When you go to the pool, do you just swim back and forth continuously? Do you only know how to swim freestyle or the front crawl? If so, this isn’t helping you swim faster. So, we want to help you!

In this video, we’re sharing the 5 reasons why you should swim all 4 strokes every time that you are in the water.

We’ll talk about what the 4 strokes are, how you can get started, and show an example beginner swim workout that incorporates everything we discussed in the pool.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Swim More Than Freestyle

1 – Improves Your Feel Of The Water

By mixing up your stroke, or focusing on a kick or technique drill, you will feel more comfortable in the water and it will improve your body positioning, breathing skills, and your pull.

Related: Most Common Mistakes Beginner Swimmers Make

2 – Improves Your Freestyle

When you focus on your non-dominant strokes, such as breaststroke or backstroke – you are working new muscles that engage different parts of your body. This helps you get stronger!

This strength training in different muscles actually really helps your freestyle stroke. So it’s a win-win for all your strokes!

The 4 Strokes:

  1. Freestyle
  2. Backstroke
  3. Butterfly
  4. Breaststroke

Related: How To Swim Breaststroke With Perfect Technique

3 – Improves Endurance & Burns More Calories

By swimming new strokes and awakening new muscle groups, you will get a great full-body workout every time you swim. This endurance work will increase your heart rate, improve your aerobic capacity and burn more calories.

The new strokes will force you to focus on different areas of your body, so you can train muscles like your hip flexors, abs, glutes, lats and hamstrings.

These new exercises will definitely help you feel more stronger and comfortable in the water.

Related: 10 Health Benefits of Swimming

4 – Prevents Injury

When you swim freestyle back and forth continuously, you might be at a higher risk for a shoulder injury. All that repetitive motion builds up and could cause some serious rotation issues.

If you mix up your workout with breaststroke, backstroke, and kicking drills you will give your shoulders a rest and break up that repetitive motion. These new strokes will help you build strength in your shoulder stability, and balance.

We also highly recommend incorporating strength training outside of the pool, also known as Dryland Training in swimming terms. Here are some ideas.

5 – It’s More Fun!

We all know that swimming continuous freestyle back and forth for a long time can get really boring.

Switch things up! Try new exercises, and your workouts will be much more interesting because you will engage your body and your mind at the same time, while mastering a new skill. We promise you, it will make your swim training a whole lot more fun!

Related: 5 Drills For Beginners

How To Get Started

We recommend switching 10-20% of your workout to a new stroke or drill that is not freestyle. When you start, try to swim just 25-50 yards or meters in a new stroke. You can try backstroke, breaststroke, or sidestroke. We recommend holding off on butterfly until you’re feeling really strong 🙂

Once you get comfortable, you can try a FRIM set, which means 25 yards or meters of each stroke in this order:

  1. Freestyle
  2. Backstroke
  3. Breaststroke
  4. Freestyle

Example Workout

Here is a 2,000 meter workout you can try. For intermediate swimmers, it should take 40-60 minutes to complete. If you are a beginner swimmer, you can always decrease the amount of repetitions or decrease the distances so that it suits your style.

Just remember, the important thing is to incorporate different strokes and energy zones into your workout.


  • 1 x 300 Freestyle
  • 4 x 50s Backstroke/Freestyle


  • 4 x 25s Drill Fist Drill
  • 1 x 200 FRIM (50 Free, 50 Back, 50 Breast, 50 Free)

Main Set

  • 10 x 100s Freestyle (Threshold)

Cool Down

  • 4 x 50s Breaststroke/Freestyle

Related: 6-Week Beginner Weight Loss Training Plan

We hope you enjoyed this video and these great tips! Send us an email if you have more questions at support@myswimpro.com.

If you’re looking for more swim Workouts, Technique Videos and tracking tools, download the MySwimPro app on iOS or Android. Sign up for MySwimPro Coach to start your personalized Training Plan.



  1. Great article! Learning various types of swim strokes over time can indeed lead to greater confidence levels and full body workout. It creates more interest and enjoyment in the sport. However, care must be taken as to whether one is experiencing any discomfort while doing a particular stroke.

  2. I have a lower back problem which is aggravated by a breaststroke kick …. could this be because I am doing the breaststroke kick incorrectly?

    • Potentially! Your body position may not be quite right. It may help to work on your sore strength, which will help take pressure off of your lower back and will help you maintain a better body position when you swim!

      • Margaret Winsor on

        I really enjoyed this article. I’m 74 & am training in Masters. I concentrate on Freestyle & Backstroke, which I enjoy but because I have a shoulder injury I can’t do Butterfly & have always been hopeless at Breaststroke. Our coach is teaching me Breaststroke but it hurts my lower back a lot also. With negotiation 😂 I have agreed to trying 25 Breast every swim & am hoping this will toughen up the right muscles. This article has motivated me to keep going with Breast & it’ll be really interesting to see how much it improves a little at a time. Can we teach an old “girl” new tricks.😂 maybe….

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