Straight Arm Freestyle

two person swims on opposite direction

We’ve all seen the textbook photos of how to swim freestyle, how to swim with the classically high elbow and hand close to the side of the body. But what happens when you don’t have the required flexibility in the shoulders to keep that high or relaxed? Or what happens when you swim perfectly slowly but can’t increase your cadence to help swim faster? That’s where swimming with a straight arm recovery can help.

The recovery is the part of the stroke where your arm gets back out in front, in preparation to anchor on the water and lever you forward. By keeping your arms straight over the water, you can gain the following benefits:

– Accelerated back end – this means that you lengthen the stroke at the point where the body is already moving, which means you travel faster and more efficiently.

– Relaxed shoulders – with a faster exit of the water, your arms don’t have to work to get forward, saving you energy for propelling you forward.

– Quicker recovery – less time between strokes means you can keep your body moving rather than waiting.

Extending your arms back and then up can help accelerate your stroke through the water and aid your exit!

Lock & Rotate

After your hand exits the water at the end of the recovery, lock your elbow as your arm comes over the surface. When your hand lands out in front of you, make sure you fully rotate your shoulders to get the maximum pull out of each stroke.

Keep It Quick

Body awareness is absolutely essential while experimenting with this. Concentrate on a strong pull with quick arms. You want to make sure that you’re keeping your arms as stiff as possible to ensure the quickest recovery.

Try It Out

If you are looking at trying this, integrate it into part of a session. Try swimming 4 lots of 25m with plenty of recovery, and trying to turn your arms over as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about technique so much, but concentrate on how your hands exit the water i.e. think about really pushing your hands back past your hips. Follow this up with 4 lots of 25m strong but with good technique and feel for the differences.

Take your time with learning this – as with any skill. The point is that drills are there to make you smoother, stronger, more efficient. Make sure you hit all those target points!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here!

See what’s up next week for our #SwimTechTues tip!

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