Yoga for Swimmers: Mobility and Strength for an Efficient Butterfly

Yoga is one of the most efficient ways for swimmers to develop both the mobility and strength needed for a more efficient and faster butterfly.

Butterfly is a beautiful swimming stroke with incredible rhythm and flow, but many swimmers have a difficult time mastering it because they do not have the mobility and strength needed to swim the stroke efficiently.

The aspects that we will be addressing in this yoga for swimmers article are:

  • Core strength
  • Mobility in the shoulders, spine, hips and knees
  • Scapular awareness

When developing a yoga for swimmers practice that is specifically targeting the strength and mobility required for an efficient and effective butterfly stroke it is key that many involve synchronizing both sides of the body, which mimics the timing of the stroke.

Boat – This pose strengthens the core and the hip flexors


  • Start in a seated position with heels on the ground with your toes curled back towards your shins, your knees bent and your legs together
  • Lengthen the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head, bringing your chest forward and engaging your core
  • Place your hands at your sides with the palms facing the ceiling
  • Dependent on your core strength you can:
    • Stay in the position described above
    • Shift your weight onto your seat bringing your feet off of the ground
    • Bring the legs towards straight
    • Bring the arms straight with the fingers reaching towards your feet

Bow – This pose develops mobility in the shoulders, spine, hips and knees


  • Start by lying flat on your stomach
  • Place your ams on either side of your body with the palms facing the ceiling
  • On an inhale bend your knees bringing both heels towards your seat
  • Reach behind you and hold onto the left foot or ankle with your left hand and then the right foot or ankle with the right hand
  • Bring your knees and thighs as close together as possible
  • On an exhale kick your feet into your hands
  • On an inhale bring your chest and shoulders off of the ground
  • If you have the ROM to you can also lift your knees and thighs off of the ground

*Before performing this pose it is very important to warm up both the spine and shoulders

Scap Push Up – This movement develops scapular awareness and control


  • Come into this movement from a high pushup
  • Keep your spine long, core engaged and arms extended
  • On an inhale allow the upper body to sink towards the ground bringing the outside of the shoulder blades towards each other
  • On an exhale press strongly into the ground raising the upper body up and feeling your back pressing into the space between your shoulder blades


This Yoga for Swimmers article is brought to you by Swimming Specific Yoga the world’s top resource for online yoga classes and courses designed for swimmers.


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About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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