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January 07, 2022 8 min read

Flutter kicks can really work the muscles of your core, such as the lower rectus abdominal muscles, as well as your hip flexors. They look something like a swimming stroke, but they are performed on dry land. You can do these kicks while you are lying on your back, or you can do them lying on your stomach if you want to also strengthen your back muscles.

Learning How to Do Flutter Kicks

More than just an ab exercise, flutter kicks are ideal for training the stability and strength of your core muscles.

They can really strengthen the glutes, hip flexors, and quads. It only takes a few seconds of flutter kicks to get your abs working and firing, especially the hard-to-target lower abdominal wall.

Flutter kicks offer so many benefits when it comes to improving your core strength, improving your lower body strength, and increasing your overall range of motion. The flutter kick movement can help you experience less pain on a daily basis because it stretches out your body and improves your flexibility.

Core Stability, Mobility, and Strength

Your abdominals, obliques, and deep core muscles like the transverse abdominis are very important when it comes to ab exercises. Your core has been considered by some to be the underlying basis for all of your weightlifting strength.

For all types of ab exercises, your core must be able to keep your spine straight. Because your torso is elongated, the tension in your deep inner-core muscles will be very intense. The main jobs for your core should be antiextension and antiflexion, which is why a lot of people train their abs mostly by doing sit-ups or crunches.

Crunches are indeed good exercises to do, but it can be a little boring to just do dozens of reps of those as standard movements every time you want to work your abs. You can incorporate crunches into some flutter kick movements, as we will explain below.

Some Other Benefits of Flutter Kicks

The benefits of flutter kicks go beyond simply training the core. Flutter kicks also work your glutes, hip flexors, and quads. Working all these muscles can be an important part of any cross-training plan for runners to help strengthen all the muscles they need to develop a powerful stride.

For beginners, we suggest you start with the traditional flutter kick, as explained in the next section. As you start to build up your basic core strength and perfect the standard flutter kick, you can move on to some flutter kick variations to increase your level of exertion.

How to Do Flutter Kicks 

 

The traditional flutter kick is a very easy exercise to learn. All you need to get started is an exercise mat and a little bit of time. Generally for this exercise, you want to make sure your lower back is pressed against the ground. Keep your legs straight and raised at a 45-degree angle (as you get started, you may need to lift your legs higher or bend your knees slightly).

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to do flutter kicks:

  1. Lie down on your back, facing up.
  2. Place both your hands underneath your buttocks. 
  3. Keep your lower back on the ground as you lift the right leg off the ground slightly past hip height, and lift the left leg so it hovers a few inches off the floor. 
  4. Hold for a few seconds, then switch the position of your legs as you make a flutter kick motion. 
  5. For more of a challenge, try lifting your head and neck off the floor. 
  6. Repeat this motion for up to 30 seconds. 

Some Flutter Kick Variations 

We recommend choosing two or three of these flutter kick variations to add into your existing core workout. Complete three sets of each exercise. Perform each exercise for up to 45 seconds, and take a rest of 15 seconds between the exercises. Each move is explained in detail below so you can master the proper form.

Criss Cross Flutter Kick 

 

  1. Lie down on your back, facing up.
  2. Place both your hands underneath your buttocks. 
  3. Keep your lower back on the ground as you lift both of your legs up, slightly past hip height, keeping your core engaged the entire time. 
  4. Criss-cross your legs over one another, alternating which leg is on top, and keeping your legs off the ground the entire time.
  5. For more of a challenge, lift your head and neck off the floor. The wider you bring out your legs with each cross, the more you will start to feel the exercise in your ab muscles. To make the move more challenging, try extending your legs wider with each cross. The wider your legs are, the more you will feel it in your abdominal muscles.
  6. Repeat the exercise for up to 30 seconds. 

Prone Flutter Kick 

 

  1. Lie on your stomach and place your elbows out wide and your hands together in front of your face. 
  2. Rest your chin or forehead on your hands. 
  3. Engage your core, and lift both of your legs off the ground to hip height or slightly past hip height, if you can. 
  4. Lift one leg and then the other one in a flutter motion, as if you were swimming. 
  5. Repeat the exercise for up to 30 seconds. 

Scissor Kick 

 

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet flexed. 
  2. Place both of your hands palms down on either side of your hips for support. 
  3. Pull your belly button toward your spine and use your abdominals to lift your left leg 45 degrees off the floor and your right leg about 6 inches from the floor.
  4. Pull both legs into the middle by crossing your left leg over your right leg. 
  5. Pull your legs apart and switch them, crossing your right leg over your left leg. 
  6. Continue to switch and cross your legs in this type of scissor motion. 
  7. Repeat the exercise for up to 30 seconds.

Leg Raise with Flutter Kick

 

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet flexed. 
  2. Place both hands palms down on either side of hips for support. 
  3. Pull your belly button toward your spine and use your abdominals to simultaneously raise and flutter your legs until both of your legs are at a 90-degree angle. 
  4. Continue to flutter your legs and lower them until they are hovering just a few inches above the floor. 
  5. Repeat the exercise for up to 30 seconds. 

Crunch and Flutter Kick 

 

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet flexed. 
  2. Interlace your fingers behind your head and pull your belly button toward your spine.
  3. Lift your head, shoulders, and feet a few inches off the floor. 
  4. Use your abdominals to perform a single crunch, lifting your chest and bending your knees. 
  5. Straighten your legs and flutter them by lifting your left leg, then your right leg, then your left leg, then your right leg.
  6. Repeat the exercise for up to 30 seconds. 

Some Major Benefits of Flutter Kicks

As we’ve seen throughout this article, abdominal exercises such as flutter kicks can really help strengthen your core muscles.

They can also help develop your overall strength and enhance your body’s flexibility. Also, there are plenty of other good reasons to add these exercises to your workout routine. 

Some of the major benefits of developing a strong core include an improved posture, improved balance and stability, more defined abdominal muscles, and increased ease while doing physical activities such as swinging a golf club or reaching for something on a shelf. Flutter kicks can help you reach all of your general fitness goals because having a strong core is very important when it comes to performing most physical activities.

You might also find that flutter kicks can be a very good alternative to other lower abdominal strengthening exercises you might have done before, such as the boat pose, mountain climbers, and V-ups. Flutter kicks are very accessible and therefore perfect for home gym owners who don’t have any equipment. 

Some Safety Tips 

When performing all of the flutter kick variations that we’ve listed above, it is vital that your lower back remains on the ground the entire time without any arch, because that can quickly lead to a back strain or injury. If you experience any lower back pain, doing flutter kicks poorly may irritate your back more. But it does not have to be that way at all. In fact, doing these exercises with the proper form can be one of the best ways to actually treat back pain.

Keeping your legs lower to the ground may be easier on your back. If you are new to flutter kicks or if you feel your lower back arching off of the ground, start with your feet slightly off the ground and work your way up to lifting your legs higher. Also, try to engage your lower abs throughout the entire exercise by pulling them in as you breathe in and out. 

Your hip flexors may become tight as a result of doing flutter kicks. Try a few light stretches and exercises to strengthen your hip flexors and prepare them for action. Always seek the advice of a physician before you begin a new exercise routine. Stop performing flutter kicks or their variations if you experience any pains or if you begin to feel dizzy. 

A Few Other Abdominal Exercises 

There are quite a lot of other exercises you can use to design your optimal ab workout. One is the set of abdominal cable crunch exercises. Any of these ab crunches can be performed with a cable or an exercise ball instead if you lay your lower back on the exercise ball with your feet placed firmly on the floor. Also, you can lie on your back with your legs resting on an exercise ball and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Crunches can also be performed using an abdominal crunch machine. 

Another option is to use plates or hollow rocks as ways to build your stability. But if you want to build a noticeable six-pack, at some point, you will need to add more resistance to cause hypertrophy directly in the rectus abdominus. Many people think that dropping body fat is the best way to get a noticeable six-pack, which can sometimes be true, but adding some more depth to your abs will help as well.

Getting Started with These Exercises

While there is nothing wrong with any of these types of exercises that we have just mentioned, holding a plate on your chest or behind your head can be uncomfortable and dangerous because the stronger you get, the harder it is to add weight without the risk of injury. This gives flutter kicks an advantage over the other types of exercises.

Flutter kicks are a great way to work your lower abdominal muscles.

Be sure to perform them safely and with proper form. Ask your personal trainer for help if you need it. It is a good idea to perform this exercise along with a full body workout including planks and bicycle crunches to engage and exercise all the muscles of the core. 

In addition to your core exercises, include cardio exercises or high intensity interval training (HIIT)  into your workout routine several times a week to achieve your upper body fitness goals.

A HIIT workout involves doing intervals of short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by even shorter rest periods and have been shown to be the most effective way to improve your cardiovascular capacity.