The Best Swim Stroke for a Fat Belly

Flutter and dolphin kicks work the abdominal muscles.
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Tummy trouble is no fun, especially when it's the kind that comes between you and your favorite two-piece. While no swim stroke specifically targets abdominal muscles, freestyle is an aerobic activity that burns calories while effectively working your core. The right freestyle drills can absolutely help. Swimming freestyle with an emphasis on flutter and dolphin kicking drills at least twice a week can help tone abs and burn the calories needed for overall weight loss.

Weight Loss

The only way to lose belly fat is through overall weight loss. You need to burn more calories than you take in if you want to lose weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Adding an hour of swimming laps burns 500 calories on average, which will help you trim about two pounds per week if you also cut 500 calories from your daily diet. Muscle toning also helps with weight loss because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day.


Freestyle works your core and tones your shoulders and back muscles. While it takes aerobic activity like swimming freestyle to burn belly fat for more-defined abs you need core exercises to strengthen and define the underlying muscles. Freestyle, is considered to be the fastest of the four competitive strokes, which also include backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. The flutter kick is used in freestyle, with dolphin kick often used at the end of a lap.

Dolphin Kick Drill

The dolphin kick is used in freestyle after turns, pushing off the wall into a streamlined position. While holding a one three-pound dive weight in your hands, U.S. Masters Swimming suggests pushing off the wall into streamlined position (arms stretched overhead, hands together, one on top of the other, palm up), while kicking to the other end of the pool using dolphin kick. The added weight overhead will engage your upper abs.

Alernating Sides Flutter Kick

You'll feel the burn as you work your abs with this simple (but effective) flutter kick drill. Hands should be at the top of your kick board as you flutter kick on your front for six beats. Without turning your head and shoulders, twist slightly at the waist to kick six beats to the right, then six to the center, six to the left, return to center, and so on for the length. Wear fins for this drill for added resistance.

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