Backstroke Swimming Technique

One of the biggest advantages of swimming as a physical activity is that it has many different styles. So even if one style does not suit an individual, they can always go for the next one. Backstroke is one such creative style of swimming. As the name suggests, this style of swimming is done by being on the back in the water. Backstroke swimming is one of the four major styles of swimming which are used for competitive sports. This is, in fact, a very well-known style that a lot of enthusiasts practice in their regular routine. It is also a very aesthetically pleasing style of swimming that is very fun to watch in competitions or otherwise. It may take some expert level of mastery to get the backstroke style swimming perfect but it has a lot of benefits once that is done.

How to do it?

Backstroke swimming techniqueAs with any form swimming style, backstroke also requires a lot of time and effort. Because of its complicated nature, only those who have mastered some level swimming can actually attempt it. But it is possible to get to this level through consistent practice and guidance from a professional swimming coach. If one is training for competitive events, then it is best to hire a coach and learn from the best instead of trying out these complicated maneuvers on one’s own. The following is a step by step method to start doing the backstroke swimming style. A word of caution would be to try out these steps with some assistance from a friend or a coach to avoid any possibility of injury.

  1. The first and foremost thing when it comes to backstroke swimming is learning to keep the body straight in the water. If one can’t do that, then there is a high chance of losing form and just dropping down in the water which can’t help one swim forward. So the first thing to practice is to keep the body very straight in water which takes the involvement of all the core muscles as well as arms and legs. The first step itself can take a lot of time, but it is a fundamental step that should not be skipped.
  2. Once you have mastered the art of staying straight in the water, you can try out the action of backstroke with your arms but doing this slowly is advised so as to let the arms get used to the extra effort. Be sure to form a complete arch with your arms in the water. It has to be a slow but continuous motion so that there is no hindrance in the swimming steps. This can take some time to get used to, but the effort pays off in the end.
  3. Learning the backstroke after one has mastered flutter kicking is more beneficial because the latter can be used to learn the former. Once you are on your back in the water and with a straight form, you can start using both the legs and the arms to make the appropriate actions to move forward in the water. While the arms are making that arch motion, the legs can flutter kick, and this will help the swimmer in moving forward quickly without putting all the pressure on the arms only.
  4. Another place where a swimmer might feel very uncomfortable in the beginning is having one’s face half submerged in the water. This can result in a very unnerving feeling as one always tries to keep the head above the water. This is something that one can get used to with only practice, so it is best to keep going to the pool every day and practice backstroke swimming.

Pros and Cons of Backstroke Swimming.

There are some pros and cons of backstroke swimming that are listed below:


  1. The biggest advantage of backstroke swimming is the fact that it is a style where breathing is very easy. With almost every other form of swimming, one has to keep worrying about the breathing part. But with backstroke swimming, the face is above the water at all times. So one can breathe very easily despite being in water which is a great thing.
  2. Another advantage of backstroke swimming is that it involves all the major core muscles and legs and arms in its action. This strengthens the core and also the arms and the legs. So once one has mastered the backstroke, they can use it as a form of exercise too.
  3. The movement may seem a little complicated in the beginning but once it is practiced it is pretty standard and not much effort needs to be put in it. There are only a couple of actions required to swim with backstroke style.
  4. It is easy to perform with little to no guidance, and even beginners can try this style without any issues. All it takes is definitive movement from the arms and keeping the body straight in the water.


  1. The backstroke swimming style is a little complicated. One needs to control the body completely to keep it afloat the water. This can take some extra effort as opposed to some other styles of swimming which don’t require it. It is almost like fighting gravity to stay afloat in the water.
  2. The water can leak into the ears if proper swimming gear is not being used and that can result in ear pain or a headache. So if you are the type of person who does not like to wear tight swimming caps, then backstroke might be a little difficult for you.


Backstroke swimming is one of the most popular styles of swimming, and everyone who is even remotely interested in swimming should try this style at least once. It acts as an effective exercise as well as an asset in competitive swimming events. All it takes is some practice, and one can easily master the art of backstroke swimming in no time at all.

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