Fast Backstroke Swim Technique

Your backstroke swim technique can be improved by several important drills. In this Swimisode, you will see world champion backstroker Junya Koga utilize one of our favorite techniques to increase your power with every stroke by learning to rotate the body quickly. Body rotation in backstroke, like in freestyle, is one of the best kept secrets for developing more power and speed. The energy that you will invest in this carefully timed rotation of the body, will serve you well by increasing your power during each pull. Junya shows you how to first rotate slowly, then later with more velocity and energy to produce a powerful backstroke technique.

Watching Junya swimming backstroke in the water is like seeing a ballet. His motions are so strong and well timed, yet so graceful. He carefully brings his shoulders out of the water, turning to his side as he recovers his arm over the water, preparing to snap the body quickly to the other side. Together with his strong kick, his fast body rotation and powerful recovery of his arms over the water lead to an amazing demonstration of backstroke speed. Practice the six kick, three stroke backstroke drill and you will see a big improvement in your backstroke speed.

6 Responses to Fast Backstroke Swim Technique

  1. Kalli


  2. Bill Paine

    Thanks for sharing much of your swim coaching tips etc. I love the fact that you make me ‘think’.

    I am looking at this backstroke drill and have a question. I looked at the video and noticed the pulling motion was they way I learned some 40 years ago. At one point the elbow drops and the hand moves from a ‘pulling’ motion to a ‘pushing’ motion at the back end of the pull. I thought the newer stroke was more closely related to a straight arm pull.

    Any thoughts on this ?

    Coach Bill
    Tech Masters @ MIT

    • garyhallsr

      Hi Bill,

      I see many backstrokers swim with too straight of an arm. Some even try to scoop the hand backwards with a deep pull, which is not an effective way to create much propulsion. Most don’t bend the arm enough because they don’t rotate the body enough and the straighter arm avoids catching air on the pull. The arm should be bent to a maximum of about 120-140 degrees and the straight arm pull should be avoided to cause less frontal drag and create more propulsion.

  3. Molifi Thobeha

    thank you very much of your contribution to the world of your video’s. they are much help full I use them a lot to my kids(girl’s 08-13) . the big one is doing well but battle a lot when it comes to back stroke. i see you talking about 120-140, i was always thinking that 90 degrees is the way to go? will appreciate if you can recommend books or sites to visit for more information. Molifi South africa

    • garyhallsr

      I have seen a few swimmers bend the elbows to 90 degrees, but not many. Most are closer to 120 degrees at maximum bend. The key is good body rotation and the feeling of pushing the water backward, rather than pulling the water. Please see our most recent aquanote.

  4. Tiemke Rijpstra

    Thanks so much for this brilliant drill. Wonderlik!


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