Butterfly Arms and Flutter Kick Drill

Butterfly Drills: Step Up Your Fly with Butterfly Arms and Flutter Kick

Power up your butterfly with this simple but challenging drill that will help improve the aggressiveness of your arm recovery and your body position.

This butterfly drill goes by a few different names. Flutterfly. Butterflutter. Most commonly, butterfly with flutter kick.

Whatever you wanna call it, it is a butterfly-focused drill where you swim with butterfly arms and a flutter kick.

Butterfly Arms and Flutter Kick

This drill helps you do a couple of big things:

  • Improves your bodyline. Because there is less undulation in the stroke, there is less bobbing and diving up and down. Flutter kicking forces the swimmer to keep their chin just above the surface of the water to breathe, encouraging a “straighter” stroke.
  • Emphasizes a strong recovery. Because the swimmer doesn’t have the “luxury” of using their dolphin kick to pump their head above the water for a breath, they need to speed up the recovery of their arms, which reinforces a more aggressive forward motion with their arms and head.

Mike Murray is co-head coach and program director at Victor Swim Club, based out of Rochester, New York. He likes using this drill with his swimmers, and emphasizes the following things when his swimmers perform “butterflutter”:

  • We stressed breathing with chin on the surface.
  • “Soft hands” on the entry; talking to the athletes about their water spout shooting forward and not “crisscrossed” on the landing or straight up.
  • Working on swimming powerfully in-line with our spine and reminding swimmers to accelerate to their “line.”
  • We reminded them of the undulation in the front part of the stroke, without lifting to breathe.

Below is one of Coach Murray’s athletes performing a demonstration of the drill. Note the aggressive arm recovery and the chin barely coming out of the water to take a breath.

Here is another video of Sarah Sjostrom, one of the best butterfliers on the planet, performing this drill:

Getting started with butterfly with flutter kick

  • Try using fins if you are struggling to get enough propulsion from your flutter kick to recover the arms properly.
  • Focus on diving forward with your arms and recovery.
  • Try alternating three strokes of butterflutter with regular butterfly to carry over the more aggressive arm recovery into your normal stroke.

A big thank you to Mike for sharing this video and the detailed notes on how to do the drill. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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