The Benefits of Swimming Backstroke

The backstroke is a great way to keep in physical shape. 

When you swim backstroke you are working your lats, chest, arms, legs, and core.

So, it is a great all body workout. 

Backstroke can also benefit freestyle swimmers, as it can help stretch out tight chest and shoulder muscles, and gives your shoulders a break from the repetitive action of freestyle. 

Backstroke is one of the three form strokes, so if you intend to swim it competitively, you need to be aware of the stroke rules.

Backstroke Rules

  • Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited. Bending the toes over the top of the touchpad is prohibited. 
  • At the signal for starting and after turning the swimmer shall push off and swim upon their back throughout the race except when executing a turn as set forth in rule 4. The normal position on the back can include a roll movement of the body up to, but not including 90 degrees from horizontal. The position of the head is not relevant.
  • Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race. It is permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and each turn. By that point the head must have broken the surface. 
  • When executing the turn there must be a touch of the wall with some part of the swimmer’s body in their respective lane. During the turn the shoulders may be turned over the vertical to the breast after which an immediate continuous single arm pull or immediate continuous simultaneous double arm pull may be used to initiate the turn. The swimmer must have returned to the position on the back upon leaving the wall. The swimmer who turns past the vertical and, in a continuous motion, touches the wall with any part of the body and leaves the wall on their back is deemed to have executed a legal turn. Kicking of the legs while on the breast is allowed provided it is part of the turning action. 
  • Upon the finish of the race the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back in their respective lane. If a swimmer applies to have one or more intermediate distances especially timed, they must complete that distance in accordance with this rule.

There are variations of these rules for swimmers who may not be able to comply with the above rules due to physical impairment.

You can read the full set of rules on the Masters Australia Website.

Put Your Backstroke to the Test

Why not join the Redcliffe Peninsula Masters Swimming Club.