This exercise may not look that impressive but there are still reasons for doing flutter kicks. Find out how to do these and what the benefits are.
Flutter kicks require you to lie down on the ground, push your lower back against the ground, and “flutter” up and down with your legs.
You really have to push your lower back down if you want to work your ab muscles. Additionally, flutter kicks will engage your hip flexors too.
A potential downside of flutter kicks is that they work your abs in an isometric (static) way. This is generally less effective than more dynamic ab exercises.
On the flip side, one of the benefits of isometric exercises is that they could feel more comfortable for your spine.
How to do flutter kicks
Something like a yoga mat can make your flutter kick workouts a lot more comfortable. That aside, take the following steps to do the exercise:
- Lie down on your back with your legs together and stretched. You can keep your arms on the ground next to you for balance.
- Push your lower back against the ground with your abs. The main goal of flutter kicks is to keep your lower back there throughout the exercise.
- Raise your legs until they point up vertically.
- Slowly lower your legs to the point where you are not able to keep your lower back against the ground anymore. Elevate your legs a bit again.
- Elevate one leg slightly while moving the other one down.
- Lower the leg that went up slightly and do the opposite for the lower leg.
- Keep alternating between steps 5 and 6 for a certain amount of time.
Since you are likely doing flutter kicks to work your ab muscles, you really want to pay attention to pushing your lower back against the ground.
The lower you can hold your legs without raising your lower back, the harder flutter kicks become for your abs muscles.
After that, the movement of your legs helps with making this hold harder for your abs which can result in more ab muscle gain compared to doing a regular hold.
If you are interested in hip flexor exercises instead, you can leave an arch in your lower back during flutter kicks.
Muscles worked with flutter kicks
The main muscles worked with flutter kicks are your abs and hip flexors. More specifically, you target the muscle fibers in the lower part of your abs slightly more.
It is worth mentioning again that to actually work your abs a lot, you want to implement the right flutter kick technique.
Besides that, flutter kicks work your abs in a relatively isometric (static) way.
This is relevant because isometric exercises tend to be less effective for growing and strengthening muscles than more dynamic alternatives.
So choosing one of the more dynamic ab exercises at home or in the gym could increase your results if you don’t find these too uncomfortable.
That being said, flutter kicks can still offer results too.
More advanced individuals can consider wearing a good pair of ankle weights for more and faster progress.
Flutter kicks benefits
Flutter kicks are not always the most effective exercise when it comes to results per minute. However, they can still offer nice benefits. Especially for certain groups of people.
- Stronger muscles: Doing flutter kicks for long enough and with enough resistance can help you grow and strengthen your abs and hip flexors.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Strengthening your abs with hip flexors could help you reduce and avoid back pain (1, 2).
- No equipment or location required: To do flutter kicks you just need your body and a place to lie down. That means you don’t have to invest in fitness equipment or drive to a different location before you can do your workout.
- Balance & coordination: Flutter kicks will challenge your balance and coordination to some extent. This can lead to small improvements in these skills.
- You may find them more comfortable: Some people find the spine bending in more dynamic core exercises uncomfortable. In that case, the more static flutter kicks could feel more comfortable.
There are other good isometric ab exercises too but if you like doing flutter kicks they can be a good way to get the benefits above.
Flutter kick alternatives
It is also possible that you don’t have a specific preference for flutter kicks or that you just want to know what other options you have.
In these cases, this list of flutter kick alternatives can help:
- Reverse crunches
- Lying leg raises
- Bicycle crunches
What muscles you want to work and whether you want something static or dynamic will influence what flutter kick alternatives you will prefer.
Are flutter kicks a good exercise?
Flutter kicks can be a good exercise for working your abs in a more isometric (static) way while also engaging your hip flexors.
The main thing to keep in mind is that more dynamic ab exercises tend to be more comfortable for growing and strengthening these muscles.
If you don’t find these uncomfortable, you likely want to choose one of the more dynamic flutter kick alternatives instead.
Something else worth noting is that personal preference matters too.
If you like doing flutter kicks, it may be worth giving up some effectiveness in return for making your workout program easier to stick to.
Are flutter kicks good for belly fat?
Flutter kicks do help to a tiny extent but they are not good for losing belly fat.