsion and stability necessary for high speed swimming.

Why You Should Be Working on Your Freestyle Kick

Doing kick goes beyond just giving your shoulders a break (although that is a solid reason in itself).

And it’s easy to understand why we ignore our legs– they are working down below on their own, while we are paying attention to what is happening right in front of us with our arms and hands.

But having a solid flutter kick will help you become a better swimmer overall.

  • Added propulsion. The immediate goal of developing a faster flutter kick is as basic as wanting to go faster. The faster you can kick, the faster you can swim. It’s as simple as that.
  • A strong kick gives you a killer body position in the water. Beyond propulsion, kicking—particularly for sprinters—helps the speed-seeking swimmer maintain a high body position in the water. While we are still a ways away from sprint swimmers completely hydro-planing across the water, that is the goal.
  • A strong kick launches you in to your arm pull.Strong legs and a strong kick add power to your hip rotation. This in turn helps you drive your arms forward for a faster and more dynamic arm pull. Your freestyle stroke benefits from having more power from the core and your kick.
  • A strong kick keeps your stroke together. Strong legs come in handy towards the end of races, where your muscles are failing left and right, with your stroke disintegrating with each passing meter. Having the endurance in your lower body is essential to keeping your body position in the most efficient and powerful position possible.

How to Improve Your Freestyle Kick

So now that we understand why having a strong flutter kick is important, what can we do to improve our flutter kick?

Here are 6 tips for improving your freestyle kick:

1. Improve ankle strength.

Swimmers can be forgiven for having ankles that aren’t the most stable. We spend a majority of our time training in water, with horizontal push-offs the only real shock to our little feet. Swimmers can build up ankle strength by incorporating skipping into their warm-up/mobility/dryland plan.

Skipping rope is not only a low impact way to quickly develop strength in your ankles and calves, but it will also develop overall athleticism and help you be lighter on your feet, which comes in handy for developing quicker turns and starts.

2. Balance out your kick.

For most swimmers there is a near total focus on the downward portion of the kick, with the upward motion acting as a recovery movement. While we lack the musculature to develop a truly balanced kick, one of the fastest ways you can improve your kick is by being more attentive to the upward part of the kick.

Incorporating vertical kicking into your training is one of the easiest ways to force yourself to be more attentive to the upkick. One of my favorite kicking drills, when done correctly it forces you to be more balanced with your kicking in order to keep your head above the water.

Pro Tip: Add a weight belt, DragSox, or try performing your vertical kick work with swim fins to make things even more challenging.

3. Stop kicking down, and start kicking backward.

Just like how with our pull we strive to have an early vertical forearm so that we are pulling our bodies forward through the water by pulling backward, with our feet we want to be kicking the water backward, and not just downwards.

This requires flexible ankles, otherwise, swimmers will bend their knees to a nearly 90-degree angle in order to push water backward with the top of their feet.

4. Improve ankle flexibility.

Having flexible ankles means that you can catch more water with your foot, and achieve an EVA (early vertical ankle) that will allow you to push more water backward.

But for swimmers who have limited mobility in their ankles, this will require some mobilization work.

Here are two quick fixes for low-mobility ankles:

  • Ankle rockers. A simple stretch you can add to your pre-and post-workout dryland work. Sit on the back of your ankles. Lean back, lifting your knees off the ground. You’ll feel the stretch pretty quickly in the top of your feet. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat a couple times.
  • Ankle rotations. As a swimmer, you’ve mastered a wide variety of arm swings. You can do the same with your ankles, doing 15-20 foot rotations in each direction. The best part is that you can do it while sitting on the couch.

5. Kick Mindfully.

When doing kick sets you should be mindful of the movements of your legs, of driving from your hips, of cracking your ankles like a whip.

Mindless kicking is fun for aerobic endurance I suppose, but you want to be efficient as well, and this comes by being mindful of your kicking technique.

All too often at the pool I watch swimmers pay careful attention to the placement of their hands in the catch and pull, but when it comes to kick they thrash their legs back and forth with little thought to what they are doing.

6. Kick more. A lot more.

There is no substitute for doing more kick in practice. There is no secret dryland exercise or magical technical adjustment that will replace simply doing more kick during your workouts.

For a moment consider how much kick are you actually doing in your workouts. (And no, dragging your legs around doing a 1-beat kick doesn’t count.)

Add in extra 15-20 minutes of varied work on the kickboard. If short on pool space crank out some vertical kicking. Do high-intensity kicking and long, low-intensity kicking.

Once your freestyle kick starts to improve you will want to do it more. (Ain’t that always the case—soon as you start to master something you want to do more of it?)

Keep it fresh, keep it fun, keep it challenging, and flutter kick your way to faster swimming.

How to flutter kick

Anyone who has ever taken a Pilates mat class has likely done flutter kicks at least once or twice, but for the rest of us, the lower-abs exercise is much less likely to be familiar. Vastly different from crunches or sit-ups, flutter kicks use your legs to tone your lower-abdominals area. They require no equipment, and you need just enough space to lay down on a mat or a floor to do them.

Flutter kicks require some finesse and caution in order to be comfortable for your back and neck, so we asked trainers to advise us on how to properly do them, and why we should.

Meet the Expert

Shantani Moore is a master fitness trainer and an XPRO for Pure Barre GO.

What Are Flutter Kicks?

Flutter kicks are a core exercise that targets your lower abs. They differ from sit-ups or crunches, which target more of your upper abs, because those involve you scrunching into your stomach while flutter kicks require you to keep your abs fairly stable and stiff. This move involves moving your legs, with your neck propped up while they are held straight. The legs are held low to the ground, just a few inches off the floor, and your neck and shoulders are also held only a few inches off the floor. The motion you make with your legs is, no surprise, a fluttering one, similar to how you would if swimming the backstroke. Popoff tells us that in addition to your core, your hip flexors are also used in this exercise, and Moore notes that they've become popular in not only Pilates classes but also barre ones as well.

Benefits of Flutter Kicks

Though they can help in one's quest for a six-pack, flutter kicks have numerous other benefits, too. Moore tells us that "flutter kicks help to sculpt your core—improving your frame—strengthen your trunk stabilizers, and improve your posture. This move not only helps you look stronger but also actually feel stronger too!" Why is a strong core important? Popoff notes that "a stronger core helps improve posture and performance in several other exercises that stem from the core."

How to Perform Flutter Kicks

Shantani Moore / Design by Tiana Crispino

  1. Lie down on your back, preferably on a mat rather than on the floor. Popoff instructs us to have our legs extended and arms at our sides. Your palms should be facing down.
  2. Engage your core and lift your head, neck, and shoulders several inches off the ground.
  3. Lift your feet several inches off the ground, while your head, neck, and shoulders are also up. Moore says that "your legs should be straight, if possible, with your toes pointed."
  4. Alternate lifting each of your legs slightly, in a back and forth motion. Both trainers say that it should appear as if you are swimming. You should feel your abs burning fairly quickly.
  5. Continue for a designated amount of time or repetitions, then lower your legs, along with your head, neck, and shoulders, back to your starting position of lying prone on the floor.


If you have any issues with, or injuries in, your neck or shoulders, keep them on the floor and conduct the movement with only your legs raised. Moore says that in this instance, extra focus should be placed on your shoulders and you should "make sure you are actively working from your core the entire time, as tension will want to travel up to your shoulders/neck area."

For those with any problems or weakness in their lower back or hips, Moore recommends bending your knees slightly instead of holding them straight. She tells us that "this may ease any strain, specifically on the lower back and hips," and she encourages focus on this area of the body while you do the move, saying that you can "protect your lower back by drawing your lower abs down to the ground. Make sure there is no space between your back and the floor, to keep yourself safe in this amazing move." Additionally, if you have any back problems, Popoff says to "place a thin cushion under your lower back for more support in your lumbar spine," and to be sure not to let your lumbar spine arch, as that can be damaging to the back.

If the exercise feels too intense on your abs, Victoria suggests lifting and lowering one leg at a time. This will have less of a fluttering appearance, but you will be working the same muscles.

Flutter Kicks vs. Lying Leg Raises

This flutter kick exercise bears some resemblance to lying leg raises. To do a lying leg raise, you lie down on your back, similar to how you would for flutter kicks. From there, you keep your head, neck, and shoulders down, which is different than with flutter kicks, where you raise them. You lift both of your legs in unison, rather than one at a time like flutter kicks, until the are perpendicular to your hips. Your legs should lift until your hips can't be flexed any further with your legs straight. Then, you release your legs back down to your starting position. By moving your legs, this also works your lower abs and hip flexors, similar to flutter kicks. However, lying leg raises are also a leg exercise because they work your hamstrings and quads too. Additionally, they target the upper abs. That makes flutter kicks a more specific lower-abs-targeting exercise than leg raises, which is more of a comprehensive lower-body workout move. Because their range of motion is larger, they may also be more difficult for people with back issues.

Safety Considerations

Anyone with neck or shoulder problems should not perform this move unless it is modified, with their heads and shoulders kept on the floor. Anyone with a lower-back injury should either avoid the move, or take the precautions mentioned, like utilizing a cushion under the spine. Pregnant people should consult with their practitioner before doing abs workouts, including flutter kicks.

The Takeaway

Flutter kicks are a lower-abs exercise. To perform them, you lie on your back, then lift your head, neck, shoulders, and legs a few inches off the floor. Once in position, you keep your legs straight and flutter them up and down, alternating sides. This targets your lower abs and your hip flexors. Flutter kicks can help tone lower abs and also improve core strength, which can improve posture and balance. Flutter kicks should be modified or avoided by anyone with problems in their neck, shoulders, or back. They require no equipment, and don't take up much space to do. This exercise, popular in Pilates classes, is a simple and effective way to work your lower abs.

How to flutter kick

Common Errors in Flutter Kick and Whip Kick – Swimming Tips From Steve Wallen Swim School in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, CA

While much of our propulsion during freestyle and breaststroke comes from our powerful arm actions, the legs play a critical role in maintaining constant thrust, stabilization, and a streamlined body position in the water. When we are learning to swim, it’s vital to develop these flutter and whip kicks effectively, before negative habits can develop. If we continue to swim without feedback on our swim strokes, these same negative habits may develop. Swim lessons, stroke clinics and video analysis are all great ways to improve on your swim stroke and to refine your flutter and whip kicks.

To enhance the efficiency of both flutter kick and whip kick, try this counting drill; swim a length with a kickboard and count the number of kicks that it takes you to complete one length. Then, each subsequent length should be an effort to reduce that count. So, keep counting and swimming until you can lower that kick count substantially. Remember that a weak or poor kick will impact performance, increase drag, and negatively influence body position. These errors will result in a less than efficient swim stroke.

Flutter Kick

How to flutter kick

An effective flutter kick depends on the coordinated action of the entire leg, originating from the hips, and ending at the toes. Consider the motion as a wave of movement through the joints and muscles of the legs. The legs should be fluid, with knee and ankles allowing for that wave. Flutter kick has an upward and downward stage. Common errors in flutter kick include: bending the knees too much, not using both an up and down phase, knees and ankles too stiff, and kicking with the legs moving too far apart.

Keep these tips in mind when swimming flutter kick:

  • Kick in an up and down action, rather than side to side.
  • Don’t kick with your knees, kick with almost straight legs.
  • Feel the kick in all muscles of the legs.
  • The movement is just as the kick’s name suggests: a powerful flutter action.
  • Keep your knee joint loose and fluid, rather than stiff and locked.
  • Keep your ankle joint loose and fluid, rather than stiff and locked.
  • Too much bend in the knee is common, so maintain a soft knee bend.
  • Point your toes straight back behind you to reduce drag, think about keeping your legs long and streamlined.
  • Imagine that you are kicking your socks off to emphasize the up and down movement required for an effective flutter kick.

Whip Kick

How to flutter kick

Whip kick can be a challenge for many people, as it requires multiple phases which must be correctly timed and coordinated. It also requires full flexibility in the knee and ankle joints. It is important to remember that in addition to being one of the most challenging kicks to learn, most of the forward propulsion in breaststroke comes from the kick, not the pull, so an effective whip kick is vital. When you are in the water, take the time to feel where the propulsive phase is occurring; once you can feel this phase, try adding more power. Common errors in whip kick include: bringing the knees toward the stomach, not flexing and turning the feet outwards, not having a fluid “whip” motion in the legs, kicking outward rather than straight back, and closing the legs too slowly during the kick’s finish. These common errors all contribute to an increase in drag, resulting in an inefficient stroke.

Keep these tips in mind when swimming whip kick:

  • Your legs must move simultaneously throughout the kick.
  • As you pull up your feet, do not keep your knees too close together.
  • Keep your buttocks flat, and below the water’s surface.
  • Add power to your kick; do not just “go through the motion.”
  • The kick is not a passive movement; you must drive your legs through the motion.
  • Your feet must be rotated outwards, with your toes flexed toward you shin bones. This is an awkward position for many, so practice this position out of the pool as well as in the water.
  • Keep your knees pointed at the pool bottom, and do not allow them to drift out too wide while you kick.
  • Focus on keeping your hips lifted and your body streamlined. Fix the common error of letting your hips drop by not bringing your knees toward your belly.

Take the time to break your swim strokes down into their parts. Drills focused on flutter and whip kick are essential; incorporate drills into your daily swim. Here are a few drills to try, with or without a kickboard:

How To Flutter Kick:

  1. Kick with a single leg, which will emphasize the up phase of the kick.
  2. Position your body vertically in the water, keep your arms still or genty scull, and kick vertically until your legs are fatigued. Try intervals with rest to build your endurance.

How To Whip Kick:

  1. With arms and hands extended back in the water toward your feet, face in the water, perform the whip kick and try to bring your heels to your knuckles. Notice the push forward as the heels come toward your buttocks.
  2. Repeat the phrase up (knees slightly up), out (ankles move apart), and around (bring your feet around and squeeze the water together) as you kick. Remember to keep the motion fluid, without a pause between these steps.

Get Started With Swim Lessons in Roseville and El Dorado Hills!

How to flutter kick

Refine your flutter kick and whip kick by signing up for swimming lessons at Steve Wallen Swim School! Infants, kids, and adults of all skill levels have been learning to swim and how to be water safe with us for over 40 years!

Steve Wallen Swim School

Steve Wallen Swim School is a premier indoor swim school in the El Dorado Hills, Roseville, and Sacramento area that has been teaching swim lessons and water safety for over 40 years. Their experience in the sport of swimming is immense and includes working with infants, kids, and adults of skill levels ranging from learning how to swim to competitive swimming.

Flutter kicks are an exercise that works the muscles of your core, specifically the lower abdominal muscles and the hip flexors. They look like swimming strokes but are performed on the ground, lying on your back. Or if you want to strengthen your back muscles you can do it by lying on your stomach.

Flutter kicks reshape and tone your lower body. They help you in shedding some extra inches from the belly, hips, and thigh area.

Swimmers perform flutter kick in water to push their bodies forward and that is one of the reasons swimmers usually have well-toned and chiselled lower body. You can get rid of your belly fat as well by emulating a swimmer’s leg movement on a mat and reap other benefits as well.

How to flutter kick

Read on to learn about how to do flutter kicks and what are its benefits:

Hundreds of ab exercises exist, and everyone claims to know which one is best for them. Butt, no single exercise can claim to be the best over the others.

How to do flutter kicks:

Step 1:

Start by lying on your back on a mat with your legs extended and your arms alongside your hips and palms facing down. Or try and settle your hand underneath your rear to elevate your hips.

Lift your legs 4 to 6 inches off the floor. Squeeze your abs to keep your back from over bending or arching.

Step 3:

Keep your legs straight as you step by step raise one leg higher, then switch to the other. Move in a fluttering, up and down motion to get the rhythm.

Step 4:

Perform for 15 to 20 repetitions. Alternatively, perform flutter kick for a period of time, such as 20 to 30 seconds.

Adjust yourself up on your elbows and do the exercise that is flutter kicks in slow motion. This will give your lower abdomen a lot more stability and strength which will help in performing the exercise better.

Best tips to do flutter kicks for maximum benefits:

  • When it comes to flutter kicks it is easy to strain your back by doing this improperly.
  • Raise your head a little higher above the ground.
  • Adjust your hand find your comfort zone
  • Tighten your abs for better strength.
  • Place a yoga mat underneath for comfort and better technique.

Be a little more active and stay mindful while doing this flutter kicks.

The benefits of doing flutter kicks exercise:

It targets your core, legs, and back. Flutter kicks helps in sculpting all these areas and also helps in increasing your fitness level.

Strengthens your core and makes it stronger physically – it primarily targets your lower core. Continuous work on the area strengthens it efficiently. It also helps in improving the manner of your walk.

However, the difference is you are not impacting your lower legs and feet, instead you are using the core to make the motion. This helps in strengthening the core and developing it

Tones lower body efficiently

When it comes to losing weight or toning your body flutter kicks works the best. Repetitive motion works the lower legs and rightly tones them. Losing fat and strengthening their limbs is what athletes look for when getting their fitness back. Flutter kicks benefits the lower back and makes it stronger.

Cardio workout

Just like walking, flutter kicks works like cardio. If the reason for your cardio is to lose belly fat, then flutter kicks benefits will do a better job.

Burns calories

You can lose a lot more calories if you do flutter kicks in medium-high intensity. Shorter bursts can do a lot more than walk or jog. Burning calories is essentially a need of hour as we eat a lot of junk which we want to shed.

Burns belly fat

Not many workouts target your lower body. This workout exercise puts you in a position where you have to use your lower body to get it right. The last in your fitness routine is the belly fat, most of us are scared of it but with this you can achieve a great lower body with no belly fat.

Build endurance

Endurance is consistent resistance against something. It prepares your middle part to stand long hours of movement and not give up easily. This also helps the whole body to feel stronger with time and patience.

Improves Posture & relieves back pain

A strengthened core will take a lot of pressure off your back and make you stand straight. You can keep a better posture for more extended hours and never better.

Never worry about the back pain. Flutter kicks helps in strengthening your core to take load off your back. This whole process of strengthening your back, improving it


Everyday work requires you to be flexible, from picking up something to bending or for working out at the gym. It targets the essential part of your body to help you execute the daily tasks with ease. This can eventually bring down a lot of things which you were missing on before.

Stronger legs

Strengthening, endurance, toning and fat burning-all leads to stronger legs. They are great for swimmers, people who go to gym, runners and any athlete looking to excel at their sport. With flutter kicks legs become stronger and you can try any sports that matters to you.