Imagine a frog swimming through a pond. Their bodies shoot through the water with ease as they snap their legs together. Some people refer to breaststroke kick as “the frog kick” because of its similarity to the way a frog moves through the water.
If you’re unsure where to begin the breaststroke kick, this guide contains some handy steps for you.
Start on the Wall
Hot Tip: Start on the Wall
If you have trouble keeping your feet afloat, grab a noodle. Tuck the noodle under your waist to keep your body afloat. This way, you can focus solely on your leg movement.
Start in the water with both of your hands on the gutter. Lie flat on your stomach with your legs stretched out behind you. Make sure you look straight down to help keep your feet from sinking. Looking down will help straighten your back, and lift your hips higher in the water. This will make it easier for you to float on the surface.
While floating on your stomach, touch your legs together and lock your knees. Flex your feet. To do so, feel your feet pull toward your shin. Flexing your feet allows you to push the water away from you, propelling you forward on every kick.
With your feet flexed, keep your heels touching and turn your toes outward. If you could see your feet, you’d notice that they’re making a “V.” For the remaining steps, try to keep your toes angled away from each other in this V-shape.
Turning your toes out will allow you to use your whole foot to push water. It also flexes your calf, which puts your leg in an ideal position to shove the water back and propel yourself forward.
Next, bend your knees to bring the heels toward your buttocks. Your knees should still touch with your feet flexed. Try not to let your feet come out of the water. Kicking air will not get you anywhere. This will also throw you off-kilter as you kick.
Now bring your legs slightly apart while keeping them bent. Try not to bring your legs too far apart. Many swimmers have very wide breaststroke kicks. Although it may feel intuitive to bring your legs far apart in order to push more water, this is not the case. Instead, keep the kick narrow. Try to let your knees come apart to about shoulder-width apart. This will save you time and effort on the kick.
Now straighten your legs. Your knees should still be about shoulder-width apart, and your feet should still be flexed.
Squeeze Your Legs Together
Next, snap your legs together quickly until you feel them touch. Once again, your legs should be straight and together as they were in Step 1. This snapping motion is what is going to propel you forward. Keep this motion quick.
Glide at this point in the stroke. Between kicks, keep your legs touching with your knees locked. While holding this position, feel yourself shooting forward. If you kick too soon, this is like pulling a parachute: It will slow you down tremendously.
Instead, try to move like a jellyfish through the water. This means alternating between shoots and glides. Feel yourself shoot forward as you snap your legs together. Then, hold your body still for about two seconds before performing the next kick. You’ll feel yourself glide forward as you do so.
Hot Tip: Breathe Forward
Unlike freestyle, look forward when you breathe in breaststroke. Try to keep your chin low and your breath quick so that you don’t sink your hips.
Go through Steps 1-5 over and over again. As you do, think about pattern you make with your feet. Here’s an easy way to remember it: “Up, out, squeeze.” Keep repeating that phrase with each step. At first, it might feel a little confusing. But keep practicing, and you’ll get it down.
Use a Board
As you get more comfortable with the kick, practice with a kickboard. Start by gripping the top of the board. Rest your arms across it. This will keep your face out of the water and allow you to breathe as much as you’d like. It will also help with your balance so you can focus on properly kicking.
Next, grip the bottom of the board and put your face in the water. Stretch your arms out in front of you. This will feel more similar to when you were practicing on the wall. It will also more closely mimic swimming breaststroke. As you progress, keep in mind the simple motion that you do with your feet: “Up, out, squeeze.”
Arms at Your Side
Now that you’ve got the basics of the breaststroke kick down, you’re ready to try it without the board. Push off the wall with your arms at your side. Remember: Look straight down to keep you from sinking. Practice the same kick that you did with the board. You should be able to feel yourself shoot forward on every kick.
The Advantages of Breaststroke
Breaststroke is a fantastic stroke for beginners. Although it might not be the fastest stroke, it’s easy on the body. You don’t have to exert a ton of effort, so it’s easier to swim several laps. Keep up the hard work and you’ll be kicking laps of breaststroke in no time.