What are the Proper Body Movements in Freestyle Swimming?

Are you looking to take your freestyle swimming to the next level? Then you need to master the proper body movements. Freestyle swimming is not just about getting your arms and legs to move in a coordinated manner, it’s also about being in sync with your body. The right body movements can help you glide through the water with ease and grace, while the wrong ones can leave you feeling tired and struggling to keep up. In this article, we will explore the five proper body movements in freestyle swimming that will help you swim like a pro. From body positioning to arm movements, we’ll cover it all. So, get ready to take notes and start perfecting your freestyle technique today!

Quick Answer:
Proper body movements in freestyle swimming include a flutter kick, a scissor kick, and a dolphin kick. The flutter kick involves alternating movements of the legs, while the scissor kick involves a more rhythmic movement of the legs. The dolphin kick is a powerful upward kick used to gain speed and height. Additionally, proper body positioning is important, with the head and shoulders floating above the water and the hips and legs below. It’s also important to maintain a steady breathing pattern and use the entire body to propel through the water. Overall, proper body movements in freestyle swimming require practice and coordination to master.

Understanding Freestyle Swimming

History of Freestyle Swimming

Freestyle swimming, also known as the front crawl, is one of the most popular swimming styles in the world. It was first introduced in the late 19th century and has since become a staple of competitive swimming.

One of the earliest recorded freestyle swimming competitions took place in 1888 at a swimming festival in Germany. The event was won by an American swimmer named John Arthur Trudy, who set a new world record in the process. Trudy’s victory helped to popularize the freestyle swimming style in the United States, where it quickly became the dominant swimming style.

In the early 20th century, freestyle swimming began to be formalized and standardized. The first set of official rules for the event were introduced in 1908, and the first world championships were held in 1912. Since then, freestyle swimming has continued to evolve and grow in popularity, with new techniques and strategies being developed all the time.

Today, freestyle swimming is a core discipline in the Olympic Games, and some of the most successful swimmers in history have been freestyle specialists. Whether you’re a competitive swimmer or just enjoy swimming for fitness or recreation, understanding the proper body movements in freestyle swimming is essential for maximizing your performance and minimizing your risk of injury.

Differences between Freestyle and Other Strokes

Freestyle swimming is a type of swimming stroke that is characterized by its rhythmic and flowing motion. It is often referred to as the “front crawl” and is the fastest of all the swimming strokes.

While freestyle swimming shares some similarities with other swimming strokes, such as backstroke and breaststroke, there are also several key differences that set it apart.

One of the main differences between freestyle and other strokes is the way the body is positioned in the water. In freestyle, the body is generally more upright and the head is positioned above the water, while in backstroke, the body is lying on its back and the head is submerged.

Another difference is the arm movement. In freestyle, the arms are swept forward and backward in a windmill motion, while in breaststroke, the arms are brought out to the side and pulled in towards the body.

Additionally, the leg movement is different in freestyle and other strokes. In freestyle, the legs are kicked straight back and forth, while in backstroke, they are scissored or fluttered.

Lastly, the breathing technique is different in freestyle and other strokes. In freestyle, the head is turned to the side to breathe, while in backstroke, the head is turned to the opposite side.

Overall, while there are some similarities between freestyle and other swimming strokes, there are also several key differences that set it apart and make it unique.

The Five Proper Body Movements in Freestyle Swimming

Head Position and Body Alignment

Importance of a Straight Back

A straight back is essential in freestyle swimming because it allows for more efficient movements and reduces the risk of injury. A bent back can cause tension in the muscles and make it difficult to maintain a proper stroke. It’s important to keep the back straight and aligned with the body throughout the entire swim.

Aligning the Body for Efficiency

In addition to a straight back, proper body alignment is crucial for efficient swimming. The body should be positioned horizontally in the water, with the head, shoulders, hips, and heels all in a straight line. This alignment allows for a more streamlined shape, reducing drag and making it easier to move through the water.

Proper body alignment also includes keeping the shoulders down and away from the ears, which helps to prevent tension in the neck and shoulders. The chin should be tucked slightly to avoid lifting the head out of the water, which can also create drag.

It’s important to practice good posture and alignment both in and out of the water. Swimmers can use a mirror or video footage to assess their body position and make adjustments as needed. By maintaining proper body alignment, swimmers can reduce drag, increase speed, and prevent injury.

Arm Movement

Six-Beat Kick

In freestyle swimming, the six-beat kick is a crucial element that contributes to the overall propulsion of the swimmer. It involves a series of movements where the legs alternate between a “kicking” and “gliding” phase. The kicking phase involves a forceful downward motion of the legs, while the gliding phase allows the legs to move in a smooth and streamlined manner. To master the six-beat kick, it is important to focus on the coordination between the legs and the arms, as well as the proper alignment of the body in the water.

Propulsion with the Palm

In freestyle swimming, the arm movement plays a critical role in generating speed and power. One of the most important techniques is the propulsion with the palm, which involves a specific hand position that maximizes the thrust generated by each stroke. To perform this technique, the swimmer should extend their arm fully and place their palm flat on the water, with the fingers pointing towards the bottom of the pool. As the arm moves through the water, the palm should maintain a consistent pressure, while the wrist and forearm provide the necessary flexibility to generate a smooth and powerful propulsion. Additionally, it is important to keep the elbow close to the body and the shoulder relaxed to avoid any unnecessary resistance in the water.

Leg Movement

Dolphin Kick

  • The dolphin kick is a powerful underwater movement that propels the swimmer forward
  • It involves the simultaneous movement of both legs, gliding through the water with the foot pointing downwards
  • The movement should be smooth and continuous, with the knees and ankles flexing and extending in a rhythmic motion
  • The hands should also be moving through the water, pulling towards the body to add to the overall propulsion

Body Position for Propulsion

  • In addition to the dolphin kick, proper body positioning is crucial for efficient propulsion in freestyle swimming
  • The body should be streamlined and aligned with the long axis of the pool
  • The head should be in a neutral position, with the ears aligned with the shoulders
  • The hips and legs should be bent, with the knees pointing towards the floor of the pool
  • The hands should be extended towards the front of the body, with the palms facing down
  • This body position allows for maximum water contact and reduces drag, resulting in increased speed and efficiency.

Breathing Technique

Breathing technique is a crucial aspect of freestyle swimming as it helps in maintaining the rhythm and pace of the swimmer. Here are some important points to consider when it comes to breathing technique in freestyle swimming:

Timing Breaths

The timing of breaths is critical in freestyle swimming. Swimmers should aim to breathe every two or three strokes, so that they can maintain a consistent rhythm and avoid taking in too much water while swimming. This technique is known as “bilateral breathing,” which means breathing on both sides of the body.

Breathing Patterns

Swimmers should also pay attention to their breathing patterns while swimming. Breathing deeply and consistently is important to ensure that the swimmer is getting enough oxygen. Swimmers should try to breathe in through their mouth and out through their nose, as this helps to regulate the flow of air into the lungs.

It is also important to note that swimmers should not hold their breath while swimming. Holding one’s breath can cause the body to tense up, which can negatively affect the swimmer’s stroke and overall performance.

In addition, swimmers should avoid taking quick, shallow breaths as this can lead to hyperventilation and dizziness. Instead, swimmers should aim to take slow, deep breaths to ensure that they are getting enough oxygen.

Overall, proper breathing technique is essential for maintaining a consistent rhythm and pace while swimming the freestyle stroke. By paying attention to timing, breathing patterns, and avoiding common mistakes such as holding one’s breath, swimmers can improve their overall performance and endurance in the water.

Timing and Rhythm

Importance of Timing

In freestyle swimming, timing is crucial for achieving optimal efficiency and speed. It refers to the synchronization of movements between the arms and legs during the stroke cycle. Proper timing allows the swimmer to maximize the power generated by each movement and minimize resistance in the water. A well-timed stroke can significantly reduce the amount of energy required to swim, leading to better overall performance.

Synchronizing Arm and Leg Movements

The arms and legs should move in harmony to maintain a consistent rhythm and generate maximum power. Synchronization ensures that the swimmer’s body is positioned effectively in the water, reducing drag and turbulence. The key to synchronization lies in coordinating the movement of the arms and legs so that they both reach their maximum extension simultaneously.

Swimmers should focus on matching the movements of their arms and legs, so they complete their full range of motion at the same time. This coordination is crucial for achieving the most efficient propulsion through the water. By synchronizing arm and leg movements, swimmers can create a powerful and balanced freestyle stroke, leading to improved speed and endurance.

Improving Your Freestyle Technique

Improving your freestyle technique requires consistent practice, seeking feedback, and utilizing video analysis tools.

Practice and Repetition

Practice is essential to improve your freestyle technique. Repetition helps to ingrain the proper movements into your muscle memory, making it easier to perform them automatically during a swim. Consistent practice also helps to build strength and endurance, which are crucial for swimming long distances.

Seeking Feedback

Seeking feedback from a coach or experienced swimmer can help you identify areas of your technique that need improvement. They can provide personalized advice and demonstrate correct movements, which can be difficult to discern on your own. Additionally, seeking feedback can help you identify any bad habits you may have developed and work to correct them.

Video Analysis Tools

Video analysis tools can be a valuable resource for improving your freestyle technique. These tools allow you to record yourself swimming and view the footage in slow motion, frame by frame. This provides a detailed look at your technique, allowing you to identify areas that need improvement and make adjustments. Many video analysis tools also offer objective data, such as stroke count and body position, which can help you track your progress and identify areas for improvement.

In conclusion, improving your freestyle technique requires consistent practice, seeking feedback, and utilizing video analysis tools. By focusing on these areas, you can refine your technique and become a more efficient and effective swimmer.

Joining a Swim Club or Training Group

Benefits of Group Training

Joining a swim club or training group can offer numerous benefits for freestyle swimmers. One of the primary advantages is the opportunity to practice with others who are at a similar skill level. This can help to improve your technique and provide a more challenging workout. Additionally, training with others can be more motivating and enjoyable than swimming alone.

Finding the Right Training Group

When looking for a swim club or training group, it’s essential to find one that fits your needs and goals. Consider factors such as the group’s size, skill level, and training style. You may also want to look for a group that offers regular feedback and guidance from experienced coaches. It’s also a good idea to observe a few practices before committing to a group to ensure that it’s a good fit.


In conclusion, joining a swim club or training group can be a valuable addition to your freestyle swimming routine. Not only can it provide a more challenging and enjoyable workout, but it can also offer the opportunity to receive feedback and guidance from experienced coaches. When looking for a group, be sure to consider factors such as size, skill level, and training style to ensure that it’s a good fit for your needs and goals.


1. What are the five proper body movements in freestyle swimming?

The five proper body movements in freestyle swimming are:
1. Rotation: This involves rolling your body from side to side while swimming.
2. Progression: This refers to moving your hands and feet simultaneously to generate thrust.
3. Synchronization: This means keeping your hands and feet moving at the same time in a smooth, coordinated motion.
4. Streamlining: This involves keeping your body in a straight line and reducing drag by tucking in your elbows and knees.
5. Balance: This means maintaining your body position and orientation in the water, so that you can swim efficiently and effectively.

2. What is the importance of proper body movements in freestyle swimming?

Proper body movements in freestyle swimming are essential for maximizing speed and efficiency. If your body movements are not efficient, you will waste energy and create drag, which will slow you down. Additionally, improper body movements can lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort, making it harder to maintain your speed and endurance.

3. How can I improve my body movements in freestyle swimming?

To improve your body movements in freestyle swimming, start by focusing on each movement individually and practicing it in isolation. Once you have mastered each movement, start putting them together in a coordinated and smooth motion. It is also important to maintain good posture and alignment, and to keep your body in a streamlined position as much as possible. Finally, practice regularly and seek feedback from a coach or experienced swimmer to help you identify areas for improvement.

4. What are some common mistakes to avoid in freestyle swimming?

Some common mistakes to avoid in freestyle swimming include:
1. Rolling your body too much: Over-rolling can create drag and slow you down.
2. Pulling your arms too far forward: This can create tension in your shoulders and neck, and can slow you down.
3. Pushing your legs too hard: This can lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort, and can slow you down.
4. Lifting your head too high: This can disrupt your balance and streamlining, and can slow you down.
5. Not maintaining a consistent rhythm: If your stroke is too slow or too fast, it can disrupt your balance and streamlining, and can slow you down.

5. How can I maintain good posture and alignment in freestyle swimming?

To maintain good posture and alignment in freestyle swimming, focus on the following:
1. Keep your spine straight: Imagine there is a string attached to the crown of your head, pulling you up towards the surface.
2. Tuck in your chin: Keep your chin tucked in to prevent your head from lifting too high.
3. Relax your shoulders: Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, avoiding shrugging or hunching.
4. Align your hips and legs: Keep your hips and legs aligned with your spine, avoiding twisting or bending too much.
5. Maintain a steady breathing pattern: Breathe naturally and steadily, avoiding holding your breath or taking quick, shallow breaths.

How to swim: Freestyle Hand Entry

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