Do you want to improve your backstroke technique? Follow this plan!

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 7 April '17 0
You are reading: Do you want to improve your backstroke technique? Follow this plan!

Improve your backstroke! – Training plan for beginners and amateurs

In my opinion, the backstroke has developed more slowly than all the other swim strokes over recent times.

It is the strangest stroke for an amateur swimmer, because you “go backwards” and you cannot see where you are going. Sometimes we do not pay attention to the reference points on the ceilings of swimming pools. That’s right! Because the ceilings are full of marks to help you swim straight – or at least try to – and the flags placed 5 metres from each end of the pool are also there to let us know we are about to finish (or make a turn).

The backstroke can be broken down into two phases: catch/pull and thrust. It is an unbroken cyclic movement.  Rotating the shoulders is also vitally important.

Here is my suggestion for a short training session:

  • 300 metres warmup
  • 200 metres with 25 backstroke and 25 breast stroke

Technical drills:

2×25 moving only one arm with the other stationary along your side, roll properly as your moving arm both enters and exits the water


2×25 backstroke legs only with your arms along your sides as you perform a rolling motion


2×25 with your arms still and extended up towards the ceiling, move your arms alternately touching your hand at the end of each complete stroke and then changing arms


2×25 with one arm along your side and the other extended by your head resting on the water and with your body almost rotated on its side, crossover your arms and rest on your other side.


  • 5×50 backstroke
  • 8×50 freestyle
  • 100 easy

As you can see, the session is divided up as follows: warmup (300), steady swim (200) plus drills, main session (5×50+8×50), warm-down (100). Always follow this basic routine.

As we have already suggested, we advise you do some simple stretching exercises (we will look at them in another article), particularly for your shoulders, before beginning your warmup.

Enjoy your training… going backwards!


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arena coaches

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