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Have you ever wondered how butterfly stroke body movement is performed so smoothly and elegantly? The secret lies in the swimming action of the dolphin.
FREE EBOOK: all of the technique tips here can be found in my 'Butterfly Stroke Technique' book, along with a couple of bonus drills to help you perfect some essential parts of the stroke.
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Although we cannot leap over the surface of the water like a dolphin, we can mimic the way it moves its body from nose to tail.
When we swim butterfly, our body should undulate from head to toe, producing a dolphin-type action. This type of movement gives the stroke a smooth and seamless motion.
The body movement for butterfly stroke is a continuous undulating action that requires strength and power. The movement provides the propulsion and drive needed to keep the overall stroke smooth and efficient when performed correctly.
1. The body position should remain as horizontal as possible to keep frontal resistance to a minimum.
2. The body should be face down (prone), with the crown of the head leading the action.
3. The shoulders should remain level throughout, and the head should stay central and still, looking down until breathing is required.
4. Hips should remain parallel to the direction of travel and be in line with the shoulders.
5. Intermittent or alternating breathing will help to maintain a smooth and steady movement.
Although the movement initiates at the head, it begins as a relatively small movement when practised alone without the arm action. As the undulation progresses through the abdominal area and the hips, the movement becomes more extensive and more pronounced.
The up and down movement of the hips is very much the driving force behind the undulating motion, finishing with a large bend of the knees and the powerful downward kick of the legs.
The most common mistake made when performing the movement is when the undulation up and down is too excessive.
The movement originates from the head, but there is a tendency to exaggerate, causing the wave moving through the rest of the body to be over-pronounced.
The swimmer then puts more effort and energy into moving up and down instead of swimming forwards.
A simple push and glide exercise from the poolside followed by a gentle undulating movement across the surface of the water help to eliminate any excessive body movements.
If the swimmer uses the undulation to move forward, this will provide a solid base to build and perfect the swimming stroke.
Click here for some butterfly drills to help your technique.
Take your butterfly stroke to the next level with my book 'How To Swim Butterfly'. It contains specific drills for fine-tuning arm pull, leg kick and breathing techniques whilst maintaining an effective butterfly stroke body movement.
Click below to download a copy to your computer, tablet or mobile device. Or, click here for more details.