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The Main Swimming Strokes for Beginners to Learn

What are the five basic strokes of swimming that you must know about before you can start training to swim?

Well, this is not rocket science. However, unless you find out about them, it is possible to never know them. We are going to briefly discuss the important swimming strokes or swimming styles that you ought to know about.

But why is this about five swimming strokes? Well, there are many different swimming strokes, but these five are the most basic ones.

If you can master these five strokes, you can truly enjoy the benefits of swimming. In any case, you will find it very simple to understand the others.

So what are the 5 basic strokes of swimming? These are:

  • Front crawl
  • Breaststroke
  • Butterfly Stroke
  • Backstroke
  • Sidestroke

Different types of swimming strokes

Every swimmer, whether it is a recreational swimmer, a rescue swimmer, or a professional athlete, starts by knowing these five strokes of swimming.

Front Craw Swimming Stroke

Image of front crawl swimming strokes This is the most common of all swim strokes. In addition, it is also referred to as the freestyle style of swimming.

However, do not let the word free deceive you because you will still have to invest a lot of effort.

In this case, what happens is that you engage in short underkicks. You also use your forearms in an overhead motion.

To be more specific, you create what is called flutter kicks. Here, when one leg is up, the other one is down in a flutter motion.

The kick must start at the hip and not the thigh. Likewise, just as this swimming stroke has a unique way of working the legs, you must also work the arms in the right way.


This is one of the most popular swimming styles. When you use the style, you are going to start your stroke at the upper chest level, then push your arms sideways, and then back to the same position. Of course, this happens in quick succession, so it is not as if you are too conscious about it.

Image of basic swim strokes

All the time, you are going to keep your elbows underwater, unlike in the front crawl style, where the arms seem to fly overhead.

In addition, when you push your arms downward, they should never drop below your hips. Therefore, you can see that the range of arm movement is short.

Indeed, the popularity of this style comes from the fact that it conserves more energy.


The backstroke swimming styles enable you to fully enjoy the fun that this sport packs. In addition, this is one of the most popular swimming styles.

Image of different types of swimming strokesThe thing that makes this style unique is that you do it when you are on your back in the water. Otherwise, the backstroke and the front crawl swimming strokes are quite similar. They are the opposite of each other.

Indeed, if you look at the swimming style names with pictures, you will notice that these styles both show arms flying overhead.

As we said, they are the same style, only that one you do forwards and the other backward.

Apart from when you are turning, the backstroke swim style requires you to stay on your back all the time.

One of the best things about swimming on your back is that your face stays out of the water. Therefore, you can breathe easily, and you can also keep water out of your nose.

Butterfly Stroke

This one is also called the frog swimming style. The reason for this is that every time you make a stroke, your head must come out of the water.

Image of types of swimming strokes with picturesIn addition, you kick your legs together, almost joined at the knees, which is the same swim style that a frog uses.

Another thing that you will also notice with this style is that the swimmer keeps his or her shoulders at the same level as the water.

While making the overhead stroke, your arms will move together in one motion, almost as if they are going in a cyclic motion.

The legs do not kick separately. Rather, they kick out together. Moving down together and moving up together. In addition, the feet spread wider than the knees.

Sidestroke swim style

This style is very popular with rescue swimmers. Just as its name suggests, you are going to keep your body in a side-ward position in the water while you keep your head above the water.

Image of what is a swimming strokeIn addition, you perform scissor leg kicks and make your swim strokes with one arm.

Since it is a rescue swimming style, we assume that the other hand is holding gear or the person that you are rescuing.

Because the head is always above water, breathing is not a problem at all.

However, there is a whole style to the arm movements where the movements are just random and asymmetrical. You will move your lower arm under the water, but not above the chest.

Why It Is Important To Learn The 5 Basic Strokes of Swimming

When you swim, you have to move your entire body from one end of the pool to the other or from one point to the other.

To an onlooker, this looks so simple and fun. However, the water presents some serious drag that you need to counter. Therefore, swimming really takes a lot of effort from you.

Swimming is very good for your cardio workout. On the same note, all types of swimming techniques work out specific muscles.

For instance, the front crawl swimming technique works out the forearm muscles, core and abdominal muscles, glutes, and hamstring muscles.

The breaststroke swim strokes work out muscles such as the pectoral, Latissimus Dorsi, glutes, and quadriceps.

The backstroke swimming style relies heavily on your shoulder muscles. It is also one of the best swimming strokes for people with back issues, as it can enhance healing.

When you use the butterfly stroke for swimming, you get to use almost every muscle group in your body. For instance, the abdominal and back muscles, or we can just say the muscles attached to the core or spine, are heavily used. You will use the hamstrings, calves, biceps, quadriceps, triceps, shoulder, and pectoral muscles.

Lastly, when you use the sidestroke swimming style, you will use muscles on one side (the upper arm side). However, you can interchange your hands from time to time.


What are the 5 basic strokes of swimming, and how do you execute them? There are 5 basic swimming styles. Now, you do not have to learn all of them together. It is best to start with the front crawl swimming styles and learn the others afterward.

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