How to Tread Water for Five Minutes


If you aim to tread water for five minutes, there are two effective techniques: the frog kick or breaststroke kick and the eggbeater or rotary kick. Water polo players use the eggbeater kick as a way to tread water while passing and shooting balls during a game. This type of kick conserves energy and provides your body with stability in the water. To do an eggbeater, your legs circle in large orbits toward each other in movements that resemble an eggbeater. Because one leg circles inward and the other leg circles outward, your legs never make contact. At the same time, use your arms and hands to lightly scull.

The Eggbeater Kick

  • Sit on the edge of a pool and dangle your legs in the water.

  • Edge your body forward on the deck so most of your upper legs are held over the water.

  • Practice making wide circles inward with your lower legs, one at a time. Circle your right leg counterclockwise while circling the left leg clockwise.

  • Flex your feet to grab the water with your inner legs.

  • Slowly sink into the water and try circling your legs in the way that you did while sitting on the pool’s edge. Maintain an upright posture, aligning your hips directly under your shoulders.

  • Bend your knees, keeping your thighs at a 90-degree angle to your torso as if you’re sitting in an invisible chair. Allow your feet to hang down.

  • Use your hands to gently scull.

The Frog Kick

  • Begin in an upright position in the water with your back straight and your legs fully extended beneath you.

  • Flexing your feet, bend your knees and draw your heels up toward your buttocks.

  • Circle your feet back to starting position, opening your legs wide on the down-kick in the same way that a frog moves.

  • Use fluid and controlled movement so you’re not bouncing up and down and expending energy.

  • Breathe in a deep and relaxed way. Avoid short, erratic breathing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use slow movements to conserve energy. When sculling, move your upper extremities just enough to keep your head above the water’s surface. If you’re having difficulty when first learning how to tread water, wear a flotation device around your midsection or a lifejacket. As you improve your treading water skills, use less flotation.
  • Until you learn how to safely tread water, avoid swimming in the deep part of the pool or natural bodies of water that are deeper than your height.

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