Butterfly Kick Technique

Take the basics and make them powerful...

An effective butterfly kick is often compared to that of a dolphin's tail as it powerfully flicks up and down, causing it to accelerate through the water with ease and grace.  

Sounds like what you're looking for?  Read on...

butterfly leg kick movement like the tail of a dolphin

Strictly speaking, the leg kick for butterfly is an extension of the undulating body movement which, if we are going to be technical, begins with movement of the head.  

A small movement of the head moves through the whole body, getting bigger as it goes and ending with an accelerating explosive down kick of the legs that causes the body to flow like a wave through the water.

Butterfly Kick Video Demonstration

FREE Butterfly Stroke Technique eBook

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

Don't miss out!  Click here to grab a FREE copy of my book. 

Essential Parts of Butterfly Leg Kick

1.  The legs kick simultaneously in an action that is similar to that of front crawl but with a greater and more pronounced knee bend.  

Butterfly kick technique for beginners

2.  The upbeat of the kick should come from the hips as they undulate.

3.  The ankles should be relaxed with toes pointed.

Butterfly swimming stroke leg kick technique

4.  The legs move upwards during the undulating body movement, as the head and shoulders dive downwards.

5.  Knees bend and then straighten on the downbeat to provide propulsion. The legs should accelerate to provide power on the downbeat.

Do You Make These Common Butterfly Kick Mistakes?

1.   A breaststroke type leg kick can sometimes be performed by mistake, due to the simultaneous nature of the kick itself.

Most swimmers that are able to perform breaststroke fairly well will naturally kick their legs in a small circle when attempting butterfly leg kick for the first time.

2.  Another common mistake is to place an emphasis on the arm pull for butterfly and therefore lose all power from the leg kick. 

The legs just go through the motions when in fact they are needed to assist the body to rise out of the water so that the arm pull and recovery can be completed with minimum effort.

Butterfly drills to try out

1.  Performing the kick whilst holding a float or kickboard out in front with straight arms will help develop the technique and power required for this movement.

2.  The kick can also be practised in a supine (face up) position with the legs kicking upwards towards the water surface.  This is also a great for strengthening the abdominal and deep core muscles, which are especially needed in this stroke more so than in any of the other basic swimming strokes. 

Click here for more butterfly drills.

Now perfect the rest of the stroke...

Now you are on track to making huge improvements to your butterfly leg kick, download my book 'How To Swim Butterfly', and get your arm pulls, breathing and coordination to follow suit. 

Download this instantly to your mobile or tablet device and get a detailed breakdown of the whole stroke, plus butterfly drills that focus on each part of the technique. 

 Click below to download your copy or click here for more information.

The easy to follow guide to how to swim butterfly stroke


Buy a PRINTED copy from: 

You can also download from:

Related Pages

  1. Swim Teach Home
  2.  ›
  3. butterfly stroke
  4.  ›
  5. butterfly kick