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.
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.
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.