Breastroke Leg Kick

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Breaststroke is a great stroke for beginner swimmers to start with. Many people already feel comfortable with this stroke, but if not, it’s straightforward to learn and still provides a great workout. 

One of the most important elements of this stroke is the leg kick. Learning to correctly perform all phases of the leg kick will allow you to swim more efficiently and for greater distances, improving your overall workout. 

In addition, if you perfect the correct kicking technique for breaststroke, you are more likely to see the desired improvements in your body much sooner. 


Do You Use Your Legs in Breaststroke?

Legs are a very important aspect of the correct breaststroke technique. When swimming in breaststroke, you are face down in the water, performing a backward kick with both legs. 

Your legs move simultaneously as you bend your knees to pull your heels up in the direction of your glutes. 

You initiate your kick at the end of the breathing cycle. You should point your feet outwards when kicking in breaststroke, so you can push them out and then bring them back together during the final stages of the kick.


What Kick Does the Breaststroke Use?

The breaststroke uses a kick that is informally referred to as a “frog kick.” This kick requires both legs to move symmetrically and at the same time. The breaststroke kick can be broken down into three steps: 


  • The recovery: This is the first stage of the kick. To start, bring your heels up towards your glutes. Make sure to keep your legs behind your hips for less resistance.


  • The catch: At the top of the recovery, when your feet are close to the surface of the water, point your toes outward to allow the sole and arch of your feet to grab the water. 


Then point your toes towards your knee and keep your heels just under the surface of the water. Your knees should be close together at this point, but move your feet apart and outside the line of your body.


  • The propulsive phase: This is the final stage. Keep your heels just under the surface of the water and push your feet straight back in a circular pattern around your knees. 


Use the inside of your feet to push the water back whilst closing your legs. To finish, make sure your big toes touch.


What are the Two Kick Cycles in Breaststroke?

The two-kick cycle is one of the most popular breaststroke drills that is used to improve your streamlining and stroke length. 

The two-kick cycle is when you kick twice every stroke cycle instead of one leg kick and one arm pull per stroke cycle.

When performing this drill, hold your head in a neutral position while elongating and working your muscles throughout your entire body. Make an effort to maintain a streamlined position throughout.

Focus on generating power and length during each section of the stroke when performing the two-kick cycle. The two-kick cycle helps you to keep your body in a streamlined stance for longer. 

This drill will help you refine your stroke timing and understand how to maximize propulsion while reducing drag. As a result, you’ll be able to enhance your distance per stroke.


How Important is Kicking in the Breaststroke?

When swimming breaststroke, it is essential to develop your kicking technique as it is arguably the most important element of the stroke. 

Unlike other competitive swimming strokes, breaststroke relies on your kick for the majority of your forward propulsion through the water. It is said that 70% of your power moving forward comes from the kick when swimming in breaststroke. 

Additionally, it is important to practice kicking because it’s the most technical kick of the four common swimming strokes. 


Final Thoughts on Breastroke Leg Kick

As we’ve discussed, the leg movements when swimming in breaststroke are very important. This is because the legs are vital in generating power and speed, allowing the body to drive forward in the water. 

For this reason, it’s just practicing your breaststroke kick to get the maximum benefits from your swimming workouts.