This week we will continue to do more swimming aerobic-paced swimming with the vast majority being front crawl but this week, rather than swimming Medleys for different strokes, we will do backstroke.  As many of you haven’t done much backstroke before I thought it would be worth me writing a bit about why I think it is useful to improve your backstroke and how to swim it better.

But before we get onto backstroke please do think about your pacing when you swim at an aerobic pace.  It should feel as relaxed as possible and at a pace you can sustain, with 5-10s or less rest if necessary, for the whole set.  If it doesn’t feel like that then you are probably pushing it too hard and should slow down a bit, even if it means going behind who you usually would swim with.  Even a few seconds slower per 100m can make a lot of difference and give you time to really think about maintaining a good technique to keep your pace rather than just making it a hard workout.  There will be plenty of hard workouts before next season!

Backstroke is the most similar stroke to front crawl in terms of body position and shoulder rotation – you just happen to swim it on your back rather than your front.  The most important thing to focus on, for most people, is getting into, and maintaining, a good body position and this starts with the head.  Your head should be rock-solid and still all the time – looking straight up at the ceiling.

If you lift your head your hips will sink, like on front crawl.  If you nod or swivel your head you will often bounce up and down or start snaking.  So to swim better backstroke really focus on keeping your head really still and let your shoulders rotate about this fixed head position as your arms recover in a nice straight line before entering the water little finger first.  Underwater you should bend your arms for a strong pull but, just like on front crawl, try and make sure your hand leads the pull underwater rather than leading with your elbows and slipping water.  Watch the video of Ryan Lochte for a great example of what a good back stroke looks like and really notice both how still his head is and his hand leading the underwater part of the pull:

See you all Saturday!