For some beginners, learning the backstroke can be intimidating. You might be a swimmer who experiences a sinking sensation halfway down the pool. Are there any areas where your backstroke swimming technique needs work?

Look nowhere else! In this article we will discuss how to learn the backstroke in an easier way. It’s not just good for your fitness but also a great way to have fun. 

What is backstroke technique?

The front crawl, or freestyle, the breaststroke, and the butterfly are some of the competitive swimming strokes. The backstroke technique, which is also referred to as the back crawl, is one of the competitive swimming strokes. When trying backstroke, the swimmer floats face-up in the water, kicks their legs continuously in a flutter kick while moving their arms asynchronously.

How to swim backstroke (Steps involved)

The backstroke can be learned step-by-step. The following stages can be used to categorize the series:

  1. The body should be as horizontal and simplified as possible; the head must be in line, the eyes must be fixed upward, and the body must be steady at all times.
  2. The hip serves as the point of origin for the alternating leg kick, which stays within the body's width.
  3. With each kick, the knees slightly flex while the ankles are relaxed and the toes are pointed.
  4. The kick's upbeat phase, which ends as the toes split the water's surface, is powered by the knee bend.
  5. The hands are placed in the water little-finger first, palms out, and the upper arm is positioned so that it just touches the ear.
  6.  The arm drags through an S-shaped pathway, coming to rest with the palm facing down at the hip.
  7. As the other arm regains control over the water's surface, one arm starts to pull.
  8. Breathing ought to be regular and timed with the stroke's effort phase.

  1. While holding a fixed head position, the leg kick and arm behaviour should be controlled and steady.
  2. Every action should be fluid, continuous, and laid back.

Head position

Maintaining proper body position involves getting as high in the water as you can while keeping your head and hips in line. Keep the head as still and your eyes as straight up as you can while doing the backstroke. Your hips will drop if you look at your toes, increasing drag and slowing you down as you swim. Your hips will remain high if you think about keeping your belly button "dry."

Try the backstroke cup exercise to keep your head straight! Simply place a plastic cup on your forehead, fill it with water, and swim faster backstroke while keeping the cup from falling. It's difficult!

Although many swimmers enjoy using fins, we advise against using them until you have perfected your body position, particularly for backstroke. With fins, you can relax your posture, which may result in your hips sinking. You might not notice the problem because the fins help you move through the water.

Arm movement 

Performing an S-shaped motion and providing propulsion, one arm pulls backward in the water from a prolonged forward position outside the shoulder and then towards the hip.

The other arm raises above the water, making a semi-circular motion from the hip to the prolonged forward position. Throughout the recovery, the arm is kept straight.

Next, the arms move back and forth alternately, and so forth. Each arm pulls once into the water and recovers when above the water during a swimming stroke cycle.


There are two schools of thinking that swimmers can use for backstroke rotation:

Backstroke rotation is somewhat less hip-driven than freestyle, but swimmers with exceptionally strong kicks can propel their stroke primarily with their hips.

Swimmers with a weaker kick may find that driving the rotation from the shoulders will increase the tempo and speed of their strokes.

Whichever way you prefer to rotate, remember that doing so in the backstroke will make you slower. Reduced resistance is the goal rather than switching totally from one side to the other.

The Pull

Your hand emerges from the water with the thumb first to start the backstroke pull. Lift your arm out of the water while keeping it straight, slowly rotating your hand so that the pinky goes in first when your arm re-enters the water.

Lifting your arm while turning your body away from it will cause your shoulder to emerge from the water. Rotate toward that arm as soon as your hand re-enters the water to lessen the drag your shoulders cause.

It's crucial to enter with your pinky first to set up a good Early Vertical Forearm catch. The pull will feel like a high-elbow freestyle pull from this point on.

The kick

Like freestyle, the backstroke kick is a flutter kick. Your toes must be pointed because it is brief and swift. The width of your kick shouldn't exceed 12 to 18 inches. You'll move more quickly the smaller and quicker your kick is! Instead of kicking with your knees, you should drive the kick with your hip flexors. Your knees should only be slightly bent and your legs should be relatively straight.

Benefits of backstroke swimming

As a swimming stroke, the backstroke has some definite advantages. It is accessible to both beginners and experts and is a good form of exercise. Other advantages are:

  1. The backstroke gives you a full-body workout

Your entire body will benefit from the backstroke, but your latissimus dorsi (also referred to as the "lats") muscle in particular. Additionally, it tones your core, glutes, arms, legs, and chest. These main muscle groups will get stronger with regular backstroke swimming. As your strength grows, you'll also probably notice that your muscles start to look attractively toned.

  1.  Build Your Heart Up Without High Impact

Swimming is regarded as a low- to medium-impact exercise that can provide an excellent cardio workout. The backstroke is much softer on the body than high-impact cardiovascular exercise like running or circuit training because the water supports your weight as you swim. Swimming is an exercise you could be able to safely do even if you've been told not to jog or run because you never strike the ground hard while doing it. 

  1.  Burning calories with the backstroke is enjoyable

When you backstroke vigorously for 30 minutes, you can burn between 240 and 355 calories. Your likelihood of burning more calories during this time depends on your body weight. For comparison's sake, this is similar to how many calories you'd expend playing basketball, beach volleyball, or running at 8 km/h.

  1.  Straighten Shoulders and Boost Posture

The backstroke can aid in addressing the rounded shoulders posture issue. The backstroke, when performed correctly, can help restore the shoulders' natural alignment, which can be soothing for posture. Additionally, it aids in the development of other muscles that support the shoulders and spine.

  1.  Quickly gain muscle

When compared to other forms of exercise, swimming often helps people gain muscle faster. Swimming is an exercise that uses resistance to build muscle, much like weightlifting. When you backstroke, the water's resistance is greater than the air's resistance when you perform standard exercises on land.

Quick tips to swim backstroke

It can be beneficial to observe competitive swimmers in action and incorporate their impeccable backstroke technique into your own training. Think about the following advice:

  1.  Give importance to the rotation of your hips. Your torso will sway from side to side as you swim the backstroke due to the alternating arm cycle. An increase in rotation can reduce efficiency.
  2.  Take the initiative. Your hands must enter the water pinkie first, as opposed to the other major strokes. Understanding this positioning can improve your effectiveness.
  3.  Exercise spinning drills. Spin drills can be beneficial because backstroke arm movements can take some getting used to.
  4.  Although breathing is not constrained, it makes sense to time it with arm and leg movements. For example, breathe in when your arms move toward your shoulders and stretch sideways, and breathe out when they are brought back to your sides.

In order to increase your speed, you must move your arms as fast as you can while paying no attention to your hips or the other parts of your body. Holding the wall while practising your kick technique while gaining strength and coordination is yet another backstroke drill to practice.


To conclude, these are the top things you need to know about backstroke swimming if you are a beginner. You must keep in mind how to balance every part of your body. If that is done, there is no way anyone can stop you from being a good backstroke swimmer. 


  1. What is the most important part of backstroke?

Making sure the shoulders and hips are rotating in unison is one of the most crucial aspects of the backstroke. Any lag or mistake in timing your rotation will reduce the effectiveness of your stroke because rotation drives the pace of the arms.

  1. What is the main purpose of backstroke?

Its primary function is to enable you to stop swimming in open water at any time to catch your breath and slow your heart rate. Your race experience can be made more pleasurable and relaxed by using a stroke apart from freestyle occasionally.

  1. Why is it called backstroke?

Swimming backstroke emerged from the front crawl as swimmers imitated the overarm stroke on their backs. Australian swimmers started bending their arms for the underwater portion of the stroke in the late 1930s, which was one of the most significant developments in backstroke history. 

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