So many swimmers struggle with their arms and their pull, while doing freestyle. If done incorrectly, you can lose a LOT of energy, making your workout pretty exhausting. Pulling with the wrong technique is probably the most common mistake we see in beginner swimmers!

Whether you’re a competitive swimmer or just looking to improve your skills for recreational swimming, mastering the art of pulling more water can significantly make a difference.

Check out this video featuring Coach Fares Ksebati from MySwimPro and Coach Chris Bryan from Swim Tribe Dubai.

How To Pull More Water In Freestyle:

The Importance of Angle and Propulsion

The angle of your pull underwater plays a critical role in your propulsion. Understanding this angle and how it contributes to generating power is fundamental for swimming faster, both in pool races and open water swims.

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.

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)

Recruiting More Muscle Power

To swim faster and more efficiently, it’s essential to recruit muscle groups effectively. By mastering the technique of holding and moving water backward through the body, swimmers can generate more power. This involves tying the movement to the body’s rotation, and ensuring proper arm positioning.

The Concept of Gears in Swimming

Similar to gears in a vehicle, swimmers should learn to swim through different “gears,” each emphasizing varying levels of speed, power, and technique. By practicing swimming at different speeds, swimmers can build endurance, improve technique, and make workouts more engaging.

Related:How To Swim with Proper Technique To Avoid Feeling EXHAUSTED

The Role of Resistance Training

Just as weight training enhances strength on land, resistance training in the water can significantly improve swimming performance. Using tools like paddles, fins, and parachutes adds resistance, helping swimmers build strength and power.

Related: How To Swim Faster Using Resistance Training

The Significance of Endurance

Endurance swimming should not be overlooked, as it forms the foundation for speed and power. By gradually increasing speed and incorporating interval training, swimmers can improve their overall performance and stamina.

Try This Drill To Improve Your EVF!

Fist Drill

Ball up both your hands into a fist and swim as you normally would. You can also hold a tennis ball to keep your fists tight!

By reducing the surface area of your hand, you’re forced to pull the water more efficiently with your entire arm. This really engages your forearms. As you extend forward, imagine you’re reaching over a large log to pull yourself forward.

Once you go back to normal swimming, the nerves in your hands should feel alive and swimming should feel effortless.

Personalized Swim Workouts

MySwimPro is the largest digital community of swimmers in the world. Download the MySwimPro app and follow us on YouTube for workout ideas, technique tips, and free workout ideas!

Workouts are individually calibrated to your fitness level and lay the foundation for structured training programs. Choose from swimming and dryland training programs that are personalized to your skill level with our dynamic training algorithm.

Dive into your personalized Training Plan with the MySwimPro iPhone or Android app. MySwimPro supports Apple Watch, Garmin & Wear OS smartwatches. You can see a full list of compatible devices here.

Get Your Stroke Technique Analyzed

Submit a video or photo of yourself swimming to our new Swimming Academy, and get your technique analyzed by our expert coaches! Enroll today to get unlimited stroke feedback, weekly coaching calls, and digital courses in our new community.

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