Breaststroke Kick Technique

Step by step basics...

Breaststroke kick is the powerhouse of breaststroke swimming stroke. Get this wrong and you go nowhere.  

The complete leg kick should be a simultaneous and flowing action, resulting in a powerful boost that provides propulsion to the overall stroke.

Breaststroke Kick Step By Step...

Step 1:

Knees bend as the heels are drawn up towards the seat.  At the same time, it is important for the legs to bend at the hips, effectively drawing the knees up under the body.  

Step 2:

Feet and toes are turned out, exposing the surface area of the soles of the feet to the water, ready for them to drive the water backwards.

Turning the feet out and exposing the soles of the feet to the water gives a larger surface area from which to provide power for the kick than if the toes and feet remained pointed backwards.

Step 3:

The legs sweep outwards, around and slightly downwards in a flowing circular path, accelerating as they kick.  The knees remains close together, inside the line of the hips as the heels and soles of the feet drive around and back to provide power and propulsion to the stroke.   The legs and feet then return straight together with toes pointed, to assist in providing a streamlined body position.

The leg action provides the largest amount of propulsion in the stroke and swimmers will favour a wedge kick or a whip kick depending on which comes most naturally.  Either way, the kick is a vital component of the timing and coordination of the overall stroke.

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Click here for some great exercises to help develop your leg kick technique and strength.  


Click here to download your copy of How To Swim Breaststroke.

Breaststroke Made Easy

"Made me correct some bad habits I didn't know I had. Absolutely brilliant!"


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Breaststroke Made Easy

"Made me correct some bad habits I didn't know I had. Absolutely brilliant!"


Click for more info

Correct technique is essential for maximising the propulsion and momentum gained from a good breaststroke leg kick.  When combined with an effective arm pull and put together into the correct timing sequence, breaststroke becomes smooth and clean.

However, the leg kick provides the power.  

For a whip kick, the legs kick in a whip-like action with the knees remaining close together. For a wedge kick the legs kick in a wider, more deliberate circular path.

Common Breaststroke Leg Kick Mistakes

The feet cause most of the problems when it comes to kicking.  Failure to turn the feet out will result in a lack of power and that feeling of going nowhere.  

Failure to turn out both feet and only turning out one foot will result in something known as a screw kick.  This is where one leg kicks correctly and the other swings around providing no propulsion at all.  

The best exercise for correcting these common faults is to swim on your back (supine) with a woggle or noodle held under the arms for support.  Then the swimmer is able to sit up slightly and watch their own leg kick as they perform it.

Kicking in slow motion at first making a conscious effort to turn out both feet and ensure both legs and feet are symmetrical is best before attempting to add power.

For more details on the separate parts of Breaststroke, click on a part below

Fine-tune your leg kick with these simple exercises

Download these documents to your computer, tablet or mobile device and fine-tune your breaststroke leg kick.  The exercises below are designed to isolate the leg kick action so that you can focus on the included tips and technique points. 

Holding the poolside


Supine with a noodle under arms


Holding a float under each arm


Holding one float out in front


Supine with hands on hips


Prone with arms in front


Holding vertical float


Click here for more breaststroke exercises.

All of these documents are PDF format and are compatible with all tablet and mobile devices.  Some computers may need PDF reading software such as Adobe Acrobat.

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