Other Swimming Strokes For Triathlon | Add Butterfly, Backstroke & Breaststroke To Your Tri Plan!


– Let’s face it, freestyle is
the obvious stroke of choice for virtually every triathlete
when we enter a race, and therefore it tends to also be the obvious stroke of choice
during our swim training too. However, there are three
other strokes available to you as an alternative option during your swimming training with some great advantages to them, so today I thought we’d discuss why you should consider including them into your triathlon training, and how you go about doing that. (digital swoosh) Okay, so what are these other strokes that I’m talking about. Well in order of their relative usefulness to us as triathletes,
in my opinion we have, backstroke, breaststroke
and then butterfly. However if you are
still learning the ropes with the freestyle technique
and getting the hang of it, I would suggest that you
focus all your attention and energy on mastering
that technique first, however if you are pretty
happy with your technique and feel for the water
with the freestyle stroke, then by all means feel
free to mix things up, start including these other strokes to add a little bit more
variety to your swimming and enjoyment in the water. (relaxed upbeat music) Now you may have heard of
the term individual medley and this is when all four strokes are swum in equal measures
one after the other. We start off with butterfly,
then into backstroke, breaststroke, and then
finishing off with freestyle. Now of all the four strokes, it’s probably that first one, butterfly, that you can need to
worry about the least. I say that, I do include
butterfly into my own training ’cause it can help to add some
strength to your swimming, but it is probably the stroke that is the most technically demanding in terms of trying to get to grips with, and also can be quite
physically demanding, whereas backstroke and breaststroke are far easier to get the hang of, and very easy to start including in your workouts and adding that variety, amongst having loads of
other benefits to them. One of which is injury prevention, see for a lot of triathletes, swimming tends to be the discipline they’ve come to later in life, or maybe it’s just
their weaker discipline, and therefore the possibility of getting an overuse injury from
diving in, quite literally, to swimming too much,
too soon, is much higher. See, that repetitive movement of spinning the arms over with freestyle can exert quite a lot of
pressure on the shoulders, and obviously that is magnified with a flawed or poor technique, so this is where those
alternative strokes come in to save the day. (upbeat music) So backstroke is probably
the obvious place to start, I tend to refer to it as if
you’re unwinding your arms, it’s the opposite motion
from the freestyle stroke, so it really helps to
relax those shoulders. But the benefits don’t stop there because it is a fairly
fast stroke to perform, you’re able to cover quite
good distances with it, so we can keep that aerobic fitness up all whilst can be a bit of a break from staring at the bottom of the pool and maybe just from the freestyle stroke, if you are having to focus
on certain technical aspects with your freestyle technique. Breaststroke on the other hand is really quite a different
movement and motion, so what what I normally suggest is you really ease yourself into it, try and keep the movements quite small, try and keep the kick a little bit more narrower than normal, particularly if you’re new
to performing breaststroke or you haven’t performed
it in quite a long time because what you find is some
muscles can be quite tight, particularly the adductors,
and you can strain them. But on the other hand, that can actually help with just improving some flexibility and actually getting that motion and range in some of the joints which we
don’t normally move them in. Then we have butterfly
as I mentioned before, it’s probably not a stroke you’re
going to be jumping at doing, but it is a stroke that
I quite like doing, just small bursts during
the winter, the off season, perhaps just half a length at a time, and that can really help to add a little bit more
strength to your swimming. (upbeat music) Okay, so how can you start incorporating these other strokes
into your own training? Well the obvious, and probably the easiest
place to start doing it, is in your warm-ups, your warm-downs, and your recovery reps, now that’s going to start adding some really nice variety to the training. As I mentioned before, breaststroke is totally different from freestyle in the movement, so I actually really like to
include it in the cool down, just to give me a break from freestyle, having done that for the whole session, or most of the session, and really start to stretch things out. And if you are starting
to do some longer reps, 300, 400, 500 meters and so on, then actually why not think
about doing 75 meters freestyle, followed by 25 meters backstroke, and keep repeating that over. Again, that’s just
going to break things up really nicely for you, but if backstroke is fairly hard you, you can always think of
it as a fartlek effort, so you’re doing 75
meters front crawl, easy, followed by 25 meters backstroke
at quite a hard intensity. Or if you like, why not use breaststroke
instead of backstroke, or you can alternate between
the two during the same rep. Now, if you are feeling really cheeky, you really want to tough workout here, then why not include
some individual medley, or IM as I mentioned earlier. I probably suggest doing
some short reps here, so you can do a little
set of individual medley, something like 4 x 100 IM, take a nice recovery
between each of those 100s, and that can really start
to add a bit of strength, particularly over the off season. All right, and to finish things off here, we’ve got a rather fun one because I’m going to amalgamate
backstroke and breaststroke into a stroke that we like to
call Old English Backstroke in the UK. It’s essentially a double-arm
backstroke on our back, but with a breaststroke leg kick. I know, it sounds quite weird, but it’s something all
three of us here on duty, and quite like to include
in our recovery reps and our warm-downs, because we’re moving in
a totally different way and it’s quite a nice peaceful stroke, so just quite nice to
stretch that body out, having done freestyle
for most of the session. Now if you have enjoyed today’s video, do make sure you hit
that thumbs up button, if you’d like to see more from GTN, do click on the globe and subscribe. Let’s not forget that
we do love freestyle, and we do love swimming, but doing it lap after lap, it can get a little bit
monotonous and boring, so we hope you are going to get involved and start using some other
strokes in your own training. If you’d like some help with that, we have got some upcoming videos, we got, How To Swim Backstroke, and, How To Swim Butterfly coming soon. If you’d like to see our, How
To Swim Breaststroke video, and all the technique behind that, you can see that video
by clicking down here. And if you’d like a
little bit of a catch-up on how to swim freestyle, then you can see that
by clicking down here.

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