How To Backstroke

Backstroke is more than just a competitive stroke. Explore its physical and mental benefits and learn the key techniques to swim like a pro.

Written by

Jameel Nawaz

Published on

Swimming Lessons

Backstroke (sometimes called back crawl) is one of the four competitive swimming strokes, alongside front crawl, butterfly, and breaststroke.

Backstroke was the second stroke to be included in the Olympic Games, after freestyle, making it one of the oldest competitive swimming strokes. The first Olympic backstroke race was the men’s 200 meter at the 1900 Paris Olympics. This solidifies its position as one of the main four swimming techniques from the very beginning of competitive swimming.

While there have been many refinements and adjustments to the technique over the years, backstroke has always held a fundamental place. This blog post will cover the method of how to backstroke.

Benefits of Backstroke

Backstroke, often overlooked as simply a competitive swimming stroke, holds a wealth of advantages for the everyday swimmer. Far beyond just a way to swim, this unique style offers a surprisingly diverse range of benefits that extend to both physical and mental well-being.

Physical benefits include:

  • Full-body workout: Engages muscles throughout the body, particularly the back, shoulders, arms, legs, and core.
  • Improved posture: Helps strengthen back muscles, correct rounded shoulders, and promote better spinal alignment.
  • Reduced back pain: Can alleviate pain and tension in the back due to its gentle stretching and strengthening effects.
  • Low-impact exercise: Ideal for individuals with joint pain or injuries, as it puts minimal stress on joints.
  • Cardiovascular health: Improves heart and lung function, increasing stamina and overall fitness.
  • Muscle building: Promotes muscle growth and toning, especially in the back and shoulders.

Mental benefits include:

  • Stress reduction: The rhythmic motion and focus on technique can be meditative and relaxing.
  • Improved mood: Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood boosters that can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Mental clarity: Regular exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function and mental clarity.

Technique for Backstroke

While backstroke is a fantastic stroke for leisurely swims, understanding its key techniques can truly unlock its potential. We’re talking about transforming your backstroke from a casual float into a smooth, powerful glide through the water. Let’s break down those key moves – body position, arm strokes, leg kicks, and breathing – to help you learn how to backstroke.

Body position:
Keep body position as flat as you can .
The water level should cover your ears .

The legs perform a flutter kick, where they alternate up and down movements, providing propulsion.
Keep your legs close together and kick from the hips rather than the knees.

Arms move in an alternating windmill motion.
Lead with your thumb as your arm comes out of the water.
Your little finger should enter the water first with your arm straight and your palm facing outwards.

Avoid holding your breath as much as possible.
Typically, a breath is taken every time an arm completes a full cycle.
A consistent breathing pattern will aid the rhythm of your stroke.

Learn To Swim At Swim Central

At Swim Central, we’re passionate about helping you become the best swimmer you can be. Whether you’re looking to learn how to swim or refine your backstroke technique, our experienced instructors are here to guide you. We offer group swim lessons for babies, children, and adults because we believe everyone deserves the joy and confidence that comes with swimming.