Mastering Flutter Kicks for a Rock Solid Core – 5 exercise

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Although flutter kicks are commonly associated with swimming, this exercise isn’t confined to the pool. Flutter kicks serve as an excellent core workout that can be performed on the floor with just a yoga mat. They’re fundamental bodyweight exercises found in popular fitness programs like Pilates, barre, and various strength training routines.

If you’re seeking a new ab-strengthening exercise that specifically targets your deep, lower abs and helps mobilize your hips, incorporating flutter kicks into your routine is key. Here’s a guide on how to execute flutter kicks with proper form at home, along with the real-world benefits they offer for everyday movement.

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What are Flutter Kicks?

Flutter kicks, sometimes referred to as scissor kicks, are a gentle yet effective core exercise intended to activate your lower abdominal muscles. To perform them, lie face-up on an exercise mat, engage your core, lift your legs off the floor while keeping your upper body stable, and move your straight legs in a fluttering motion up and down, resembling swimming on your back.

This straightforward yet impactful workout requires only a few minutes but delivers long-term advantages for core strength and stability.

Benefits of Flutter Kicks

“Flutter kicks are a fantastic method for enhancing core strength, especially focusing on the lower abdominals,” explains Andrew White, NASM-certified personal trainer and co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. “Moreover, they contribute to improved endurance and coordination.”

White emphasizes that flutter kicks effectively target three key muscle groups in the core area: the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors. By engaging the deep core muscles, including the transverse abdominis, through techniques like lifting the pelvic floor and pulling the navel towards the spine, you also strengthen the innermost abdominal muscles crucial for spine support.

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These muscle groups collectively bolster core power, laying the groundwork for optimal posture, spinal and pelvic support, and enhanced functional movement. Given the core’s role in connecting the lower and upper body, a robust core aids in everyday activities such as bathing and dressing. Furthermore, it promotes a pain-free back, stability, balance, and good posture. Conversely, a weak or imbalanced core can significantly impede even basic tasks like standing upright.

How to Do Flutter Kicks

“Incorporating flutter kicks into your regimen can yield diverse benefits, ranging from fortifying core muscles to enhancing hip mobility,” explains White. “Executing them with correct form and attentiveness to your body’s signals is crucial.” This exercise is most impactful when performed with controlled movements. Here’s a guide on executing flutter kicks accurately and efficiently for an intense abdominal workout.

Flutter Kicks
Flutter Kicks

Lie on your back with arms positioned by your sides or beneath your hips to provide support for the lower back (although placing your palms under your hips or glutes can intensify the exercise). Engage your core by drawing your belly button towards your spine. If you experience shoulder discomfort, keep your head, neck, and shoulders flat on the ground.

If possible, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat while maintaining a tucked chin and pressing your lower back into the mat. Alternatively, keep your upper body grounded if it feels more comfortable. Slightly raise your legs off the ground and begin scissor-kicking them up and down in a controlled manner within a small range of motion.

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For each set, either track the number of kicks (e.g., perform a set of 20 flutter kicks) or execute the exercise for a predetermined duration (e.g., 20 seconds). You can adjust the speed of your leg movements; faster kicks can intensify the cardio aspect of the workout. Beginners should start with a slower tempo, prioritizing core engagement and maintaining proper form throughout.

Modifications and Variations

Flutter kicks can be modified to be easier or more challenging.

Make them easier:

Here are two modifications for flutter kicks:

1. Bend your legs: “If flutter kicks feel too difficult, try bending your knees slightly,” suggests White. This adjustment can also benefit individuals experiencing knee pain or injuries, as bending the knees can reduce strain on the joints.

2. Lift your legs higher in the air: “To make flutter kicks a bit easier, keep your head on the mat and raise your legs higher,” advises Tiffany Lankford, RDN, certified personal trainer, and registered dietitian.

Make them harder:

Here are two additional variations to try:

1. Maintain a slight hover above the floor: “For a challenging variation, keep your legs straight and lower them toward the floor without touching it,” suggests Lankford. The closer your legs are to the floor, the more demanding the exercise becomes.

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2. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground: “For further engagement of your abdominal muscles, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground, keeping your gaze fixed straight ahead towards the ceiling without bending your neck or looking downwards.”

Should Anyone Avoid Flutter Kicks?

Lankford advises pregnant women to steer clear of flutter kicks, emphasizing the importance of avoiding abdominal movements involving crunching and twisting during pregnancy. White also recommends that individuals experiencing low back pain or injuries refrain from this exercise until they have consulted a physical therapist or another healthcare professional, who can provide proper modifications tailored to their specific needs. If you’re uncertain whether flutter kicks are suitable for you, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional.

People also ask

Q: What does flutter kicks do?

A: work the muscles in your lower abs,

Q: Do flutter kicks burn belly fat?

A:  It works wonders when it comes to toning up the lower abdomen area.

Q: How many flutter kicks should I do?

A: Do 3-4 sets of 20-100 reps, or do max reps in specified periods of time, such as 20-60 seconds.

Q: Do lying flutter kicks actually work?

A: When done while lying on your stomach, flutter kicks can also strengthen your lower back muscles and help alleviate back pain.

Q: Should you do flutter kicks every day?

A: You can do flutter kicks as often as every other day or as part of a full-body workout routine.


This article is purposive for intended general information and does not mark individual circumstances. It is not an alternative to professional advice or help. It should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician must be consulted to diagnose and treat any medical condition. Any action you take due to the information on this page is entirely at your own risk and responsibility!

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Rishi Govind is a nutritionist and nutrition counselor in New Delhi, India. He is a Postgraduate and passionate about his work. Rishi has over 3 years of experience helping people change their relationship with food and their bodies. He specializes in helping people with chronic dieting issues, food allergies and sensitivities, and digestive problems. Rishi's approach is rooted in the belief that everybody is unique and deserves individualized attention. Rishi is passionate about helping his clients feel their best. He is committed to helping them find peace with food and their bodies so they can live their lives to the fullest.

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