4 tips to perform butterfly stroke better

Breaking Down the Butterfly Stroke

When you ask the swimmers which stroke is the hardest one to perform? Most of them will say the Butterfly stroke. However, do you know that it is the fastest swimming stroke after the crawl?

The butterfly stroke is an impressive swimming technique, both visually and physically. It originated from the separation of traditional breaststroke with the butterfly breaststroke where the arms return through the air. The key difficulty of learning the technique comes from its "athletic" aspect. Indeed, the butterfly stroke requires muscle strength, synchronization of movements and flexibility. That’s why it is usually taught last during swimming lessons.


To master this stroke, we took apart the stroke and made a short FAQ to satisfy your curiosity. 


1. Why is butterfly the most difficult stroke?

Butterfly technique requires more than 50 muscles working at the same time in order for it to be effective. You will be exhausted very fast if you’re not using only one of these muscles the proper way. A powerful butterfly stroke requires a strong core, glutes, and shoulders.


2. How should you position your head while performing the stroke?

Keep your head steady. Your head should be solidly in a downward-facing position, don’t look aside or around as it will limit the body roll and you can’t swim smoothly.


3. Should you breathe every stroke in the butterfly?

 Usually, swimmers are instructed to take a breath every 2 strokes when they swim butterfly. By doing this you will give yourself enough time to exhale the air and prepare for the next inhale. Make sure that you leave no air in your lungs because you will be able to inhale faster.


4. How do you train to make a butterfly faster?

Beginner level:
A tip for anybody struggling with the butterfly is to combine a symmetrical butterfly arm stroke with breaststroke legs, or vice versa. This is less tiring but still requires excellent coordination. These training sessions can help you to focus on a strong dolphin kick, coupling motions, and shoulder elevation. There is no butterfly stroke without a good kick. The two coupling motions executed well will result in a huge surge of velocity. Elevating your shoulders too much when coming out for breath will slow you down a lot.


Advanced level:
When you are more confident in swimming the butterfly, you can use other equipment to facilitate your training and make it faster. Normally, paddling and pulling are commonly used for training, especially your muscles’ strength and coordination. Meanwhile, you can also swim with one arm stroke together with dolphin kick and breathing while the other arm extended alongside your head.