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Swimming strokes and their benefits

The different type of swimming strokes can help target different muscles and skillsets in the pool. Here is an in depth look at each.

The different type of swimming strokes can help target different muscles and skillsets in the pool. Here is an in depth look at each:


Muscle Groups: Chest, Back including latissimus dorsi muscles

The freestyle stroke, also known as front crawl is the fastest and most efficient of swimming strokes. It is the preferred stroke for long distance swimming and provides a full body workout, although it has the greatest impact on toning back muscles, especially the lats (latissimus dorsi). Freestyle is however the most difficult stroke to learn, as your face is in the water most of the time and to breathe, the head needs to turn sideways during arm recovery.



Muscle Groups: back and hamstrings

The backstroke is an excellent post workout recovery swim due to being a slower swimming stroke compared to freestyle and / or butterfly.

This stroke is often recommended for those with back problems. Benefits of the backstroke include improving posture, lengthening the spine and improved hip flexibility, making it great for office workers who spend most of their day sitting.

For those new to swimming, backstroke can be challenging to start of with. Swimmers may find it uncomfortable not being able to see the direction that they are swimming. Swimmers will also need to find good balance on their back to avoid any breathing issues and water entering the nose.



Muscle Groups: Chest, latissimus dorsi (back), legs, shoulders

Breastroke is often the first swimming stroke taught to beginners. It is one of the easier strokes to learn as both arms and both legs perform the same motion at the same time, also as the head remains above water, it is easier to breath and see. Breaststroke is the swimming stroke which is linked to the lowest number of shoulder pain complaints and it places less pressure on the lower back and spine compared to butterfly. The breastroke is the slowest and least efficient swimming stroke.



Muscle Groups: Abdominals, back, chest and shoulders

The butterfly is the most difficult and challenging stroke, as it requires significant strength and can quickly tire your body. The butterfly, is however the second fastest swimming stroke which burns fat, boots metabolism and effectively tones both the core and upper body.

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