Useful Tips

How to learn to swim on your back long distances


The easiest way to travel on water is backstroke. Since in this case it’s not worthwhile to work especially hard on the breathing technique and strain the muscles. Backstroke training is no problem.

1. Firstly, you need to choose a suitable place for training. Naturally, the pool remains the best. On lakes and rivers, the bottom is often uneven, and you will not be able to constantly monitor the situation. And in the pool the water is much more transparent, there are no waves and currents.

2. It is necessary to start training with a person who swims well and can come to your aid. It will be great if at first it will support your body to facilitate training.

3. Start learning aground. To do this, sit on the bottom, lean on your hands and lie on your back so that the back of your head and shoulders are in the water. Try to straighten up and, as it were, lie on the surface of the water. Take full lungs of air and very slowly place your hands on your hips. Try to make movements as smoothly as possible. Hold this position until your feet touch the bottom.

4. Try to overcome fear and maintain balance. To do this, you need to relax the whole body and breathe deeply. Your body will remain on the surface, and you will feel a feeling of weightlessness.

5. After learning how to lie on your back, go on to the science of swimming. To do this, sit on the bottom again, raise your hands up, bend them at your elbows, tilt your body back and push your feet well. After that, you need to straighten in full growth. Try swimming a few meters this way, preferably holding your breath.

6. To overcome long distances, you need to learn leg movements that resemble frog jumping, or repulsion. Hands should be rowed, starting near the head and reaching the hips under water. Moreover, hand movements can be performed both in turn and together. Be sure to make continuous smooth movements with each hand. For starters, it will be easier to row with straight arms. As you gain experience, keep your arms bent, as such movements less stress on your muscles.

The benefits of swimming:

  1. Most muscle groups are trained, while joints, ligaments are not loaded.
  2. The back is strengthened, a “muscle corset” is formed, which will be the basis for practicing any other sport.
  3. Due to the horizontal position of the body, the heart trains without overload, since there is no need to "raise" blood from the bottom up.
  4. The work of the lungs improves, the body absorbs more oxygen.
  5. All metabolic processes of the body improve.

Swimming on the back not only strengthens the back, but also allows the body to relax from the load, relax the muscles. Therefore, with distant swims, the ability to swim on the back will allow you to calmly, with rest, overcome the distance.

Body position

The main thing is to correctly position your body in the water: exactly at the water level. To achieve this, you need to position the head evenly, immerse the ears in water, while the water on the face should not rise above the center of the cheek. Raise your chin slightly.

The lower back is curved, the chest and abdomen are above the water.

Foot movements

The legs are a continuation of the body, the knees do not "jump out" of the water. All movements are flexible and biting.

Leg movement technique - continuous rhythmic up and down movements that begin from the pelvis, the toe of the leg is stretched. When the leg goes down, it begins to bend at the knees, following the line of the body, and the swing smoothly ends with the toe. Moving upward, she abruptly straightens to her knees, while the thigh turns earlier than the lower leg and foot. The main working swing is from bottom to top. Boosting swimming speed - the amplitude of kicks decreases.

Hand position

In this type of swimming, the arms are almost always straight, only under water during the stroke the elbow bends a little. Starting position - straight arms thrown behind the head, parallel to the body. The peculiarity of the stroke is that when you throw your hand into the water, it first enters from the little finger, and comes out with the thumb, but when you exit first, the shoulder, forearm, and then the hand appear above the water. In the stroke cycle, the brush rotates.

For one stroke, one inhale and exhale is done. In a more relaxed position, when the leading hand makes a stroke underwater, a breath is taken through the nose. Exhalation occurs when raising and throwing hands, through the nose or through the mouth and partially nose.

The technique of swimming on the back should be clearly worked out, after which you can begin practical exercises by performing a full swim cycle.

Start and U-Turn (Turn)

Backstroke starts from the start in the water:

  1. A man groups his body near the starting handrails: his legs are bent, they are parallel to the wall of the pool, at a distance of shoulder width, under the water line. Hands straight hold on to the handrails.
  2. Push.

The swimmer on straight arms rises a little, after which he releases them and makes a swing behind his head, legs at this time make a push.

  1. Sinking down into the water, the body makes a deflection, the hands are behind the head.
  2. First, the hands fall into the water, then the head.
  3. The body takes the desired shape and begins to slide on the surface of the water.
  4. A person begins to swim with simultaneous movements of the arms and legs.

This sporty kind of swimming most often uses an open turn. This method involves rotation, as a result of which a person is under water, from where he begins to swim in the opposite direction. The direction when turning is determined by the first hand that touches the pool wall. When you touch the pool wall with your right hand, the rotation will be carried out in the right side, with the left - in the left. While touching, the hand should be bent at the elbow.

When the first hand touches the wall, the second makes raking movements in the hip area. There is a rotation, after which the arms are carried out in a swoop over the head, the legs are grouped, rest against the pool wall, as at start and make a push. There is a glide, the body goes under water to a depth of 35-45 cm. Next, the usual swim begins.

How to learn yourself or do it yourself

Learning to swim an adult is more problematic than a child. Because there is a fear of water and a feeling of fear of drowning. There is also a psychological aspect that a person is already an adult, but has not learned how to swim. Therefore, first you need to overcome the fear of water. Make sure that water is able to hold the body. To do this, you can conduct such an experiment: go into the river or sea a little deeper than the belt, take full lungs of air and dive headlong. Under water, group with arms clasped. At this time, you can feel that the body is floating to the surface. After the air is over again stand up.

Learning to swim better in the pool, where the water is calm. You definitely need a coach or a person who knows how to swim well and who will control and help. For the process of learning to swim on the back to go correctly, the first thing to do is learn how to keep yourself on the water. You need to do this this way:

  • go into the pool waist-deep in the water,
  • pick up a swimming board or a noodle,
  • with your hands on the accessory, crouch in the water, touching it with earlobes,
  • then slowly lay your head back to the back of your head,
  • align your body with the surface of the water, legs may remain touching the bottom,
  • lying on the water completely relaxing the body, neck, head,
  • when balance is found, release the water accessory and lie without it,
  • take a starting position.

The main thing in this exercise will learn to completely relax. As soon as the body is calmly lying on the water, you can begin to train the technique of swimming on your back.

Types, styles and methods of swimming on the back

There are two main types:

In the classic version, the crawl on the back, the swimming technique of which is discussed above, consists of a cycle that includes: two swinging arms, six kicks, one inhalation and one exhalation. When the legs work rhythmically and correctly, you can swim without arms. In this case, the body should constantly work: turn in one or the other side for every three kicks.

The breaststroke on the back is less known, but does not put him to study for general development. The style is similar to a rabbit: hands are also thrown evenly behind the head, only this is done not alternately, but at the same time. There are also differences in the technique of working the legs: the legs do not kicks, but jerks. They are performed when the arms are carried over the body. With the push, the angle between the body and the thigh is about 165 degrees, the angle between the lower leg and thigh is close to 90 degrees. After the kick, the body glides smoothly on the surface of the water until the hands complete the stroke.

Swimming for the back and spine. Benefit for health

Strengthen your back muscles by swimming on your back. This sport is easy to master even for a beginner. Since only in this type of swimming the exhalation into the water is not performed, the face is always above the surface of the water.

When swimming on the back, involved:

  • abdominal muscles,
  • back muscles
  • shoulder girdle,
  • rhomboid muscle
  • back of thighs and buttocks.

Swimming with back pain

Training and strengthening these muscle groups allows you to get rid of back pain, lower back and acts as a prevention for various back diseases.

While lying on the water, the muscles of the front of the neck hold the head. At the initial stage of swimming, you should not overcome long distances, you need to start gradually. Because of the habit and new loads, discomfort in the cervical spine may occur. Also, insufficient rotation of the body during the swim leads to increasing loads on the shoulder joints and muscles, respectively, on the neck. With severe pain, classes should be discontinued.

In the process of a person’s life, the spine can withstand heavy loads. As a result, the intervertebral discs wear out and the back begins to hurt. You can relieve the load by swimming, because in the water all the muscles relax. And when swimming on the back, the spine is completely unloaded. In this case, training and strengthening of the remaining muscles occurs.

Why does the back hurt after swimming?

However, improper body position in water can cause back pain after swimming. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully monitor the technique during classes. Swimming on the back is indicated for hernias of the spine and osteochondrosis. However, it is better to start classes after consulting with a doctor who will talk about the permissible loads.

Water exercises

  1. A similar movement of the legs, as on land, only at a shallow depth in the water.
  2. Circular swings with arms back while walking in the water.
  3. Lie on the surface of the water.

Standing waist-deep in water, raising your hands up a little wider than your shoulders, take a breath, and hold your breath. After which, slowly sitting down on your back, at the same time push off from the bottom with your feet and raise them to the plane of the body, keep your chest above the water. Try to fix your position, and then try to establish breathing: even inhale and exhale through your mouth.

Backstroke with leg swings

It glides along the surface of the water with the movement of the legs by the crawl. The knees do not rise above the surface, only the tips of the fingers can be shown above the water.

The exercise is repeated with one hand thrown behind the head and the other freely lying along the body. Then the hands change.

A full swimming cycle, legs and arms work. Making two strokes with his hands, six strokes with his feet. To control breathing: inhale on the swing of the right hand, exhale on the stroke.

Adhering to recommendations on how to swim on your back, you can quickly make your first swim.

Common mistakes

Consider the most common errors:

  1. The body "falls" and does not slip on the surface of the water.

The reason is excessive bending of the hip joints, because of which the pelvis drops down. It is necessary to stretch the body, taking a streamlined shape.

  1. Without the work of hands, the body falls through.

Pay attention to the work of the legs: the ankle joints should not be clamped, socks look inward.

  1. Water on face from hands.

It is necessary to ensure that the hand rises straight and enters the water from the little finger.

  1. Slow gliding on the water.

The reason is that the case does not work. It should not lie horizontally, it must be rotated, this will increase the swim speed.

It is recommended to pay attention to the indicated errors and not to allow them during your training.


Backstroke is the simplest technique. You only need to feel confident enough in the water to relax in a supine position. Although you can swim fast enough on your back (faster than a breaststroke), do not rush. It is very important to master the correct technique.

Training in water should be primarily correct from a technical point of view. Speed ​​should be the result of this, not the main goal.

To maximize the benefits, you need to try to achieve a straightened and streamlined body position. No need to make sudden movements and make excessive efforts. While swimming, watch for two aspects: the correct position of the body (this ensures that the movements are effective) and breathing (it must remain deep and even).

The following videos will help you learn how to swim on your back.

Video No. 2: legs

The legs should not be “shackled”, movements are carried out with the participation of all joints: ankle, knee, hip. At the same time, keep your legs straight - the movement is from the hip, not from the knee. A strong push provides an elongated and movable foot.

To practice the technique, you can use a swimming board and / or fins.

Video No. 4: breathing

Proper breathing is necessary for the most comfortable and effective swimming. During swimming on the back, the face is always above the water, so breathing does not cause difficulties. Just make sure it stays deep and rhythmic. Typically, inhalation is performed at the moment when the right hand sweeps over the head, and exhalation is performed when the left hand is raised.

We hope you now know how to learn how to swim on your back. :)

5 tips and tricks for beginners

To make the learning process easy, you must:

  1. Start your workout with training on land.
  2. Classes in the water can begin with additional accessories that will help to stay better on the water.
  3. To control the position of the body: the chest is raised, the auricles are under water, the gaze is directed upwards, the pelvis does not bend down.
  4. Learning to swim without arms, only with the help of leg movements.
  5. Do not forget about the operation of the case, it must rotate from one side to the other.

These recommendations will help you pay attention to the main points during backstroke training.

How backstroke helps save energy when swimming long distances

The ability to swim on your back will save energy when swimming for long distances. Freestyle swimming can be alternated with a rabbit on the back. If a person at a distance is tired, he can lie on his back and regain his strength. The main thing when swimming on your back is not to lose reference points, starting and finishing points.

Olympic Games and Competitions

The kind of swimming crawl on the back is one of the Olympic ones. It is represented in two stages - relay race and integrated swimming.

Professional and innovator in this form of swimming Lenny Kreiselburg, who plays for the US team. He was a four-time Olympic champion, two-time world champion and ex-champion of the planet in swimming on his back. He completed his sports career in 2008.

In 2016, the Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro. The 200m backstroke with bronze was completed by Evgeny Rylov. Gold was taken by an American swimmer, silver - by a Canadian.

Technical aspects of backstroke

There are such methods of swimming on the back: crawl and breaststroke. The latter variety is not a sporting discipline. Style is used either to save the drowning person, or to restore strength after a long swimming lesson. Crawl is popular. This style was included in the program of the Olympic Games. It is noted that the crawl back technique is similar to the crawl style on the chest. Everything happens only in a mirror image.

Photo 1. When the crawl is swimming on the back, wide swings of arms are made above the water

Backstroke training for beginners

From the side, it seems that the technique of swimming on the back has difficult exercises, but this is not so. The main thing is to adhere to the rules that will allow any beginner to get comfortable in this style.

  1. Professionals recommend starting on land. After mastering the basics outside the pool and systematic training of muscles, the beginner will feel confident in the water.
  2. In the process of training pay close attention to the position of the head and body. The body, unlike the head, is always in motion. Glance is directed to the feet.
  3. Most professional swimming coaches recommend starting classes in the pool with additional equipment. This will help beginners. Foam cubes and products that are worn on the hands and filled with air are ideal.
  4. Грудная клетка в процессе плавания выглядывает из воды, а уши скрываться под её толщей.
  5. Важный совет от профессионалов для новичков — балансирование на воде без помощи рук. Перемещаются на первых порах с помощью ног и концентрируются на том, чтобы голова находилась над водной поверхностью.
  6. Hips are placed closer to the surface of the water, so that jerking movements with the help of the legs are easier, and it is easier for a person to balance on the water.
  7. The body is turned towards the hand. This will allow you to move through the water faster.

Photo 2. To feel confident in the water, you need to exercise on land

If you look at athletes who practice in the style of a swim on their backs, their arms are straightened when moving. To learn how to swim in this style, master the technique of S-shaped bending of the arm. The hand after "capture" directs water to the legs. To do this, bend the elbow in the direction of the lower back. To understand how this happens, mentally imagine a ball that needs to be pushed to the foot. The same movement is performed in water. After the hand made a push, it is leveled, turning in such a way that the exit of the hand from the water begins precisely with the little finger.

If you add the rotation of the body to the hand, this will allow you to gain maximum speed.

Photo 3. When the hand comes out of the water, the brush should be bent

It is important to learn how to control your legs. When the movements are automatic, they do without the help of hands and do not concentrate on the legs. This is an important point when learning.

In addition, take into account that the movement of the body when swimming on the back is also of no small importance. To hone them, they do without the help of hands. During training, they are located along the body. The body thus moves from side to side. The frequency of rotation of the body (longitudinal axis - up to an angle of 45 degrees) - 3 strokes with legs. At the moment of turning, the shoulder comes out of the water a little.

The body should slide on water, and not stretch. The reason for this is the legs bent at the hip joint, which pull the pelvis down. It is important to ensure that the body is elongated.

Photo 4. Work with legs should be carried out with straightened knees

If splashes fly over your face while moving your hands, this indicates an improper bending of the hand. When the upper limb sweeps overhead, it is straightened.

Back breathing technique

For one cycle of the athlete's movement, one breath and one breath out. At the end of the arm stroke (mainly the right one), the swimmer takes a breath with his mouth. After a slight delay, there is a gradual exhalation with the mouth (allowed through the nasal passages), which lasts until a new inhalation. Exhalation ends with effort. This is done so that when inhaling, water does not get into the athlete's mouth.

A distinctive feature of swimming on the back from the style on the abdomen is that you do not exhale into the water (light breathing).

Photo 5. Easy breathing (always above the surface of the water) is an advantage of the technique of swimming on the back

The right back swimming technique

Let's start with the rabbit technique and the correct body position. Take a horizontal position on the back and extend the body. The chin is pulled to the chest. At the same time, the gaze rises to the feet.

Swimmer bends in the back in the chest area. The chest rises. At first glance it seems that this is an impossible task. But this is not so. To take the correct position, try to reduce the shoulder blades to each other. The face is on the surface.

If you can’t squeeze your chin to your chest, at first try to place a tennis ball between them. At first he will slip out, but after holding it will become easier. First, try to perform exercises on land and repeat it in a pool.

Photo 6. The cycle of movements with the technique of swimming the crawl on the back with the movements of the arms and legs

As for the position of the hands, their cycle of movements is divided into 3 stages.

  1. Capture - the hand is extended above the head and lowered with the palm of your hand so that the little finger enters the water first. This phase consists in the capture by hand of the amount of water that is subsequently displaced,
  2. Pulling up - the hand moves underwater and goes to the hip, pushing the water out,
  3. Return - at the end of the phase, the hand passes under water and leaves it, starting with the little finger. The hand returns to capture.

Photo 7. When immersing the palm in waterthe little finger drops first

When one hand pulls up, the other is in the return stage. That is, the difference between them is a half-cycle.

Legs add 5% speed, but their role is also important - they support balancing while moving hands. The comb is combined with the extension of the leg in the foot and knee, after which there is a straightening in the hip joint and the knee touching the water surface, after which the thigh tends down.

Legs are in motion (up and down strokes). Basically, the work depends on the functioning of the femoral muscles. The distance between the limbs does not exceed 30 cm and less than 15 cm. The socks are stretched and the knees relax.

Photo 8. After immersion in water, the hand moves with maximum resistance for efficient movement

One full circle-cycle, which is carried out by hand, includes 6 kicks. With the correct operation of the lower extremities, a fountain forms on the water surface between them. Knees under water all the time, and feet peep out.

What is the difference between rabbit technique and breaststroke? The initial position is the same as in the previous version. The breaststroke is visually similar to a crawl, but there are differences between them, and this is not an alternate lowering and raising of hands, but simultaneous. In addition, the legs when swimming on the back of the breaststroke perform pushing movements, and pushing. The push is made when the hands pass over the body. In this case, the whole body is leveled and glides over the water until the hands do a straight stroke.

Breaststroke Backstroke1. glide in the starting position1. glide in the starting positionInhalation - when carrying, exhalation - when rowing and sliding
2. stroke: hands with bent fingers are bent, hands moving with acceleration to the sides and slightly down the arc, at the same time they perform a stroke, during which the hands are slightly bent, ending with straight arms at the hips2. the legs are bent at the knees, spread apart by the heels to the width of the shoulders, the feet are lowered and parted slightly wider
3. carry over water: hands turn outward, muscles are moderately tense3. push
Crawl Backstroke1. Entrance of the hand into the water: a straight arm is immersed in water on a line passing through the shoulder jointRhythmic, continuous, alternating oncoming movements from top to bottom and from bottom to topOne inspiration and exhalation per cycle of the swimmer’s movements
2. stroke: during the main part of the stroke, the brush moves along a curved path and maintains a position perpendicular to its movement
3. carry over water

Table with different types of backstroke

Photo 9. The trajectory of the hands when mastering the technique of swimming on the back

Advantages of Backstroke

Backstroke, like other swimming styles, is good for your health. In particular, this applies to the cardiovascular system and the spine. In addition, when swimming on the back, many muscle groups are involved. With the spine level, the press and dorsal extensors are being worked out. When moving the legs, the buttocks and the back surface of the hips are involved.

Swimming improves posture. In addition to the fact that in the water the spine experiences less gravitational loads, swimming improves the condition of the muscles of the back, chest and lower back. From stoop helps crawl swimming on the back.

For men, systematic backstroke exercises are useful if you want to have broad shoulders, and for girls, a beautiful and toned body.

Photo 10. Physical exercises in the water make the figure beautiful and fit (pictured is the 26-time world champion in the 50-meter poolMichael Phelps)

It is important to be prepared for the fact that the first time to master the technique will not work. However, this is not a reason to quit classes. After all, swimming is a useful sports discipline that tidies the body and helps strengthen immunity, develop stamina, etc.


Thus, we can conclude that swimming is good for improving health. Swimming is worth doing, because with it:

  • calories are burned
  • a beautiful pumped-up figure is formed,
  • stress, fatigue is relieved, the body relaxes,
  • blood circulation in the body improves
  • cardiovascular diseases are prevented,
  • there are no contraindications
  • there is a feeling of satisfaction.

This sport can be started at any age. If your back hurts and your spine gets tired from loads, this sport will be indispensable. Swimming will strengthen not only physical health, but also psychological. Add calm and poise. Therefore, do not postpone the start of training, it is better to start it immediately after reading this article.