Butterfly is generally accepted as one of the toughest of all strokes both in terms of technique and strength. The butterfly technique burns around 750 calories per hour, working the abdominals, triceps, pectorals, shoulders and quadriceps. Perfecting this physically demanding stoke can often be difficult.
To help, the team here at Zoggs have put together a number of expert tips along with a useful video to help you successfully improve your butterfly technique….
Body & Hips Your body should be as close as possible to the water's surface when completing this stroke. The hips are key to butterfly, acting as a pivot point.
Your stroke should start with your arms forwards and your eyes looking slightly ahead. Press down your head as your hips move upwards and when you are underwater, tuck your chin into your chest. The stroke should be both continuous and fluid.
Arms As you pull with your arms, push your chin forwards to get ready to breathe. Then raise your eyes slightly so that you are looking down and forwards. After each breath, your head should re-enter the water before your hands.
Shoulder strength is crucial to butterfly. Elbows should remain slightly bent and hands face palms down. Your thumbs should be the first part of the hand to enter the water and they should do so in front of your shoulders. Then start immediately to pull your arms towards your feet. Arms should not be pulled straight back, instead keep your elbows high to form a hooking action. When your arms reach your thighs, your hands should be lifted out of the water and thrown forwards.
See the below video to see these tips in action.
Legs Butterfly kick should be strong but gentle, as kicking too hard will interrupt the flowing action of the arms. Your legs need to be close together but not touching so that you are able to turn your feet in slightly. As your hands enter the water, kick down with your legs, following with another kick down again when your hands leave the water. At the end of each kick, your legs should be straight with pointed toes.
Breathing When you breathe is very important with butterfly! When your arms have almost reached your thighs, push your chin forward to breathe so that your mouth comes out of the water. Breathing every other stroke is the preferred technique for many, and remember your breaths should be quick but not forceful.