Three Home Exercises to Build a Better Backstroke

by SwimSwam Partner Content Off

April 23rd, 2020 Training




Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

Three great home exercises you can do to build a better backstroke

After teaching backstroke technique for years, I have found that I am more successful teaching the proper pulling motion and body rotation with the swimmers on the deck than when they are in the water. Once they learn the proper techniques on land, it is much easier to replicate those motions in the water. Here are 3 of my favorite exercises you can do at home to improve your backstroke technique.

  1. Standing Backstroke Exercise. 

One of the keys to a great backstroke is learning how to push the water straight backwards, rather than pulling or scooping the water. In this video, world champion Junya Koga demonstrates the proper pulling motion for backstroke, first without the boxing mitts, then with them. Start each minute of this exercise slowly making sure that your hand is pressing straight down between your elbow and your chest. Increase the speed to maximum effort for the last 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times with 30 seconds rest.

  1. Balance ball Backstroke. 

One of the most common mistakes we see in backstroke is not elevating the recovering shoulder out of the water. Not only will this technique reduce drag on the recovering arm, it will also push the pulling shoulder deeper into the water for a stronger pull. This one technique can improve your backstroke speed in several ways. Do three rounds of this exercise for one minute on with 30 seconds rest. On the second and third rounds, try adding some weight of 5-10 pounds with dumbbells. 

  1. Stretch Cordz Backstroke. 

Stretch Cordz are a great tool to help improve all four strokes. You don’t even need a coconut palm tree to attach them to, like Junya did in this video. But you do need to maintain the same pulling motion he demonstrates in his Standing Backstroke exercise. Do one minute of intense fast backstroke pulls, followed by 30 seconds rest and repeat 3 times. 

In our next article we will show you some of breaststroke exercises and videos that helped Rebecca Soni become the world record holder and Olympic champion. Until then, work on your backstroke!

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

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