Butterfly Stroke

By | Last updated Dec 28, 2016

There are many different styles of swimming that are used by both the professional and amateur swimmers across the globe. Almost all of them require a lot of practice to master but one of the most difficult styles of swimming to learn and master is probably the butterfly stroke. It is safe to say that it is one of the few styles of swimming that is attempted by only expert swimmers. Any swimming enthusiast, of course, can learn this style but the amount of effort it takes to move the entire body is phenomenal and comes only with practice.

This style was first attempted by an Australian swimmer by the name of Henry Myers in 1933. The butterfly stroke in swimming came into existence more than eight decades ago and ever since it has been the highest accomplishment in swimming for all swimmers all over the world. Only those swimmers who can perfect the butterfly stroke and use it in competitive events are considered to be the real swimming champions. Along with being a difficult style, the butterfly stroke is also extremely aesthetic to look at.

How to Do It?

Also known as ‘the fly’, the butterfly stroke is one of the hardest techniques of swimming. It involves both the legs and arms in a synchronous movement that relies also on the core muscles to perform. This feat requires immense strength and anyone who is new to calisthenics can find it extremely difficult to master it. So basically, the practice for the butterfly stroke actually starts outside of the swimming pool where one performs strength training exercises regularly to build the power needed for this style of swimming. The following are some steps to go through in order to attempt the butterfly stroke.

  1. The first thing to do when trying out the butterfly stroke for the first time is to check the movement of the arms. The arms are supposed to form a full circular arch in a synchronous motion. To make it easier, one can check the movement at a few checkpoints and make sure the arms are moving in the right direction. Starting above the head to the surface of the water and then from the surface through the inside of the pool, and then back to the surface, this forms an entire motion of the arms. Remember to put equal force on both hands because they have to be in sync for this stroke to work.
  2. The next thing to take care of is the movement of the legs. They have to be in sync with each other. This is the step where a strong core muscle group comes in very handy. It is probably the most difficult part of the butterfly stroke. The legs are supposed to move together in a flapping motion that will take the swimmer forward in the water. This can be practiced first by holding on to a railing on the side of the pool and just making the movements of the legs. This can give the necessary strength and practice to the swimmers’ legs that will be needed in the future to practice the actual butterfly stroke.
  3. It is very important to make sure that the movement of both the legs and the arms are in sync to. They have to be done together otherwise this style of swimming cannot work. While this may seem hard in the beginning, with enough practice, this becomes easier and easier.
  4. One has to move the body in the wave motion to completely master the butterfly stroke. It is necessary to make a very fluidic motion with body instead of keeping it stiff to actually get this style right. So think of your body as a very loose structure that can move in the form of a wave and just try to synchronize the actions of both the legs and the arms and that is the butterfly stroke.

Pros and Cons of the Butterfly Stroke

As with anything, the butterfly stroke also has its share of pros and cons.

Pros

  1. It is a highly rewarding form of swimming style which only the top most swimmers tend to know. So if you move up the ladder of swimming, then this is the style to go for.
  2. The butterfly stroke is one of the main types of swimming styles used in competitive events which are conducted all over the world. So it is a very popular style of swimming based on technique as well as beauty.
  3. The butterfly stroke, if done properly, can strengthen the entire body as it involves almost all the muscles of the body. Especially the core muscles that are required to make the wave motion.

Cons

  1. The butterfly stroke is known to be one of the most difficult styles of swimming without a doubt. The complicated motion of the body used in this style can be somewhat of a deterrent to a general swimming enthusiast.
  2. The motion of the arms and the legs has to be in sync with each other and for that it is very important to note the timing of the motion which can be complicated most of the times.
  3. And lastly, it takes a lot of energy to sustain this style of swimming. Even if you are a professional swimmer, it is not possible to perform this style for long periods of time like the other strokes. It can be done only in short bouts of time.

Conclusion

Even though the butterfly stroke is so difficult, it is worth all the time and effort because it is the ultimate trick in the skill set of a well-accomplished swimmer. So if you are looking to become a professional swimmer, then the butterfly stroke has to be at the top of your list of things to master. And even for other amateur swimming enthusiasts, the butterfly stroke acts as a form of motivation because one can always drive oneself to master this difficult but beautiful swimming stroke.

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