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Swimming styles and benefits

March 8, 2022


Swimming is a very complete sport that allows us to work all parts of the body at the same time. It is one of the healthiest and most practiced sports in the world. While swimming, we are doing a cardio and strength workout at the same time. The body moves constantly, which increases the heart rate, at the same time that we work against the resistance of the water, strengthening the muscles.


Compared to other sports, it is a very low impact exercise. This is beneficial for our tendons, joints, spindles and muscles. But keep in mind that we must perform the exercises correctly and master the technique of swimming styles. In addition, it helps us reduce muscle and joint tension as it reduces the effect of gravity.


While swimming, we are fully aware of our body and its constituent parts. Coordination is very important, as well as control of our breathing. That is why it is a phenomenal sport to relieve stress. Also, have in consideration that the muscles of the legs, arms and trunk are used; but each swimming style works each muscle group in a different way and intensity.


In this article we are going to see the 4 most basic swimming styles and their characteristics.


Front crawl


The front crawl, also called freestyle stroke or freestyle, is the most basic and usual style. This style is the first to be taught in swimming classes and it is the style par excellence if we want to learn to swim.


To master the front crawl, we must control the upper part of our body in coordination with the lower part. We must place ourselves facing down, floating. With the help of both arms, we will perform strokes alternating the right and left arm. It is important that the palms are facing down, as if they were oars, since this way we will advance faster. To breathe, the swimmer turns his head to the side of the arm recovering forward. We don’t need to breathe every stroke, it usually occurs every 2 or 3 strokes.


Not only is the alternating movement of the arms important, but we must also help ourselves with the legs. It must be a coordinated exercise: we must move our arms and legs at the same time. These will create a propulsion that will move us forward.




As its name suggests, this style of swimming is done on your back. It is similar to the front crawl style, since the movements of the arms and legs are very similar, although in reverse, and it is a great back workout for individuals with back problems. 


We will place ourselves on our back and alternately stroke backwards with a windmill-like motion. The palms of the hands should be outwards and above the head to propel us with greater power. The legs, just like in front crawl, perform an alternating flutter kick. You should keep your body straight, with your legs close together underwater.




The breaststroke style is characterized by being the slowest style within the four main swimming styles. This technique is often the first one taught to beginners because  it does not require putting your head underwater. However, in more advanced levels swimmers do submerge their head and breathe at designated points in the stroke.


This type of swimming stroke also occurs in a prone position. Both arms and legs perform simultaneous and symmetrical movements with the arms making a half circular movement in front of your body and the legs a frog-like kick (whip kick), breathing when the hands meet below the chest and the head and shoulders rise out of the water.


Butterfly Stroke


The butterfly stroke is an advanced swimming technique that requires great coordination and strength. 


In this style the swimmer is in a ventral position and both the movements of the legs and arms are very similar to those performed in the front crawl style but simultaneously and with slight variations. It should be noted that this style is performed with an undulating and harmonious movement of the entire body, that in the case of performing it correctly, it will be forming an "S" in the water.


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