Subject Search Bar

How To Whip Kick: Learn How To Swim 101 - Breaststroke

Now I Want To Change It

The breaststroke kick is possibly the most difficult kick for many, if not all swimmers. And now to make it worse I want to change it and have us learn how to whip kick.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

The whip kick is a variation on the frog kick that some feel is more efficient and therefore all swimmers should use it.

I am not a competitively coach. I teach swimming. I have no interest in being a swimming coach. I have been a judo coach and I know the amount of hours you need to put in to be a good coach and to put those kind of hours into being a swimming coach as well seems to me to be just unreasonable so I don't even try.

I am a swimming teacher because I love to teach and for this reason I cannot attest to whether or not the whip kick is a more efficient kick or not. Except to say I have seen no evidence that it changes anyones  efficiency when it comes to breaststroke.

What I have noticed is that those who knees are under strain with the frog kick, if they manage to master the whip kick they find much less stress on their knees. For this reason it is worth trying.

How To Whip Kick

The idea is simple enough. If you have mastered the frog kick you should have no trouble with the breaststroke whip kick. All you have to do is keep your knees closer when you start the kick.

Like this:

Image of Breaststroke Whip Kick step by step with the knees staying closer together before the kick. step 1: straight legs, step 2: bring legs up ready for the kick but keep knees close together, Step 3: keep knees closer to gether as you kick, Step 4: legs come together to create thrust and complete the kick
Breaststroke Whip Kick

Now just in case your having trouble seeing the difference here is the picture of the frog kick:

Image of Breaststroke Kick Viewed From Above: 1. straight legs; 2. open knees point toes away from each other; 3. bring legs together
Breaststroke Kick Viewed From Above

Pretty simple really. Anyway give it a go and see what you think feels best for you.



  1. Hi there, the trouble with the whip kick is that it requires lateral deviation at the knee which can cause long term damage to the joint. Remember that the knee is a hinge joint whereas the hip is a ball and socket joint.

    1. G'day Anonymous,
      Wouldn't that be the same for frog kick?

  2. I agree with anonymous above. Frog kick involves rotating at the hip at the start of the kick whereas whip kick seems to involve rotating at the knee ("lateral deviation") midway through the kick. Much harder and more stressful to the knee.

  3. As I said above, I have no expertise on the matter and I don't have a preference either way. However I have had students with knee issues that swear by the whip kick.
    With that in mind there may be other consideration than what you have mentioned. Keep in mind that the pictures do not clearly show the drawing up of the legs towards the hip before the recovery. From that position, the legs do more pushing that rotating. With the whip kick the legs do not have as far to travel for that recovery, where they come together. Those that swear by it insist that the shorter distance of the recovery is what puts less pressure on their knees.

    From my perspective as a swim teacher, I am only interested in the effectiveness of the recovery as, unlike the other parts of the stroke, that is what gives the propulsion. Both the whip kick and the standard breaststroke kick (frog kick) give effective propulsion. Anything else is up to a coach, who one would hope has appropriately qualified bio-mechanic / physio people on had to advise on the risks for any one particular person.
    Interesting thought from both of you however and possibly worth keeping in mind by anybody wanting to try whip kick.