3 Types of Kicks You’ll Use When Swimming

Swimming can be surprisingly technical. There’s more to it than just hopping in the water and moving your arms and legs the way you’ve seen other people do and hope that it will be enough to move you forward. Everything is actually pretty clearly defined, including the way you kick your legs.

Flutter Kick

The type of kick you’re probably the most familiar with is the flutter kick. When you do a flutter kick, you scissor your legs up and down. Your legs should be extended with the knees relaxed as you kick. Avoid kicking from your knees. Instead, kick from your hips, allowing your body to rotate side to side slightly. The kicks should be short and fast, with your legs just below the surface of the water. Try to keep an even rhythm, with your kicks twice as fast as your arm strokes.

Dolphin Kick

If you’ve ever seen a dolphin swimming, whether in person or in a video, that should give you some idea of what a dolphin kick entails. To do a dolphin kick, you’ll bring your legs together from thighs to toes and kick them together from your hips. You’ll probably find that most of your body moves along with your hips and legs, which is perfectly normal. The dolphin kick is usually done in combination with the butterfly stroke.

Breaststroke Kick

The breaststroke kick is the third type of kick that you’ll use while swimming. This kick starts out similar to the dolphin kick, with your legs together from thighs to toes. From there, you’ll bend your knees, keeping your heels together and allowing the feet to flex as you bring your feet towards your buttocks. After bringing your feet in, kick your legs out strongly towards the sides of the pool before bringing them back together in the starting position. This kick may make you feel a bit like a frog as you swim. As you might imagine, the breaststroke kick is done together with the breaststroke.

Using the right kick at the right time is part of doing any given type of stroke properly. Doing any given type of kick properly with good technique is just as important. Good technique will help you swim better and reduce your risk of injury. Not sure how to kick with good technique or if your form needs some work? You can always sign up for swim lessons and get the answers to your questions as well as the feedback you need to improve.

Kicking is just one of the things you’ll learn in SwimJim’s swimming programs. Learn more about our Learn to Swim Programs here.