What are the Different Types of Swimming Techniques?
Swimming is a popular exercise activity which can be learned and performed at any age. It improves cardiovascular function, increases lean muscle mass, and enables weight loss. There are many different swimming techniques, including freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and the backstroke.
This is not an exhaustive list of the types of swimming techniques one can do; however, these are some of the basic strokes. These strokes each require different motions and emphasize different muscles of the body. Granted, each of the swimming techniques can be a useful form of exercise.
Freestyle is the stroke that will most likely be learned when one is first learning to swim. This stroke involves swimming with the body facing down into the water and breathing to one's side between strokes while simultaneously using the arms in a windmill-type motion to move the body through the water.
Breastroke swimming involves pulling the hands upward toward the chest and then pulling one's body through the water. Timing is a critical aspect of this particular stroke. The pulling is done in a manner where the arms pull, the head comes up and one breathes, the legs kick, and one glides through the water in that manner. If one does the breastroke correctly, it will appear that the body is bobbing up and down while moving through the water.
The butterfly stroke involves keeping the legs side by side in the kicking phase while also moving the arms outward in a circular motion with palms pressed downward to propel the body through the water. This is a difficult stroke to learn. Not only does it require excellent timing but also it requires very strong arms and legs to do this stroke correctly.
Backstroke swimming involves using the arms in a windmill-type motion while simultaneously kicking the legs to propel the body through the water. While doing this stroke, keeping aligned could be difficult because of being on the back. Also, there may be a tendency to swim to one side due to discrepancy in arm strength. Thus, this stroke may be difficult to perform well for some individuals.
One's ability to do these swimming techniques will likely improve with practice. Always exercise caution when swimming and always get a physician's approval before beginning a swimming exercise program. Also, if one is just starting to learn, it can be helpful to use common sense: never swim alone, swim in shallow water, and always swim where there is a lifeguard. If one does that, swimming can be a useful lifelong exercise.
@Iluviaporos - Often fitness centers will offer a free or discounted consultation every now and then for their members in order to make sure they are meeting their program goals and so forth.
I always try to use that consultation in the pool, since I can at least look in the mirror and imitate other people when I'm doing strength exercises but it's very difficult to pick up competitive swimming techniques when you're actually swimming and can't look from side to side.
The trainers are usually happy to do whatever you want them to do for the hour and if you ask nicely, they might even let you have the swim expert for your training.
It's a really good idea to try and get into good habits when it comes to swimming technique.
@pastanaga - It's actually amazing the difference good technique can make to a swimmer.
My sister competes in competitions which include swimming, like triathlons, and she was having a lot of trouble doing turns in the water.
She assumed it was just difficult to do them and that she just had to keep practicing and they would eventually become easier.
Then, she had a personal trainer look over her swimming and breathing techniques and he explained that she was doing the turn wrong and that's why it was so difficult. I can't remember exactly what she was doing wrong, but when he showed her the correct technique, she realized turning was quite easy.
Having another person look you over now and then and give you a few tips is probably a really good idea, even if the person is just a friend who knows something about swimming and can correct anything you're doing obviously wrong.
Swimming is also an excellent exercise for people who are overweight, because it gives you a full body workout without being too harsh on joints.
In fact, you can't really find another exercise that will be easier on joints than swimming, which is why athletes often do rehabilitation exercises in the water.
The only problem is that it's easy to get away with not doing much work when you're swimming since it's so different from running you might not realize how much you've done. So always try to beat your own times and have realistic goals to aim for.
And try to improve your swim technique whenever you go swimming. Sloppy technique is one of the things that will hold you back as everything you do in the water when you're swimming is either slowing you down or speeding you up. With good technique you'll be able to go much faster.
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