September 26, 2023

Swimming is among the finest methods to get match: It burns tons of energy, affords an incredible cardiovascular exercise, and is a zero-impact train. The go-to swimming stroke for most individuals is freestyle, however for those who solely keep on with that one, your swim exercises can get fairly monotonous. That’s why studying find out how to do the backstroke will assist steadiness out your exercises and your physique.

Backstroke method isn’t too arduous to grasp and might be realized comparatively shortly. Listed below are some recommendations on find out how to do the backstroke that can assist you get began.

What Is the Backstroke?

Backstroke is one in every of 4 acknowledged swim strokes. It’s the second quickest (after freestyle), and the one one which entails being in your again. To that finish, it’s basically freestyle in your again, because it entails the identical flutter kick and likewise an extended axis stroke, that means you rotate your physique alongside the lengthy axis of your backbone.

That is the other of the brief axis strokes, butterfly, and breaststroke, which rotate alongside the brief axis of your hips.

Why Ought to You Do Backstroke?

If you end up swimming plenty of freestyle, including some backstroke to your exercises might help steadiness issues out. Backstroke helps open up your chest and shoulder muscle mass which are likely to get shortened and tight when swimming freestyle for longer durations.

Many individuals who usually solely swim freestyle will usually see enhancements of their swimming energy once they begin constructing in different strokes. That’s as a result of it helps develop your really feel for the water, and likewise provides some selection into your coaching.

The best way to Do the Backstroke

3 stages of backstroke | backstroke

Backstroke can initially look like a frightening stroke to be taught, particularly in case you are new to swimming, however don’t let that deter you.

As a result of your face is out of the water all the time you swim backstroke, you don’t have to fret in regards to the timing or frequency of your respiratory, which might be one of many extra sophisticated elements of different strokes. This implies you’ll be able to carry out common, relaxed respiratory, which helps you to focus solely on the stroke.

The identical ideas that apply to freestyle swimming apply to backstroke (and, in truth, all strokes): scale back drag by enhancing you physique place and improve energy.

Physique place

An incredible first step in studying find out how to do the backstroke is to simply be taught to drift in your again to get comfy with the physique place. For those who discover it arduous to stay buoyant sufficient to drift simply in your again then use a light-weight kick to assist stabilize you.

“The important thing for most individuals when swimming backstroke is to keep up correct physique place, which basically means holding your core taut and your hips and ft excessive,” says Chris Georges, USA Masters-certified swim coach who has been teaching for greater than 40 years.

Physique roll

To maximise your energy within the backstroke, it’s best to barely roll your physique backward and forward. However solely rotate from the neck down: “You need to preserve your head completely nonetheless and regular whereas your shoulders and hips rotate,” Georges says.


The backstroke arm cycle entails the next: hand entry, pull, launch, and restoration. Let’s take a look at these in nearer element under:

1. Hand entry

hand entry example| backstroke

Your hand enters the water in step with your shoulder, pinky finger in first, and your arm straight. Rotate your physique barely to maximise your attain.

2. Pull

pull example | backstroke

Pull your arm down and beneath the water, barely bending your elbow. Sweep your arm down and thru the water towards your outer thigh, pushing the water along with your hand.

3. Launch

release example | backstroke

As your arm nears your physique, start to straighten it, lifting it out of the water along with your thumb main.

4. Restoration

recover example | backstroke

Transfer your arm in an arc to start the stroke once more along with your pinky getting into the water first.

Your arms ought to be shifting frequently in an alternating trend — when one is sweeping up out of the water, the opposite arm is pulling beneath the water. This may create a clean and continuous motion ahead throughout the water.


The backstroke makes use of the flutter kick, similar to in freestyle. Listed below are some tricks to grasp the flutter kick:

  • Hold your legs shut collectively.
  • Generate energy out of your hips, not your knees. Your entire leg ought to be shifting with every kick, not simply your decrease leg.
  • Your legs ought to be relaxed and bent barely. Consider your legs as battle ropes, shifting fluidly up and down.
  • Concentrate on clean, constant kicks at first. As you get extra comfy, you can begin selecting up the velocity.

Widespread Errors Made Throughout Backstroke and The best way to Repair Them

“A typical mistake amongst novices studying backstroke is the mixture of dropping their hips and doing a ‘bicycle kick’ (bending on the knee as they kick),” Georges says. “Typically what accompanies these errors is a head place the place the swimmer is wanting down towards their ft.”

Not solely is that vastly inefficient, nevertheless it additionally creates an excessive amount of drag. Listed below are some widespread type flaws and find out how to appropriate them:

  • Dropping your hips. Georges suggests fascinated about holding your stomach button dry. “That is truly just about inconceivable to do, however the cue alone will assist preserve your hips excessive, which is admittedly what we need to see,” he says.
  • Angling your neck too far ahead or backward. Try for a impartial neck along with your head again and your eyes wanting straight up. Your ears ought to be within the water.
  • Bending your knees whereas kicking. While you “bicycle kick” as a substitute of flutter kick, your knees will come out of the water, which you need to keep away from. As on your toes, they need to simply gently break the floor of the water, Georges says.

Backstroke Drills

An excellent drill to hone your backstroke method is to do the one-arm backstroke drill. “One arm stays inactive at your aspect whereas the opposite arm goes by means of the arm stroke cycle,” Georges explains. “The problem is to keep up the correct physique place, in addition to ensuring that every shoulder comes utterly out of the water on every stroke cycle.

Infographic Example | Backstroke