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Tips for improving your backstroke arm technique

Improving your backstroke arm technique will make the biggest impact on your efficiency in the water.

Read our backstroke arm technique tips from our resident Swim England coaches Lucy and Carolyn, or watch the video below to improve your swimming.

Backstroke Arm Technique Tips

  • In backstroke, the arm action will provide the majority of the propulsion.
  • The arms are continuous and alternating with one arm providing propulsion under the water whilst the other recovers over the water.
  • If you were to imagine that you are lying on a clock face with your head at the 12 o’clock position, your right arm will enter straight and inline with your shoulder at 11 o’clock. Your little finger will enter the water first with your palm facing outwards.
  • As your right arm enters the water, your body will rotate towards the entering arm. Your arm will start to bend so that the palm and forearm are facing towards your feet. When the elbow gets to a 90 degree bend, push the water towards your hip.
  • As your right arm nears your hip, it will extend and your palm will turn in towards your hip to finish the arm pull.
  • While this is happening, your left arm will be entering the water at 1 o’clock and the body rotates towards the entering arm.
  • As your body rotates, your right thumb or back of wrist will exit the water first. Your right arm will be straight and it will rotate during the recovery so that your hand can enter the water little finger first.

More Tips To Improve Your Backstroke