In this video we go back to the “lab” to test backstroke arm pull strength. Does using a bent arm provide a stronger pulling motion than a straight arm? Although we at The Race Club feel confident a bent arm pulling motion is stronger, we asked Israeli backstroker David Gamburg to help us prove it.

After testing both David’s straight and bent backstroke arm pull, we can confirm our original theory. The bent arm showed stronger results in all three of our measures when compared to the straight arm pull. David’s average velocity increased by three percent and his stroke rate by eight percent. Not only that, but his average peak acceleration increased by an impressive 43 percent!

For us, it makes perfect sense. Bending the elbow early allows swimmers to push water backwards for a long period of time. Using a straight arm pulling motion cuts down the amount of time water is being pushed back dramatically. Using this type of backstroke arm pull isn’t easy. It requires great shoulder rotation and most importantly, lots of practice.

You can find more videos on backstroke technique and drills below:

Backstroke – Head Position

Body Rotation Drill for Backstroke

Backstroke Pulling Motion – One Arm Drill