Backstroke Body Position

For Easy Smooth and Efficient Swimming

Backstroke body position is flat and horizontal, with ears slightly below the water surface. Your body position is an essential starting point for correct swimming technique.

For an in-depth look at all aspects of backstroke together with some simple practical exercises to help perfect the technique, download How To Swim Backstroke.

The Easy Backstroke Book

"Backstroke made easy and now I don't sink when I swim! Highly recommended."


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The Easy Backstroke Book

"Backstroke made easy and now I don't sink when I swim! Highly recommended."


Click for more info

How Is Your Body Position?

Good floaters will find this position relaxing and relatively easy, whereas poor floaters will find it difficult to achieve a comfortable position and remain afloat.

The head and chest position are vital for establishing a correct starting point.  The slightest tilting forwards of the head will cause the chest and then hips to drop, thus upsetting the whole position.

The head remains still throughout the stroke with the eyes looking upwards.  As the swimming becomes more confident and proficient swimming on their back, the eyes can look slightly down the body at a point the swimmer is swimming away from.

backstroke body position

Although this kind of head tilt would be counter productive in beginners, more established swimmers will be able to maintain a correct body position.

With the head position precise and correct, the swimmer stands a greater chance of preventing a sitting type position in the water as their body begins to sink! 

The hips and shoulders remain at or near the water surface but roll with the stroke. The legs and feet should be extended and remain together to maximise efficiency, with knees remaining below the water surface.

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Backstroke Body Position Mistakes That Cause You To Sink

Ever get that feeling that you are sinking when you swim on your back?  It is very common to allow the legs to drop and the body position to become angled in the water without knowing it is happening.  

This is usually caused either by allowing the hips to drop or lifting the head slightly or a combination of both.  As the legs drop deeper the whole stroke becomes less efficient and more energy consuming.

Performing a push and glide from holding the poolside is a good way of testing how flat you can remain.  Ensure that you look upwards as you push away and stretch out so that your hips, legs and feet rise to the surface.  The overall body position is easily maintained with a correct and efficient leg kick.

Check and correct your body position with these simple exercises

Download these documents to your computer, tablet or mobile device and fine-tune your body position.  Use the technique tips in these exercises to focus on the position of your body as you swim. 

Static holding a float


Push and glide holding a float


Supine push and glide


Click here for more backstroke 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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