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How To Do Flutter Kicks

A boy lying on ground doing flutter kicks
(Image credit: Unknown)

Like all the very best abs exercises, flutter kicks don’t seem very hard at all when you first start doing them. Then, after 20 seconds or so, as the tension builds in your abs, you start to realise that you’re in for a world of pain, and then 25 seconds in you absolutely will not believe how slowly those last five seconds passed.

Flutter kicks are an essential abs exercise for anyone looking to sculpt a six-pack or strengthen their core. It’s a particular good exercise for swimmers, working the muscles needed to propel yourself through the water with your legs. Flutter kicks sometimes also go by the name scissor kicks, but to us that implies more movement of the feet than required. A flutter really is all it takes.

How To Do Flutter Kicks

Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly off the ground and engage your core muscles. Lift your feet 15cm off the ground, keeping your legs extended. Move one foot up and the other down, alternating at pace while keeping your torso still – maintaining tension in the rest of your body is crucial to gaining the core benefits of the move.

Aim to flutter for 30-60 seconds, but don’t be surprised if you tap out earlier than that at first – the burning in your abs builds up remarkably quickly with this exercise. If you’re really struggling with the move, try doing it while keeping your head and shoulders on the ground.

Flutter Kicks Variations

Reverse flutter kicks

Flip yourself over for a flutter kick variation that mainly targets the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and obliques. Lie on a weight bench with your hips on the edge so your legs are free to move up and down. Hold the front of the bench for balance. Start with your legs level with the rest of your body, squeeze your glutes, then start to slowly move them up and down under control.

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.