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, and you might even get injured!

Today we’re sharing what happens when you only swim freestyle, and some workout ideas to improve your training.

1 – Decreases Your Feel Of The Water

By mixing up your strokes, 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 – Decreases Your Swimming Fitness & Strength

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 – Higher Risk Of Shoulder Injuries

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.

By mixing up your strokes, the variety of pulls and kicks can open up your joints. Building up strength and flexibility here can help prevent injury.

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 – Workouts Get Boring!

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!

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.

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

Download the MySwimPro app to follow personalized swim workouts. Every set is tailored to your speed and skills, you can even tell the app what strokes you do or do not want to swim.

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. One other benefit to mixing up your strokes: it makes counting laps easier and less error prone. My typical 500 yd set (butterfly is out for me due to spine and shoulder issues):
    – 100 free
    – 50 breast
    – 100 back
    – 50 breast
    – 100 free
    – 25 breast / 25 back / 25 breast / 25 back

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