Swimming is one activity that helps you burn a lot of calories, while being easy on the joints. Since it supports your weight, the pressure on the joints is not much. At the same time, you build your muscular potency and stamina while swimming. In fact, it is one of the best exercises for summers, owing to the fact that it cools you off and refreshes you instantly. Even the oldies can take to swimming and exercise their body, without the danger of stressing it out. If these benefits were not enough, the activity has also been associated with improvement of the cardiovascular fitness of the body. In the following lines, we tell you about the various different techniques, strokes and styles that can be used for swimming.
Swimming Techniques, Strokes and Styles
The different strokes of swimming differ on the basis of their difficulty level and the resultant popularity.
Breaststroke requires exact timing and is amongst the most difficult swimming techniques. In this stroke, you glide through the water, with your body bobbing up and down. It is not for the beginners and should be learnt only after you have become adept at swimming. You need to pull your arms, breathe and kick as you swim. As you start, your arms are overhead and as you bring them toward the chest, you pull on the water. Keeping the hands cupped, you then bring them back to the original position. You need to breathe every time you stroke with your arms. As for the legs, bring the knees to the chest and thrust the legs backward, keeping them straight. To push the water and move forward, snap the legs together.
Butterfly stroke is also a difficult one and should not be tried by the beginners in swimming. In this one, the legs move together in a dolphin kick, while the water is pushed downward and backward with the help of the arms, moving together. Throughout the stroke, the torso undulates like an earthworm. Keeping your hands cupped, move the arms together and pull through the water. While facing the palms outward, try to press down and outward. To complete the arm stroke, swing the arms forward in a sweeping motion, above the water. As for the leg kick, begin by keeping the knees together, while bending them slightly. As you straighten them, give a downward thrust and whip the feet downward. Remember, for every arm stroke, there should be two kicks. You need to breathe at the end of the arm stroke.
The backstroke is pretty easy, as compared to the breaststroke and butterfly. In the backstroke, the arms are moved in an alternating, windmill pattern, while rotating and passing the face. The hands are always cupped and the thumb leaves the water first. As the hands push the water backward, they form an ‘S’ pattern. Coming down to the leg kick, remember that it is a flutter one, in which the legs kick in an alternating order. You need to bend the knees slightly, while relaxing the feet and ankles, and stress on the up-kick for propulsion. Throughout the stroke, you should keep your head back and the eyes towards the ceiling. Make sure that your head is always out of the water. Make sure to move your arms with equal strength and roll your body from side to side.
One of the easiest techniques of swimming, and perhaps the best for beginners, is the crawl. It is done on the belly and involves the flutter kick and windmill arm motion. The difficult part comprises of breathing, since the head is under water most of the time. The arms move in an alternating windmill motion, where the hands are cupped, but the wrist and hand are relaxed during recovery. Both the arms need to be pulled with equal strength, while making an ‘S’ pattern underwater. The leg kick is the same as in the backstroke. As for the breathing, catch a breath as your shoulder rises and exhale through the nose and mouth, when the head returns to the water. Turn the head enough to catch a breath, but do not lift it completely.
Freestyle Flip Turn (Used with Crawl)
The freestyle flip turn is used to turn around after reaching the wall of the swimming pool. It involves a somersault in the water, in which you flip and turn and use your legs to power-kick off the wall. The somersault should be started before reaching the wall. For the purpose, you need to tuck the chin and pull the knees into a tuck position. Throughout this, air should be blown out to avoid inhalation of water. Halfway through the flip, straighten out the body-tuck and extend the legs toward the wall. Now, push the wall and roll over onto the belly, while gliding towards the surface of the water. Continue gliding till you break the surface of the water. Thereafter, start stroking immediately.