freestyle stroke
swimming workout
BY: LBL Team

Swimming Strokes That Sculpt and Slim

Swimming’s low-impact. It’s easy on your joints. And it can burn up to 750 calories an hour. Yet not all strokes are created equally. Here are five swimming strokes that’ll help you meet your fitness goals.

1. Sidestroke

The most basic style of swimming, the sidestroke is performed as you lie sideways in the water. A 150-pound person can easily burn 544 calories an hour by doing this stroke.

  • Extend your more deeply submerged arm straight above your shoulder
  • Pull that arm toward your hip as you extend your less deeply submerged arm toward your head
  • Pull your less deeply submerged arm your hip as you extend your more deeply submerged arm above your shoulder again
  • Alternate your arms this way as you perform a scissor kick

2. Front crawl

Otherwise known as freestyle, the front crawl is a standard swimming stroke. A 150-pound person can burn up to 475 calories an hour doing the front crawl at a light pace, and up to 680 calories an hour at a vigorous pace.

  • Alternate overarm strokes as you flutter-kick your feet continuously
  • Situate yourself face down in the water
  • Breathe by turning your head from side-to-side in order to bring your nose and mouth above the water’s surface

3. Backstroke

The backstroke is similar to the front crawl. But you do it face-up rather than face-down. A 150-pound person can burn up to 475 calories per hour doing the backstroke.

  • Alternate overarm strokes as you continuously flutter-kick

4. Breaststroke

A 150-pound person can easily burn up to 700 calories an hour doing the breaststroke.


  • Begin with your palms touching and pulled into your chest
  • Extend your arms simultaneously outward at shoulder height with your palms facing down
  • Turn your palms outward and push your arms in a semicircular motion until they return to the starting position
  • Start with your legs extended behind you in a streamline position
  • Bring your knees up
  • Kick outward
  • Return your legs to a streamline position

5. Butterfly

The butterfly stroke is the most difficult. A 150-pound person can burn around 750 calories an hour performing it.

  • Move your arms simultaneously in a windmill-like motion
  • Begin with your arms stretched out in front of you, thumbs touching
  • Pull your arms towards your waist
  • As your arms get close to your waist, bring them out of the water over your head as you simultaneously execute a dolphin kick
  • Breathe by sticking your head out of the water as you pull your arms down to your waist

Get in the swim of great fitness

For an exercise that combines fun with great cardio and toning, swimming can’t be beat. Fortunately, summer’s not quite over yet, so get in the pool while the weather holds and get your watery regimen going. And when it gets chillier, you can find an indoor or heated pool to keep your new commitment to fitness.


  1. “Benefits of Swimming: 10 Reasons Every Woman Should Get in the Water,” Fitness, March 6, 2017.
  2. “Front Crawl Vs. Breaststroke,” The Guardian, June 13, 2008.
  3. “Good Swimming Techniques to Tone Your Body,” LiveStrong, September 27, 2013.
  4. “Water Workouts: 5 Styles of Swimming to Help You Lose Weight,” FitDay, [Date unknown].
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