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Benefits of Backstroke

5 Reasons to Flip to Backstroke

Tired of looking at the bottom of the pool in your swim workouts? Try backstroke! Adding backstroke to your workouts has several benefits that will help you in and out of the pool. Aside from being a great total-body exercise and calorie-burner, backstroke can be the perfect antidote to rounded shoulders or even back pain. If you're not convinced, consider these five reasons to flip from freestyle to backstroke the next time you head to the pool.

  1. Improves your posture: Backstroke is a great exercise to reverse the effects of time spent on the computer. Unlike most of our daily activities — or even other swimming strokes — backstroke helps open up chest muscles. Backstroke also strengthens the upper back and lats, pulling your shoulders back, which helps create better posture.
  2. Tightens your core: The key to backstroke is balance. Although all swim strokes strengthen the abs, the rhythm of backstroke engages your entire core through a slight hip rotation. In addition, the undulating movement from the kicks off of each wall, activates both your lower back and core.
  3. Can be used as cross-training for runners: If you're a runner, swimming is a low-impact way to cross train between runs. Backstroke kicks engage the muscles in your legs and glutes for a complete lower-body workout; further challenged by the resistance of the water.
  4. Complements freestyle: As with every exercise routine, balance is key. Freestyle is often favored by many swimmers and is the first stroke taught to beginners. Mix up your workouts and improve your freestyle by incorporating a few laps of backstroke into your regime. Freestyle and backstroke are perfect complements to each other, working opposite muscle groups. Consider alternating strokes between laps or using backstroke to cool down with.
  5. Will improve your weight-room workout: When you're not rocking it out in the weight room, use backstroke as a way to straighten your arms and shoulders. Once your fingers enter the water to begin your catch, your biceps must bend against the resistance of the water to finish each stroke. Although your biceps and lats are in the greatest demand during the catch, your triceps and lats will benefit as well.
Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Kamden757 Kamden757 4 years
I hate it. I have hit my head, both arms/hands, gotten tangled up in lane lines, can't see the bottom (I'm aquaphobic but trying to swim; can do freestyle really well!) and hate that no normal senses really work to maintain my position or allow me to judge my distance from the wall. Would rather do anything other than that... except maybe breaststroke which I have have only learnt a little - can't quite do that one either.
Advah Advah 7 years
I love it. :) A pain when the swimming pool is crowded because I keep stopping to make sure I'm not about to hit someone, but it instantly improves my posture and shoulders!
amandaaa amandaaa 7 years
i used to be a swimmer...i always failed at backstroke. always got water in my mouth and nose, swam diagonally, missed the wall on flipturns, etc. haha! it is relaxing when i do it right
sharshar sharshar 7 years
I love it! It's great cardio, but it can be very relaxing, too.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
"Glowing --- from what I remember from high school swimming(1996-2000), backstrokers can flip over and do one pull before doing a flip turn. Much easier, I agree !" Wow. I was swimming competitively during the 80's. We were not allowed to break the plane and flip onto our stomach at any point (during the swim). In fact, we had to remain on our back, touch the wall with our hand, AND THEN initiate the backward flip. Of course, during the reverse somersault, we had to twist back on our backs and push-off. Anything beside this was a DQ (disqualification). It was really strict. And tricky, as backstroke was not my regular event.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
Love it as much as the other strokes (except fly cuz I can't do it!) The only trouble is, my sense of direction gets messed up and I have, on more than one occasion, got myself tangled in a lane line in some meets. ^_^;; And just yesterday I hit the wall on backstroke and somehow managed to crash into the wall on freestyle, bruising my hand and eblow. LOL. Love swimming tho.
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
I always cool down with back stroke - don't have to worry about breathing, and I swim very very slow with the stroke.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Am I the only one who doesn't enjoy swimming laps? I learned how to swim in school (required in 2nd, 5th, and 9th grades) but I never was good at it. I float about a fo foot under the water - I can't seem to get the hang of floating at the surface. Water just flows up my nose the minute I am face down no matter how hard I try to slowly breathe out through my nose. If there was any stroke that I probably would enjoy the most - it's probably this one.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Glowing --- from what I remember from high school swimming(1996-2000), backstrokers can flip over and do one pull before doing a flip turn. Much easier, I agree !
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I really like the backstroke. It's fun. Back when I was competing, I was the alternate back-stroker. If any of our first-line back-strokers were unavailable, I stepped into their event. The challenge was flip-turning with the back-stroke. Back in my day, we had to flip-turn on our back. This means we swam into the wall somewhat blind (we had to use the string that was strung across the pool, and count our strokes), and flip-turn BACKWARDS against the wall. Those were the rules. These days, I heard back-strokers can turn on their bellies, and do a regular front flip-turn into the wall. Is this true?? I wish this was the rule back in my day. It would have made competing 10x easier.
soccerkim soccerkim 7 years
I don't mind backstroke but I mostly swim freestyle since that is the preferred way to swim in triathlons! Plus you can see where you're going with freestyle!
mshoema mshoema 7 years
I love backstroke. When I swam in meets it was my favorite and the only one I would win medals in. I learned to love it back when I was first learning how to swim because I hated diving and it was the only one that you could start in the water with haha. But now-a-days, when I swim for a good workout I rotate the different strokes every lap. It is an amazing feeling.
BabyNorbert BabyNorbert 7 years
Backstroke is my favorite! And honestly the only one I'm really good at... I can do most of the others, but I get tired easily (both mentally and physically) with / from doing them. Backstroke rules! :-P
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Hmm... I don't, and maybe that's just because I'm so used to freestlye? (it's also a PITA when it's sunny outside and I have to squint into the sky!)
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