How to Swim a Faster Backstroke: Techniques and Tips

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The backstroke is a unique and challenging swim style, offering both recreational swimmers and competitive athletes an opportunity to enhance their aquatic skills. Mastering the backstroke not only improves overall swimming ability but also contributes to a more versatile and effective swim routine. In this article, we delve into various techniques and tips on how to swim a faster backstroke, focusing on efficiency, strength, and precision.

Perfecting Your Technique

Body Position: The key to a faster backstroke lies in maintaining an optimal body position. Keep your body as flat as possible, aligning it with the water's surface. Avoid sinking hips as they create drag, slowing you down.

Head Position: Your head should remain still, with your eyes looking upward. This position not only reduces resistance but also aids in maintaining a straight trajectory.

Arm Movement: The arm technique in backstroke involves a continuous, alternating motion. Remember the key phrase: "catch, pull, push, and recover". Each arm movement should be fluid and elongated to maximize propulsion.

Hand Entry: Your hand should enter the water pinky-first, slightly wider than shoulder width. This technique reduces drag and sets up each stroke for optimal pull.

Kick: The backstroke kick should be continuous and steady. Focus on kicking from the hips, not the knees, with your feet slightly turned inwards for a more efficient flutter kick.

Strengthening Your Stroke

Core Strength: A strong core is essential for a powerful backstroke. Engage in exercises that strengthen your abdominal and back muscles, as these provide stability and power in the water.

Arm and Shoulder Strength: Since arms play a crucial role in backstroke, enhancing arm and shoulder strength can significantly increase your speed. Incorporate resistance training tailored to these muscle groups.

Flexibility: Flexibility in your shoulders and back allows for a greater range of motion, essential for an efficient stroke cycle. Regular stretching can improve your flexibility over time.

Practice and Drills

Backstroke Drills: Engage in specific backstroke drills to improve each aspect of your stroke. Examples include single-arm backstroke, backstroke catch-up, and backstroke kick drills.

Interval Training:
Incorporate interval training into your routine. This involves alternating between fast-paced swimming and rest periods, which helps build speed and endurance.

Technique Analysis:
Regularly analyze your technique, either by self-assessment or with the help of a coach. Video analysis can be particularly helpful in identifying areas for improvement.


Improving your backstroke speed requires a combination of technique refinement, strength building, and dedicated practice. By focusing on the key areas of body position, arm movement, and strength training, you can enhance your efficiency in the water and swim a faster backstroke. Remember, consistent practice and a willingness to refine your technique are crucial in your journey to becoming a swifter, more proficient backstroke swimmer.

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