8/15/05 BUTTERFLY - Whip Your Feet
Text, photos, and video by Glenn Mills
Demonstrated by Misty Hyman

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For a really powerful butterfly kick, relax the feet. Don’t force them.

Imagine your body is a long whip, with your head and chest as the handle, and your feet as the tail or snapping part at the end of the whip. To get the BIGGEST crack of the whip, you wouldn’t focus your attention on the end (the feet)…you’d focus your attention on the handle (the chest).

Too many swimmers focus on the feet FIRST, and this makes it tough to achieve true power in the kick. Instead, try focusing on the chest, and let the feet simply flow, or be soft, during the kick so they can SNAP, WHIP, CRACK at the end of the body.

Misty Hyman is famous for her fantastically efficient kick, and you can see in the pictures and video just how soft and supple her feet are while they follow her body through the water. You can also almost feel the CRACK of her feet when she finishes her kick.
While the kick is initiated with the top of the body, don’t forget to use your thighs to really add that final push. This also aids in popping the hips up, and helping you con-tinue with a fluid line through the water.

Glenn Mills is Swimming World Magazine’s technical advisor. Check out his website at

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