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Butterfly Training Drills to Refine your Technique


They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you always get in the pool and swim your stroke without thinking about the different elements that are involved, you’re not likely to make big improvements. Breaking the stroke down into specific exercises or drills that isolate a certain part, whether it is the kick, an arm action or the breathing, will help you to identify weak areas and refine your technique.

Here are some common training drills for Butterfly. They’re useful both for beginners who want to understand and learn each part and for strong swimmers who want to optimise their stroke.

Kicking with fins:

The kick is often the hardest part for butterfly swimmers to master. Unlike the other strokes, the kick involves a rolling body movement from the chest and hips as well as the legs. Fins create some resistance and amplify your technique, so for some swimmers, it is easier to get the body roll when the feet have something stronger to push against.

Kicking on the side:

It can be easier to breathe when lying on the side, so practicing a butterfly kick in this position can be more relaxing. In this position, an instructor or buddy on poolside can give you feedback on your technique and it is easier to hear this feedback when you have one ear out of the water, making it quicker and easier for you to refine and correct your kick technique.

Single, single, double pull:

The double-arm butterfly pull is a powerful but strenuous movement, particularly for beginners. Compared to the other strokes, you can get tired over a much shorter distance until your muscles have built up some endurance. A single, single, double pull makes things easier, giving you a bit of a rest between each double pull whilst continuing to train your butterfly kick. Having this rest enables you to focus on a good quality pull each time instead of deteriorating when you try to do too much. If you are restricted to swimming full lengths in a lane swimming pool but your butterfly is not yet strong enough to manage a complete length, this drill enables you to train over longer distances and keep up with the other swimmers in your lane.

Full stroke with fins:

As previously mentioned, butterfly can feel strenuous until you have built up muscle strength and endurance. Whilst fins amplify your kick, they also help to give you more power and lift, which makes the whole stroke a little easier, whilst at the same time building up muscles in your legs and abdomen.

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