Swimming Styles and Their Benefits

Learn about the special characteristics of every swimming style and their benefits when you practice them. It's fun and is the perfect sport to disconnect from everything while you're in the water.
Swimming Styles and Their Benefits

Last update: 14 November, 2019

Swimming is a very complete sport, besides being good for our health and advisable for many ailments. This sport has multiple swimming styles and their benefits can be found in all its styles: front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

Multiple swimming styles and their benefits

Front Crawl

This is the most popular of the multiple swimming styles, it originated in Australia. In competitions, it’s known as freestyle.

To practice a good front crawl, the objective is to achieve a good prone position advancing by moving your arms in an alternate way, similar to a windmills’ blades. Moreover, you need to breathe while you’re on your side and kicking your legs.

front crawl swimming style

Swimming is one of the most recommended sports for people with back problems.

Backstroke is one of the multiple swimming styles with many benefits

This style is known as “back crawl”. Its main characteristic is that you swim backward on your back, besides its particular shoulder swing. Leg movements in backstroke are known as backbeat or dorsal beat. Backstroke is the most recommended of the multiple swimming styles for older people who have back, neck or spinal cord issues. It’s the third fastest swimming style.

backstroke swimming style

Breaststroke: a swimming style with many benefits

As we have said before, this is the slowest out of the multiple swimming styles. The benefits are found in the distinctive characteristic of how the arms and legs push: arms and legs split the thrust evenly.

Swimming in a prone position, the swimmer alternates arm strokes and leg strokes. Shoulders and hips perform an up and down movement, added to the coordinated arm stroke.

woman swimming breaststroke


Butterfly style is the most modern of all. It’s a variation of the breaststroke, with one of its special characteristics being a constant movement of the whole body, forming an “S”.  In order to achieve a stronger thrust in the water, arms and legs must be perfectly coordinated.

woman swimming butterfly

Benefits of multiple swimming styles

Burning fat

Swimming is a good exercise for people who have weight loss among their goals, depending on the intensity and the swimming style, you can burn between 500 to 600 calories per hour.

Cardiorespiratory benefits

The heart can increase blood circulation by up to 18 percent since swimming improves oxygen consumption. This decreases heart rate, while increasing cardiorespiratory endurance.

Improve chronic diseases

When you practice a low intensity aerobic exercise during longer sessions, you decrease blood sugar levels, This makes your body more sensitive to insulin and decreases blood sugar levels (diabetes).

Increased flexibility and elasticity

When we swim we use most of our body muscles, (upper and lower body), besides the torso and head. This is the reason why our joints’ flexibility is increased. Muscles become stronger and more toned, especially our back muscles. This makes it a recommended exercise for people who suffer from hernias, lumbago and hip problems.

man with back pain swimming styles

Low impact on bones and joints

When we submerge our bodies into the water for sporting purposes, we weigh less. The body doesn’t impact the ground or hard surfaces as with many other sports. In this instance, your joints suffer less wear.

Swimming, in any of its styles, is definitely recommended. It provides us with health benefits and helps to lower our stress levels.

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