How to Kick Swimming

How to Have the Perfect Swimming Kick

Welcome back team and this week I have an article on how to have the perfect swimming kick!

How to have the perfect swimming kick:

If you’re like a lot of swimmers, you probably think that you have an awful kick. And hey. Maybe you do!


But it is much more likely that there are just a few things that you might not be doing right. Or there might be a few changes you could make to that kick to make it really effective! I guarantee you’re not too far away from having the perfect swimming kick!

Another thing I want to quickly mention is that kicking is NOT as important as people make it seem.

I would estimate that only 20-30% of your power is actually coming from your kick during front crawl. Depending on your body type, almost all of the power from front crawl is and SHOULD be coming from your arms.

Remember, the main function of your kick is to keep your body horizontal within the water.

With that said, let me quickly describe what the perfect swimming kick looks like:


  • It originates at the thigh. You are kicking “from the hip”


  • The legs cannot be “fused” together in an incredibly stiff fashion. The legs and ankles must remain loose


  • The feet must be relaxed and pointed


  • The feet should not be splashing huge amounts of water because they remain under the surface of the pool 80-90% of the time


So let’s run a quick checklist on yourself here before we continue.


Legs stiffer than steel?

Are your legs really stiff because you’re trying with all of your might move yourself across the pool faster? If so, then your legs need to relax. I always stress that if you are very tense, you are going to have trouble with swimming because the very act of swimming demands a bit of finesse and fluidity. You can’t come flying in like you’re about to chop down Grandpa’s oak tree.

That attitude just doesn’t fly in the realm of swimming.

If you really want that perfect swimming kick, then you’re going to need to relax. Not too much. We don’t want your legs turning to Jell-O. But we do want your legs to not fuse together into one large stick.


Pointed Toes:

Let’s check in on another aspect. Are your feet stretched out or “pointed”? See the blow images if you’re confused:

Your feet must be pointed if you want to have a powerful kick. It just doesn’t work if your toes are pointed directly to the bottom of the pool.

So get your toes pointed. A must if you want the perfect swimming kick! See the photo below for what pointed toes look like!

Photo 1: Pointed toes for kicking

Splashing much?

And another big thing I would like you to check into is how big a splash you’re making? Are you soaking the spectators beside the pool when you swim? Stop it!

If you are making huge splashes, you are wasting loads of energy breaking the surface tension of the water unnecessarily. Your feet should be making small splashes on the upswing of each kick you do, but they should not be making tidal waves.

If you have heard making splashes with your feet is productive, I’m sorry to burst your bubble. Look for videos anywhere on YouTube if you want proof. All of the best swimmers in the world have their splashing under control. The only time you will see the splashing is during race time, which is a whole different ball game. Swimming Fearless is about being confident in the water, not winning the Olympic gold!


Kicking from the thigh:

And this is the last thing I want you to check. Is your kick originating from the thigh?

Are you kicking, for lack of a better term, with your knees?

If so, cut it out. The problem with describing how this should feel is that feeling is subjective and what I say to you may make complete sense, or it might not. So I’ll give you a few ways to think about it. When you are doing the kick properly, you’ll know. It will feel “on” per se.

  1. Kicking from the thigh is going to feel slightly like you are pulling your leg upwards with your bum
  2. Kicking from the thigh feels like you are doing a deep lunge and stretching the front of your thigh/ hip joint
  3. Kicking from the thigh feels like your entire leg is one big flipper

Hopefully those make sense to you, but if not, hit me up in the comments below!


Here are a handful of exercises that you can try out that will definitely help you on your way to improving your kicking ability! We are going to have the perfect swimming kick in no time with these!

Swimming with a pair of socks:

I know it sounds weird or whatever, but I have had a good amount of success with this technique.

Grab a pair of your worst socks and go for a dip in the local pool. Try doing a bit of kicking and notice how your feet feel slightly different. The new sensation that swimming with socks brings can help you identify if your feet are positioned correctly when you are doing your kicking. The socks will almost heighten the feelings that your feet are getting. That in itself might provide you with a few insights!

Additionally, swimming with socks gives you something to focus on. Try kicking for a little bit while lying on your back. And imagine trying to kick off a pair of snow boots or just imagine trying to kick the sock off of your feet. Your legs will do a bit more of a whipping motion. This motion will really help you to develop your kicking technique!


Kicking while lying face down on a mattress:

I got this technique from my good buddy Justin! Kicking on a mattress can teach you a lot about the proper way one should be kicking in the pool.

Start by lying face down on the bed and stretch your body out like you are going to be doing a front glide. Point your toes and don’t tense your legs too much.

Now, try doing some kicking. Notice how your knee is jutting into the mattress making the whole experience feel really awkward.

This is because in order for this exercise to work, your glutes need to get involved!

See a photo below for an example!

mattress kicking

Photo 2: Mattress Kicking

If you want to see more techniques that he has to offer, click here!

7 day swim


Video tape that kick!

Lastly, a great exercise for you to try will be to video tape your kick. Video taping your kick will be hugely beneficial to you because you will have a different reference point with which you can view and assess your kick.

Video tape a few lengths of your kick and try to assess whether or not it has all of the characteristics of a proper kick!

Give the video a look yourself and even get your buddies to take a look and see what they think of your kick. More eyes never hurt anyone!


That’s all Folks!

Hope you guys enjoyed the article!

Hit me up in the comments section if you have any questions or concerns!


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