The Best Swim Stroke for Fitness

Sure, it’s getting cold out there but people are still flocking to the indoor pools of gyms and community centers in an effort to get the best low impact cardio they can. Swimming is known as one of the best and healthiest full-body workouts you can get without a gym or workout equipment. But if you think all strokes give your body the same benefits of a solid workout, think again.

In traditional swimming, there are four strokes: Breast stroke, Back stroke, Butterfly, and Freestyle. Any guess which two are the best? I can tell you right away to cross breast stroke and back stroke off your list. These two forms of swimming don’t work the body as fully as the other do, and because of this, don’t offer the same levels of exertion or energy used. Essentially, they are the easier strokes.

Butterfly and Freestyle on the other hand are aquatic powerhouses for getting fit. Both moves use 48 muscles in your body, yes… 48! This means that you are working your body almost literally head to toe and positively training your muscles without impact or intense resistance that can damage joints and ligaments.

What’s the difference?

Freestyle offers the most widely used option of the two. Why? In simplest terms, because it is easier. Don’t get me wrong, freestyle swimming will give you a great workout! However, when compared to butterfly, it takes a slightly easier route. Freestyle works as a reciprocal motion, meaning that your muscles are pushing and pulling, so as one side moves and is activated, the other side rests.

Butterfly is the hardcore butt-kicking workout that will have you sweating even in water! In this stroke, unlike freestyle, you use all your muscles together, first to push, then to pull, with no time to recover. Essentially, your muscles are activated the whole time with no rest. And with the same time between breaths as freestyle, but more exertion for each stroke, Butterfly forces you lungs and heart to work harder to oxygenate your blood.

Both freestyle and butterfly are great options in the pool. If you want to have a great workout and are more comfortable with freestyle, get on it and enjoy. However, if you want to push yourself that much further and really put it all on the table… Butterfly is always there waiting for you!

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