Backstroke, also known as back crawl, is the only main types of strokes in swimming where you are lying on your back with your face towards the sky. It is also considered to be one of the slower strokes, faster than breaststroke, but competitively can still be swum at high speeds. Swimming not only involves different strokes, but try out some new swimming exercises or swimming workouts for a change to your normal routine!

You might choose to take up swimming for fun or for fitness, either way it is a great activity that comes with many swimming benefits if you know the correct swimming technique. Our information on swimming for beginners is a great starting point for those who are less-experienced.

How to do backstroke?

This stroke is very similar to front crawl except the actions are all reversed to be on your back. With your body straight, lying on your back in the water, keep your head above the surface and your legs together. Gently kick, in the style of a flutter kick, and alternate bringing your arms out of the water. Your arm should start by your side, rise out of the water with your palm facing your body and then reach over your head and scoop back into the water.

Back Stroke Diagram

Backstroke Technique

If you are a more experienced swimmer and want to perfect your backstroke technique, then follow our tips to see the improvement!

  • There should be no strain on your neck – keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, at a normal height, there is no need to exert lots of energy keeping your head very high out of the water as this slows you down
  • Twist your palms – leaving the water your palms should face you body with your thumb exiting first, entering the water your palm should face out with your little finger entering first
  • Kick from the hips – keep your legs close together, try not to use your knees to kick as this creates more splash
  • Breathe! – create a consistent breathing pattern to increase speed

For further help, here are some backstroke drills that you can practise in the pool and view more swimming tips: