Breaststroke Kick Technique

The technical aspects of learning breaststroke kick can be daunting. It's an essential skill, though, and with a bit of guidance, you can master it. Whether you are a complete beginner or you can already swim, it can be very disheartening when you put your all into your breaststroke, and your leg kick ultimately lets you down. You feel you are going nowhere and even feel like you are going backwards sometimes!

Let me break down the breaststroke kick into easy-to-understand steps to help you overcome some of the typical challenges.

Breaststroke Kick Video

FREE EBOOK:  all technique tips here can be found in my 'Breaststroke Technique' book, along with a couple of bonus drills to help you perfect some essential parts of the stroke.

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Breaststroke Legs:  Step By Step...

Your starting position should be laying flat on the water, face down, with your legs straight out behind you and together. Your arms should be extended straight ahead, with your hands together. Use a buoyancy aid to help give you some support, such as a float or kickboard in your hands, if needed.

Step 1:

The first step is bending your knees and bringing your heels towards your buttocks. At the same time, bend your legs at your hips, draw your knees up under your hips, and keep your feet relaxed. It's essential to avoid letting your knees go too far apart; instead, try to keep them hip-width apart.

Step 2:

Turning your feet outwards exposes the surface area of the soles of your feet to the water, ready for them to drive the water backwards. 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:

Once your feet are flexed and rotated outwards, outwards, around and slightly downwards in a flowing circular path, accelerating as you kick. Some refer to this as a 'whip' motion. Your heels and soles of the feet drive around and back to provide power and propulsion to the stroke, which generates the propulsion to move forward. Remember to keep your upper body and head steady and streamlined to minimise resistance.

As the kick completes, swiftly bring your legs back together in a streamlined position, with feet together and toes pointed, to retain momentum. Your leg kick should finish behind you again, ready for the next kick cycle.

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Let's take a look at the common challenges

A Lack of Coordination: Synchronising leg movements can be tricky at first. Practice the above steps on dry land to get a feel of the motion. Sit on a chair and look down at your legs as you work slowly through the movements. Repeat the kick cycles until they become a little more automatic.

Timing and Coordination: Proper timing between the kick and upper body movements is crucial. A handy tip is to start the kick just before your hands begin to pull toward your body. Practice on dry land by laying over a chair and using your arm pull and leg kick movements, pulling first and then kicking. For more details on breaststroke timing and coordination, click here.

Lack of Propulsion: Gaining the most propulsion while keeping water resistance low is the key to an effective breaststroke kick. Try to kick out and around as hard as possible while squeezing your legs back together as fast as possible to reduce drag.

Don't make these common mistakes

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

  1. Failure to turn out both feet and only to turn out one foot will result in something known as a 'screw kick'. A screw kick is where one leg kicks correctly and the other swings around, providing no propulsion at all. 
  2. The best exercise for correcting these common faults is to perform breaststroke leg kick on your back (supine) with a woggle or noodle held under the arms for support. Then, you can sit up slightly and watch as your legs kick.
  3. Kicking in slow motion at first, consciously turning out both feet and ensuring both legs and feet are symmetrical is best before attempting to add power.

Time to take your breaststroke to the next level

Learning breaststroke can be a complex task. Take it one step at a time, focus on getting each movement right, and gradually bring it all together. Before you know it, you'll cut through the water with a powerful and efficient breaststroke technique. Happy swimming!

'How To Swim Breaststroke' is your ticket to perfect breaststroke. Discover over 20 exercises that take each part of your swimming stroke and help fine-tune that part. Then, it will bring all the parts together to make you swim a fully formed and near-perfect breaststroke swimming stroke.

Click below and download your copy of my book today!  

How To Swim Breaststroke with ease and confidence.
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