EVF is one of the most commonly referenced concepts in the technical swimming and coaching world, yet most are unsure what exactly Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) is. To learn more, check out this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday!

What is EVF (Early Vertical Forearm)?

To grip the maximum amount of water, it’s important to work on the pull phase of the stroke. By working on your pull, you can improve your overall stroke and efficiency in the water, swim faster, and reduce the chance of overuse injury. The goal is to position your forearm as close to vertical as early as possible in the catch phase of the stroke to grab the most water as early as possible. Rather than pulling straight down, it’s important to initiate the catch with the fingertips. By doing this, you will increase the surface area of your pull. Your forearm/arm has much more surface area than just your hand.

If you want to strengthen your pull, focusing on your catch is the best way to do it. Here are the steps to achieve the “Early Vertical Forearm” (EVF) technique!

  1. Entry
  2. Extension
  3. Fingertip Press
  4. High Elbow
  5. Early Vertical Forearm (EVF)

Training Tips

  • Practice this skill on land first
  • Drill: Catch-up
  • Drill: Fist Drill
  • Equipment: Fingertip paddles, small paddles, snorkel & pull buoy

Drill Progression

  • 2 x 25 Fist Drill
  • 2 x 25 Fist + Pointer Finger
  • 2 x 25 Fist + Pointer Finger + Middle Finger
  • 2 x 25 Fist + Pointer Finger + Middle Finger + Thumb
  • 2 x 25 Freestyle ‘Big Hands
  • 4 x 50 Freestyle ‘Swim with Paddles

For more technique tips and personalized Training Plans, download the MySwimPro app!



  1. This is the best explanation of E.V.F I have ever seen. including demonstrations, illustrations, exercises and text. perfect. i’m watching the film on a TV screen. feels real life. as if demonstrated just in front of me. thank you! wil practice tomorrow at the swimming pool. Very professional. very elaborate. very clear. very to the point. great to discover. I’m going immediately to check what else is there… 😉

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  3. Pingback: Back to the Pull: How to Master Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) - TriathlonWire

  4. Why in this video at the end you say your fingers should be closed but in another they should be slightly open. Is this just for practicing these specific drills?

    • Taylor Holmes on

      Hi Paul, Newer research has come out suggesting that open fingers are better for your catch and pull. In some of our newer videos, we have updated our guidance to reflect that! Try to keep a small space (5-10mm) between each finger!

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