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Front Crawl Arms

Correct Technique For Easier Swimming

Front crawl arms are a continuous alternating action providing the majority of the power and propulsion of the entire swimming stroke. Your arms are your power and drive and poor arm technique will ruin your efficiency.

The Front Crawl Book

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The Front Crawl Book

"Absolutely must buy. I now know what each part of my body should be doing. Outstanding!"

$4.99

Click for more info

For an in-depth look at front crawl including practical exercises to practice and help perfect your technique, download How To Swim Front Crawl

Essential Parts Of Front Crawl Arms

The arm technique for front crawl can be broken down into three main parts:

Catch - as the hand enters and 'catches' the water.

Pull - or 'propulsive phase', as the hand and arm pulls to generate propulsion.

Recovery - as the pull phase is complete and the arm recovers over the water surface.

Catch

The hand enters the water thumb side down, with fingers closed and reaches forward under the water without over stretching.  Arm fully extends just under the water surface.

Hand entry should occur approximately in-between the line of  the shoulder and the centre of the head.

Propulsive Phase

Hand sweeps through the water downward, inwards and then upwards.

Elbow is high at the end of the down sweep and remains high throughout the in-sweep.

Hand pulls through towards the thigh and upwards to the water surface.

Click on a stroke part below for more in-depth details.

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Elbow bends to exit the water first.  Hand and fingers fully exit the water and follow a straight line along the body line over the water surface.

Elbow is bent and high and the arm is fully relaxed.

Do You Make These Common Mistakes?

The arm technique for front crawl can bring about many mistakes, the most common being a deep propulsive phase and a very high recovery phase.

Both of these mistakes will disturb the body position, which will in turn create an inefficient overall swimming stroke.  Both a deep arm pull and a high arm recovery over the water surface will cause excessive body roll.  

Front crawl arms

The best exercise for practicing and correcting these common mistakes is holding a float or kick board in one hand and swimming using single arm pulls.  This will force the swimmer to focus on the arm technique whilst ensuring that the body position remains level and correct. The exercise is then repeated using the opposite arm. 

Isolating one arm at time ensures focus on correct technique without the possible coordination issues causing additional mistakes.

Fine-Tune Your Arm Action With These Exercises

Download these documents to your computer, tablet or mobile device and put your arm pull technique to the test.  Isolate your arm pull and focus on the key technique tips to learn and fine-tune this important part of front crawl. 

Arm pulls holding a single float

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Alternating arms holding a float

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Arm action with a pull buoy

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Push and glide adding arm pulls

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Click here for more front crawl exercises.

All of these documents are PDF format and are compatible with all tablet and mobile devices.  Some computers may need PDF reading software such as Adobe Acrobat.

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