How to Learn Butterfly Swimming

How to Learn Butterfly Swimming
The butterfly stroke is widely considered the most difficult swimming stroke. It takes incredible arm and shoulder strength and is packaged with an unorthodox dolphin kick. Many amateur swimmers make this stroke harder on themselves by failing to learn proper technique. When done correctly, the butterfly can be a fun but challenging stroke, using different groups of muscles for propulsion than the more common strokes.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Start at the edge of a pool or dock--somewhere from which you can push off with your feet. Put your arms and hands out in front of you, bso that you are breaking the water in an aerodynamic fashion as you move through it. Begin dolphin kicking by keeping your legs together and pumping your hips to start a wave that runs down your legs. This movement is similar to a dolphin's movement, hence the name. Continue doing this dolphin kick through all the steps.
Step 2
Separate your arms and pull down into the water, keeping your elbows mostly extended but slightly bent. Your hands should be cupped or flat and catching the water.
Step 3
Bring your head slightly out of the water as your arms are pulling, keeping your face down, and take a breath. Do this every one or two strokes.
Step 4
Bring your arms parallel with your torso at a 40 degree angle through the water. Your hands should be facing the sky at the end of the stroke.
Step 5
Rotate your arms outward and bring them out of the water behind you. Through the air, bring your arms back to being stretched out in front of you, creating a motion similar to if you were making a snow angel's halo. When your hands meet in front of your body, bring them down into the water and repeat the stroke, all the while continuing your dolphin kick.

Tips & Warnings

The proper rhythm to achieve between your arms and legs is two kicks for every arm stroke.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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