Swimming is one of the most popular forms of exercise, so if you are thinking of taking it up you will be in good company. It has never been easier to start swimming, with public pools available around the country. Many homeowners even choose to have their own private pool constructed to take advantage of. Even smaller home pools can be set up to allow you to get exercise, with options like swim jets making lane swimming possible even in a tiny space. So there really is no excuse if you are looking to start swimming. But if you are going to begin swimming on a regular basis it is important to choose the right swimming stroke in order to get the most out of your workout. Here are four different swimming strokes that happen to be the most common; along with their benefits and drawbacks to help you choose the perfect one for you.

1. Breaststroke

Breaststroke is often the first swimming stroke taught to beginners, this can mean that some people discount it as nothing more than an easy stroke that doesn’t really offer any major benefits, but this isn’t true. It has many advantages that make it one of the most popular you will see in any pool.

The benefits:

This stroke is a fantastic choice if you are looking to get a cardiovascular workout from your swimming sessions. As one of the easiest swimming strokes to learn, it also has the benefit of being perfect for people who don’t enjoy having their head underwater for long periods of swimming. It is also a great workout for your chest and lats.

The drawbacks:

This is a relatively slow stroke which means that it doesn’t offer a great deal of fat burning potential, so there are better options if you are looking for a pure workout.

2. Front crawl

The freestyle stroke, front crawl is known for being the fastest swimming stroke as you drag yourself through the water while being propelled by fast flutter kicking with your legs. It naturally has the challenge that you are facing down into the water and have to learn proper breathing techniques to get the most out of the stroke. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most popular styles of swimming.

The benefits:

Front crawl is the fastest stroke! It can be the best if you are looking for a pure power workout from your swimming. It is a great way to work on your chest, back and lat muscles, and is the most efficient way to swim if you want to test yourself.

The drawbacks:

We have already mentioned that front crawl can be challenging to learn to execute correctly as you have to develop a breathing routine. Getting it wrong can leave you out of breath in the water which halts your progress. This can be a challenging thing to coordinate, especially if you are not used to it.

different swimming strokes, front crawl, freestyle stroke


3. Backstroke

The swimming stroke on your back, backstroke is typically more relaxed and useful for working a different set of muscles. It is definitely useful to learn backstroke and use it in combination with other strokes to get a broader workout from your swimming session.

The benefits:

Backstroke is unsurprisingly a fantastic workout for the back muscles, but it can also help you work out the hamstrings. It is another one of those swim strokes where you don’t need to worry about breathing as your head is out of the water at all times.

The drawbacks:

It can be initially challenging to hold your balance on your back. This can make backstroke a bit more tricky to learn than other swimming strokes. Additionally, it can be difficult to get used to not being able to see where you are going.

4. Butterfly

One of the more challenging swimming strokes to master, the butterfly looks fantastic when someone executes it correctly. But it can be an intimidating stroke to start doing – it’s important to learn how to do it correctly. Both arms swing simultaneously and pull back under the swimmer’s hips to generate forward motion. The legs and feet snap together in a dolphin-style kick.

The benefits:

This is a fast and fun stroke that is great for burning fat. It works out your core, shoulders and chest. If you are looking to master a unique stroke, this is the one. You aren’t likely to see many people doing this stroke in the pool.

The drawbacks:

The butterfly is difficult to learn. There are a number of complicated body movements that you need to master; including proper breathing techniques. On top of this, of all the swim strokes, this one is very tiring and is difficult to do for long periods of time.

Which of these swimming strokes do you find is the best for you? Do you utilize any different swimming strokes while you swim? Let us know in the comments below!