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by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen

July 30, 2009

Improve your butterfly and underwater pullouts

The humble dolphin kick is now considered the second fastest “stroke” and is used for butterfly, freestyle and backstroke breakouts; as well as on the pull-out in breaststroke.

To help build the abdominal strength needed for an effective dolphin kick, try the “Dive Weight Dolphin Kick” drill I learned from coach Max Pettigrove while I was training at the Noosa Aquatic Center in Queensland, Australia.

You will need to have a weight. Start with lower weights, 1-3 lbs until you have mastered the technique. A small dive weight works best, as they are designed for in-water use. Dive weights can be purchased in different sizes either in hard bricks or soft beanbags, which are easier to hold, at your local SCUBA store.

The drill is simple … push off the wall on your back in a streamline position with a weight in the palm of your hand, then dolphin kick across the pool. With added weight over your head, your upper abdominals are engaged – and will soon be on fire!

Start with sets of 50s, perhaps alternating every other one with the weight. As you build strength, buy a heavier weight or add distance to your repeats.




  • Technique and Training


  • Butterfly
  • Kicking
  • Drills