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Backstroke & Raising Your Shoulder

Backstroke and Raising Your Shoulder

I have a problem with swim teachers who spend an inordinate amount of time, instructing new swim students to raise their shoulder just before they lift their arm out of the water to start their backstroke arms.

image of a swimmer doing backstroke lifting hos shoulder out of the water
Lifting the Shoulder

Now don't get me wrong the idea of raising your shoulder out of the water when doing backstroke is great: it generates a small amount of rotation in the water; this increases your reach so that you are able to grab (or catch) more water, thus increasing your propulsion; it also reduces water resistance.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

But, raising your shoulder is also reasonably natural if you are exerting enough force in the water with your pushing (stroking arm). So it is completely unnecessary to spend large amounts of time coaching in shoulder lift.

Instead, learn to raise your shoulder when doing backstroke by making it a function of the amount of work you are doing under the water, not as a separate action in itself.

In other word push harder under the water with you stroking (pushing) arm and you will end up raising your other shoulder naturally.

Here is a brief video of what raising your shoulder looks like. In it, you can see clearly the raising of the shoulder and the importance of doing that is discussed. Unfortunately, there is no reference to the amount of work underneath the water so you are just going to have to try it for yourself to see how much easier it is to effect a shoulder raise.


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