A study published by Harvard Medical School found that people burn 180 to 252 calories in 30 minutes of swimming.

If you swam for an hour a day for five days a week, that’s an average of 2,880 calories!

How much difference would learning some easy swimming strokes and burning that kind of energy do for your workout routine? No matter what goals you’re chasing, knowing how to swim the right way can take you far. Read this article to the end, and you’ll have all the basics you need to get started.


There are several good reasons why people learning how to swim often encounter this technique first. No other stroke can compete with how efficiently this moves a person through the water. 

Additionally, a front crawl swim can burn a significant amount of calories for each hour of exercise. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor pool, you’ll want to master this style first. 

How to Swim Using Freestyle

This swimming style happens face-down and in a horizontal position in the water. You will alternate extending each arm to sweep the water towards your hips. Meanwhile, a swimmer kicks their feet up-and-down rapidly to propel themselves forward.

When first starting, you may find yourself taking breaths on the dominant side of your body. For example, when you extend your right arm, you’ll take a breath by leaning your head to the left and above the water. When you can fit in more strokes between each break for air, you’ll find yourself moving much faster. 


Using a freestyle stroke allows you to get the most bang for your buck. Each movement should be as efficient as possible, which is one of the reasons why it’s an essential swimming technique to learn. 


Speed may not necessarily be your primary goal, and it’s easy to learn this style and stick with it because it’s familiar. Additionally, some strokes are even less strenuous and could keep you swimming for longer. 


The breaststroke takes a little more finesse, but it’s an essential technique nonetheless. If you plan to swim longer distances, this may keep you from getting tired halfway through. It’s common to see triathletes or Olympic participants competing in long-distance events using this type of stroke. 

How to Swim Using the Breaststroke

You will start in a horizontal position and face down for the breaststroke, much like a freestyle starting position. However, you’re going to keep yourself at more symmetrical angles while you swim.

You will use your arms to pull water behind you and lift out of the water to breathe. Meanwhile, your legs will move in what’s known as a frog kick that involves moving your legs in a circular pattern. It can take a little while to feel comfortable, but you’ll understand the advantages when that happens. 


Learning how to time your breathing can be intimidating when learning to swim. The breaststroke keeps you above the water with each cycle, so it can be more comfortable for beginners that take to it early. 


You won’t burn as many calories because the breaststroke is not as high intensity as other swimming styles. However, if you’re more concerned about the length of time in the water, this technique may work nicely. 


You can think of the backstroke as an inverted version of swimming freestyle. This type of swimming also works on different muscle groups if you’re looking to hit various areas of your body. 

As a bonus, your face remains above the water for this basic swimming stroke. Therefore, your breathing doesn’t have to coordinate as much with your movements. 

How to Swim Using the Backstroke

As the name suggests, you swim the backstroke by lying on your back in the water. You will kick your feet in rapid succession as you do with freestyle. Meanwhile, your arms alternate extending beyond your head and coming back in a semi-circle to displace the water around you.

As you move, you’ll find your body pulling from one side to the other as your arms move underwater. You’ll want to keep this movement as tight as possible while keeping your head in a neutral position above the waterline. 


You will find yourself using your shoulders, back, and glutes even more than with other techniques. If these are areas of concern for your goals, adding this to the repertoire will support those endeavors.  


Novice swimmers can find it hard to find the right balance while swimming on their back. As a result, you can find yourself with water in your nose a few times before you get the hang of it. 


The butterfly makes you look like a master swimmer, but it can also be troublesome to execute. Out of all the basic swimming strokes, this one will require the most coordination. According to swimming.org, this technique started in the 1930s as an alternate way to swim the breaststroke. 

How to Swim Using the Butterfly Technique

You will start with your body horizontal with your face pointed toward the bottom of the pool. Unlike the flutter kick in other styles, your legs will move in what’s known as a dolphin kick. This motion moves in concert with more complicated hand movements.

Your arms swipe through the water in a way that creates an hourglass shape. The force of this motion lifts your head above the water while hands sweep water behind and propel you forward. 


Out of all of the swimming techniques in this article, the butterfly stroke likely burns the most calories. Since most of your body engages in such powerful movements, this can lead to intense workouts. 


This swimming technique is one of the most difficult because it has complicated movements. Additionally, it can take a significant amount of strength and rhythm to master it properly. 

Want to Learn More Swimming Strokes?

Now that you know about some basic swimming strokes, where do you go from here? Now is the time to dive in and practice! You also may consider hiring a swimming instructor from a local pool. 

Do you want to put your own pool onto your property to practice? Sahara Construction & Custom Pools is here to help homeowners in the Houston area. Contact us through our website or call 713-634-9490 today!