Backstroke: What are its benefits and will it improve my front crawl?

Should you swim backstroke? Wondering if it is worth including some backstroke in your swimming sessions? Yes says John Wood, here's why...

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You should swim backstroke says John wood, as swimming backstroke in training has several benefits. First and foremost, it can break up even the most dull of training sessions. Variety is always a good thing to keep you motivated and moving well. Secondly it improves your mobility around your shoulders and chest; it will help open up the front of your body. If you spend all day at a desk, this can encourage your shoulders to be slumped forward; also as triathletes, sitting on bikes again mean that your shoulders can be hunched or your chest tight.


Why you should be swimming ‘off strokes’ regularly

Finally, backstroke is like swimming front crawl but on your back. The body position and requirements are exactly the same – keeping good posture, a straight back and relaxed long legs with minimal bend at the knee. The body roll or rotation is similar too – though you’ll have more freedom to rotate a bit further on backstroke than you do on freestyle. The underwater phase of backstroke pull is very much similar to freestyle too, in that your elbow should be bent at around 90 degrees so that you can accelerate the water towards your feet with your forearms.


Doing backstroke is something you can incorporate into your warm ups to help loosen your shoulders and also switch you on mentally for a session. It’s also a great recovery stroke to do so that you can catch your breath properly!

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