If you’re getting into swimming, you should know that two of the most popular swimming strokes are the butterfly and the breaststroke.
While both strokes are effective for improving cardiovascular health, they differ in terms of technique, speed, and difficulty.
The butterfly stroke is a challenging and demanding stroke that requires a high level of athleticism and strength.
It involves a dolphin kick and a simultaneous arm movement, which propels the swimmer through the water.
The breaststroke, on the other hand, is a slower and more relaxed stroke that is often used for endurance swimming.
It involves a whip kick and a simultaneous arm movement, which helps the swimmer move through the water in a smooth and efficient manner.
Understanding the differences between the butterfly and breaststroke can help swimmers choose the right stroke for their fitness goals.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced swimmer, it is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of each stroke.
So, let’s take a moment to learn more about each of these.
Swimming Strokes Overview
Here’s a quick look at these two popular types of swimming strokes.
Butterfly Stroke Overview
The butterfly stroke is one of the most challenging swimming strokes, and it requires a lot of strength and endurance.
It is also the fastest stroke when measured by peak speed.
Swimmers perform two kicks per arm cycle, and the stroke features a two-arm recovery.
The butterfly stroke is a symmetrical stroke, meaning both arms move simultaneously.
The stroke is performed face down in the water, and the swimmer must keep their hips high in the water to reduce drag.
The dolphin kick is a crucial part of the butterfly stroke, and it requires hip strength to help propel the body through the water.
The breaststroke is another popular form of swimming. It is appealing to beginners because one’s head is out of the water a larger percentage of the time.
The stroke requires you to move your arms in half-circular movements while the legs whip kick.
Some describe this motion as a frog-like swimming stroke.
The hardest part of the breaststroke is turning the feet outwards for effective propulsion.
The breaststroke is a symmetrical stroke, meaning both arms move simultaneously.
Swimmers perform one kick per arm cycle, and the stroke features a one-arm recovery.
The breaststroke is a slower stroke than the butterfly, but it is still an effective stroke for endurance swimming.
How To Do The Butterfly
Butterfly is a challenging stroke that requires a lot of core and upper body strength.
Here are the steps to perform the butterfly stroke:
- Start by pushing off the wall with both hands and feet, and then extend your arms forward above your head.
- Sweep both arms downward and outward simultaneously, keeping them straight and close to your sides.
- As your arms reach your hips, begin the dolphin kick by pressing down with your chest and hips to lift your legs and feet up towards the surface of the water.
- Bring your legs together as they reach the surface of the water and then forcefully kick them downward to propel yourself forward.
- As your arms reach the end of their outward sweep, begin to recover them by bringing them up and out of the water.
- As your arms recover, begin the next stroke by sweeping them down and outward again.
It is important to keep your head down and your eyes looking forward during the stroke, as lifting your head too soon can cause your hips and legs to sink.
And it is important that you maintain a steady and consistent rhythm throughout the stroke to ensure maximum efficiency and speed.
It may take some time and practice to master the butterfly stroke, but with dedication and persistence, anyone can improve their technique and become a proficient butterfly swimmer.
How To Do The Breaststroke
The breaststroke is a swimming stroke that requires coordination and proper technique to execute correctly.
Here are the steps to performing the breaststroke:
- Start in the streamline position: Begin by standing in the water with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, with your palms facing down and your fingers together. Your head should be in line with your spine, and your body should be straight and streamlined.
- Take a breath: Inhale deeply, and hold your breath as you prepare to begin the stroke.
- Perform the arm stroke: Pull your arms back towards your chest in a circular motion, keeping your elbows close to your sides. As your hands reach your chest, turn your palms outwards and push them forward, extending your arms back to the streamline position.
- Perform the leg kick: As you extend your arms forward, bend your knees and bring your heels up towards your buttocks. Then, kick your legs outwards and backwards, keeping your knees close together and your feet pointed outwards.
- Take a breath: Once you have completed the arm stroke and leg kick, lift your head out of the water and take a quick breath before returning your face to the water.
- Repeat: Continue to perform the breaststroke by repeating steps 3-5.
It is important to keep your movements smooth and fluid when performing the breaststroke.
Avoid making jerky or abrupt movements in the water, which can slow you down and cause you to lose momentum.
And make sure to keep your head in line with your spine and your body straight and streamlined throughout the stroke.
With practice and proper technique, you can improve your breaststroke and become a more efficient swimmer.
Differences Between Butterfly and Breaststroke
Here’s a quick look at the differences between these popular swimming strokes.
Arm Movements Comparison
The arm movements in butterfly and breaststroke are quite different.
In butterfly, the arms are brought over the head and down into the water in a circular motion, while in breaststroke, the arms are brought down and then out to the sides before coming back together in front of the body.
Additionally, in butterfly, the arms are lifted out of the water during the recovery phase, while in breaststroke, the arms remain underwater throughout the entire stroke.
Leg Movements Comparison
The leg movements in butterfly and breaststroke are also quite different.
In butterfly, the legs move together in a dolphin kick, while in breaststroke, the legs move in a frog kick.
The dolphin kick is more powerful and propels the swimmer through the water faster, but it also requires more energy and is more difficult to master than the frog kick.
Breathing Techniques Comparison
The breathing techniques in butterfly and breaststroke are different as well.
In butterfly, the swimmer takes a breath by lifting the head out of the water during the recovery phase of the arms, while in breaststroke, the swimmer takes a breath by lifting the head out of the water during the glide phase of the stroke.
Additionally, in butterfly, the swimmer takes fewer breaths because the stroke is more demanding and requires more energy, while in breaststroke, the swimmer takes more frequent breaths because the stroke is less demanding.
Overall, while both butterfly and breaststroke are challenging and require a lot of practice to master, they are quite different strokes that require different techniques and skills.
Which Stroke to Choose?
When deciding between the butterfly and breaststroke, it is important to consider your personal goals and physical abilities.
Both strokes have their advantages and disadvantages.
The butterfly stroke is a powerful and efficient stroke that generates a great deal of speed and power with each stroke.
It requires a high level of strength, coordination, and endurance, making it an effective stroke for developing these physical qualities. However, it is also a very demanding stroke that can be difficult to master.
It requires a lot of energy to pull it off and can burn around 800 calories per hour for an individual weighing 155 pounds.
The breaststroke, on the other hand, is a slower stroke that is easier to learn and requires less energy.
It is a great stroke for beginners and those who want to focus on endurance rather than speed.
It also offers several health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health and increased upper body strength.
However, it can put a lot of strain on the knees and hips, so it may not be the best choice for those with joint problems.
Ultimately, the choice between the butterfly and breaststroke comes down to personal preference and fitness goals.
If you are looking to improve your speed and power, the butterfly stroke may be the better choice.
If you are a beginner or looking to improve your endurance, the breaststroke may be a better option.
It is important to consult with a coach or trainer to determine which stroke is best suited for your individual needs.
Both butterfly and breaststroke are popular swimming strokes that require different techniques and strengths.
While butterfly is faster and more physically demanding, breaststroke is a great option for beginners or those looking for a low-impact workout.
Swimmers who want to improve their overall technique and strength should consider incorporating both strokes into their training regimen.
Learning the proper form and technique for each stroke can help swimmers become more well-rounded and efficient in the water.
Ultimately, the choice between butterfly and breaststroke comes down to personal preference and fitness goals.
Whether you are looking to improve your speed, endurance, or overall fitness, there is a swimming stroke that can help you achieve your goals.