Fitness

How to Learn to Swim for Beginners

There’s nothing like swimming on a hot summer day. However, swimming is also a skill that can save your life. When you know how to swim, you can safely enjoy water activities like kayaking and surfing.

Swimming is a great workout, too. It forces your body to work against resistance, which strengthens your muscles, heart, and lungs.

The best way to learn how to swim is to take lessons. Let’s look at the most commonly taught strokes and how to improve your technique.

How to do breaststroke

The breaststroke cycle is often described as “pull, breathe, kick, glide.” To remember the sequence, many swimmers recite this phrase in their head. Take a look at the video above to get a visual for how it’s done.

To do it:

  1. Float with your face in the water, your body straight and horizontal. Stack your hands and keep your arms and legs long.
  2. Point your thumbs down. Press your hands out and back in a circle, elbows high. Lift your head slightly and inhale.
  3. Bring your hands together in front of your shoulders, thumbs pointing up. Keep your elbows close to your body. Simultaneously bend your knees, bringing your feet toward your butt and pointing your feet outward.
  4. Reach your arms forward. Kick out and back in a circle then snap your feet together. Drop your head underwater and exhale.
  5. Glide forward and repeat.

Pro tip

Keep your legs behind you instead of below you. By maintaining a horizontal body position, you’ll minimize resistance and go faster.

How to do butterfly

The butterfly, or fly, is the most difficult stroke to learn. It’s a complex stroke that requires precise timing and coordination.

Before trying the butterfly, learn the wave-like body movement first. This is the core motion of the butterfly stroke. Once you’ve mastered this move, you’re ready to incorporate the arm motions. Watch the video above to see how it’s done.

To do it:

  1. Float with your face in the water, your body straight and horizontal. Stack your hands and keep your arms and legs long.
  2. Send your head down and forward and push your hips up. Next, move your head up and push your hips down. Continue alternating like a wave.
  3. When your head goes down, follow with your hips and kick. Send your arms down and past your hips. Simultaneously lift your head to inhale.
  4. Kick and continue the body wave, sending your arms up and across the water. Put your face in the water and follow with your arms. Exhale. This completes one arm cycle.
  5. Repeat. Breathe once every two or three cycles.

Pro tips

  • For a faster butterfly, avoid exaggerating the wave-like body movements. Your hips should be near or at the surface, not above. Moving your hips too high or low will slow you down.
  • Pointing your eyes and nose downward will also help you move smoothly and quickly.

How to do freestyle 

Freestyle, also called front crawl, involves a leg movement called the flutter kick. It’s recommended to learn this technique before trying the full stroke. Take a look at the video above to get a visual for this stroke.

To do it:

  1. Float with your face in the water, your body straight and horizontal. Stack your hands and keep your arms and legs long.
  2. To do the flutter kick, move one foot up and one foot down. Alternate quickly, keeping your ankles loose and knees slightly bent.
  3. Reach your right hand 12 to 18 inches ahead, palm facing down and in line with your shoulder.
  4. Pull your right hand down and back, pointing your fingers diagonally toward the bottom. Point your elbow upward.
  5. As your right hand passes your thigh, rotate your hip and shoulder upward. Bring your hand up and across the water.
  6. Enter your right hand in the water and repeat with your left hand.
  7. Repeat. Breathe every two or three strokes as your hand exits the water.

Pro tips

  • To speed up your freestyle, always reach forward before pulling down. Your arm strokes should be long and relaxed, not short and forceful.
  • Think of your nose as the center line. When you reach and pull, your hand shouldn’t pass your nose. Align it with your shoulder to propel forward.
  • Avoid looking too far down. This puts your shoulders underwater, which adds resistance and slows you down.
  • Also, when you kick, don’t bend your knees too much. Kick from the hips and keep your legs almost parallel to maintain speed and balance.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *