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Swimming Tips – Learning the Side Stroke

Butterfly, American crawl, breaststroke, and backstroke, are the strokes Olympic swimmers practice and race with. These strokes are all engineered for speed and power. Each will likely get the swimmer where he wants to go quickly.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these strokes; however, if you’re interested in learning a stroke that will allow you to reach your goal at a more relaxed pace, the side stroke may be worth your time.

side stroke swimming

Side Stroke Swimming Technique

The side stroke is a wonderful swimming technique to enjoy. Picture yourself in the pool, gliding effortlessly through the water with your arms reaching out like wings and your body gently rolling from side to side. You’ll experience an unparalleled feeling of freedom as you move gracefully along.

It’s important that you keep your eyes on the horizon while performing this stroke so that you can remain balanced and maintain good posture throughout. As you reach forward with one arm for propulsion, raise the opposite leg slightly above the surface of the water for extra thrust. This will help ensure maximum efficiency and speed as you swim toward your destination.

When it comes to breathing during the side stroke, there are two different techniques: The “flip turn” or “rolling over turn” which involves turning onto your back mid-stroke and taking a breath; or alternatively breathing naturally by lifting up your head and rotating it towards either shoulder as needed. Whichever method works best for you, remember to stay relaxed yet focused – only then will you be able to fully appreciate all the benefits of this beautiful swimming style!

Side Stroke Swimming Benefits

Side stroke swimming is a great way to get exercise while having fun. It has many benefits, making it an ideal activity for swimmers of all ages and abilities.

First off, side stroke swimming can help improve balance and coordination in the pool. As you swim sideways with one arm extended, you are forced to use both arms equally and keep your body straight. This helps work your core muscles and build strength throughout your torso as well as in your legs. Additionally, this type of swimming will also help develop good posture habits outside of the pool by improving overall awareness of body position.

Another benefit of side stroke swimming is that it allows for more efficient movement through the water than other strokes. Because you don’t need to fight against gravity or lift yourself up out of the water as front crawl does, you require less energy to move forward which makes it easier on joints and muscles when compared with other styles of swimming. The slower pace gives swimmers plenty of time to practice their technique without getting tired too quickly; this means they can hone their skills much faster than if they were doing another style such as freestyle or backstroke.

Finally, side stroke swimming promotes better breathing techniques because swimmers can take deeper breaths by using their entire lungs rather than just part of them as they would do in some other strokes. With improved breathing control comes increased oxygen intake which leads to increased endurance levels during workouts – allowing swimmers to stay in the pool longer while still feeling refreshed afterward! By focusing on proper breathing patterns as well as correct form, swimmers can reap countless rewards from this underrated style of swimming.

Take The Position

You might discover that, in contrast to other strokes, the sidestroke is executed neither on the stomach nor the back. Getting into a side position is a prerequisite for this swimming stroke, as the name suggests. One of the trickier aspects of the stroke is turning on your side in the water and staying there.

The ability to maintain this position is essential, however, as it will allow your body to glide through the water with ease. When you roll over onto your stomach or back, you create friction with the water and lose forward momentum.

The best way to learn the side position is to practice it on the floor or sand at home or at the beach. You can use either one to prepare for a later attempt at the side position in the water.

You can choose which side to lie on for practice, but most people prefer to be on their right if they are right-handed and their left if they are left-handed. (You’ll get the hang of it in due time and be able to perform the identical stroke on both sides.) Lay on your hip with your legs stretched out straight below your hips. This is the starting position for the side position.

For a comfortable headrest, extend the ground-hugging arm straight up from the shoulder. Extend your arms parallel to the ground.

From the palm of this hand to the tips of your toes, your body should form a straight line. For the time being, rest your upper arm along the top of your body. If you want to learn how to swim the sidestroke, you’ll need to get into the water on your side.

The Side Glide

If you’re ready to take your side position skills to the next level, you should start practicing on land before jumping into the water. The first step in mastering the sidestroke is to enter the water up to one’s waist while facing the shore, then turn to one’s side so that one is no longer facing either the shore or the deep water. Take a knee down to the water’s surface and submerge your shoulders.

The transition into the side glide will be easier with this. Then, when you’re ready, you can extend your arm towards the shore and let your body follow, assuming the position you worked on beforehand. You’re finally experiencing what it’s like to be on your side in the water as you glide through the water this time.

You may not be able to keep the side glide position up for very long. Your progress will be limited if you rely solely on the side glide. Learn the leg and arm strokes so you can use them while floating face-up in the water.

The Scissor Kick

Since the sidestroke relies heavily on leg propulsion, the scissor kick is taught immediately following the side glide. The scissors kick can be learned and practiced on dry land or attempted in shallow water.

In either case, get down on one side and brace yourself in the same way you would for a side glide, with your bottom arm extended and your top arm braced on the bottom (or floor). If you want to perfect your kick, it’s best to practice while lying on your side and fully extended.

The name comes from the fact that the action of the legs resembles the slicing motion of a pair of scissors. Before kicking, the swimmer brings both legs up by bending them at the knees. When fully extended, the legs separate, with the one closest to the surface extending forward and the one under it extending backward.

Both legs extend in opposite directions, with the final position being completely straight. When the body is in this position, the legs can use their power to move the person forward. To achieve this, bring the legs back together and firmly squeeze them.

When perfecting the scissors kick, it helps to count to three silently.

The correct techniques are bending, spreading, squeezing, and gliding. The legs go through these four motions. You shouldn’t neglect the glide, which is the propulsion of the body forward in the water while it is perfectly straight and at rest.

This kick must now be timed with the side glide. In the side glide position, you should be able to perform multiple kicks. If you flip over onto your stomach while swimming, you may end up going in circles. It’s difficult to maintain your position in the water without a corresponding stroke.

The Arm stroke

The arm motions are all slightly different from each other but still coordinated. First, the arm under your head as you take a side pulls straight down through the water until it is in the glide position. Position the fingers so that they point downward, directly under the shoulder. When the arm is in that position, it is bent and the hand is resting in front of the swimmer’s chest.

As the other hand reaches forward to meet it in front of the swimmer’s chest, the upper hand (the one lying on top of your body) is first bent and drawn along the top side of the body. Coordination between the two hands thrust back to their starting positions provides stability and additional forward momentum.

It is common to practice the arm stroke by first perfecting it with one arm, and then combining the two. However, you might find that the stroke appears much less difficult to perform in the water if you first practice the arms on dry land.


Mastering the arm and leg strokes separately is the first step in learning the sidestroke; the second step is to learn to coordinate the use of both arms and legs simultaneously.

Moving arms in the water ( bottom arm reaching down through the water and top arm passing along the body ). The hands come together in front of the body as the legs extend and turn to initiate an outward push.

When the swimmer’s legs come together, they push through the water with their arms at the same time, generating forward momentum. Keep in mind the value of gliding after finishing each stroke. This will aid in the fluidity of your movements and give you time to gather your thoughts before the next stroke.

The sidestroke is a very soothing swimming technique. Coordination and flexibility are necessary on your side. But the work will pay off with a stroke so effortless that it will take you exactly where you want to go without draining you of energy.


Breathing is an important part of side stroke swimming. Learning the proper breathing technique can help you become a smoother and more efficient swimmer. Here are five tips for mastering your side stroke breathing:

  • Take slow, even breaths through your mouth or nose, whichever feels most comfortable to you.
  • Match each breath with a full arm sweep in one continuous motion so that you never interrupt the rhythm of your strokes.
  • Focus on exhaling out of both sides by turning your head slightly away from the water before inhaling again.
  • When resting between sets, take deep breaths until you feel relaxed and energized again.
  • Make sure to keep your face completely submerged while taking your breath (except when resting).

By following these simple steps, you will develop confidence and consistency with every breath cycle during side stroke swimming! With practice and patience, this skill will eventually become second nature as it becomes ingrained in your muscle memory.

Side Stroke Leg Movement

Once you’ve mastered the breathing technique for side stroke, it’s time to move on to your leg movement. To create a powerful and effective kick in this swimming style, imagine yourself walking up an invisible staircase with each kick of your legs. As you progress through the water like a graceful ballerina, your legs should be performing alternate flutter kicks while keeping them together at all times.

The most important factor when executing this kicking motion is that your feet are never pointing down, but instead always remain parallel to the surface of the pool. The power of each kick comes from pushing off against the wall of water created by your thighs as they split apart and come back together again during each alternating cycle. This will help propel you forward with minimal effort while keeping you balanced and steady throughout your swim.

As with any new skill, practice makes perfect; so don’t get discouraged if it takes some time before you feel comfortable using this type of leg movement. With patience and dedication, soon enough you’ll find that mastering this technique has enabled you to glide effortlessly across the length of the pool! With these strong leg strokes now under our belt, we can move on to exploring how best to employ arm movements in side stroke swimming.

Arm Movement

The side stroke arm movement is an essential part of mastering this swim style. You’ll use your arms to move forward through the water, while still keeping a balanced body position in the water. To begin, reach out with both hands at shoulder-width and slightly above the surface.

Next, you’ll want to rotate your palm so that it’s facing downward towards the pool floor as you start to pull one arm back across your body towards your hip bone. The other hand will remain extended until it reaches its full extension before beginning its own pulling motion. As each arm pulls back, do not drop them below the level of your shoulders or try to rush through the movements; instead, take time to feel the muscles working in unison for maximum efficiency.

When both arms have reached their fullest point of pullback and come together underwater near your hips, push off from that spot by pushing downwards and away from your body like a propeller blade spinning in reverse. This action should propel you ahead quickly and efficiently as long as it’s done correctly! Be sure to keep an eye on how far you’re traveling with each stroke so that you can gauge how well you’re doing and adjust accordingly if needed.

Side Stroke Kick

Kicking your legs is like the engine driving a car – without it, you won’t get anywhere. Mastering the side stroke kick isn’t too difficult once you understand the basics. To begin, make sure to keep your feet and toes pointed outwards as much as possible while kicking. The key is using only one leg at a time to push off from the wall of water around you and propel yourself forward – just like how cars are powered by two cylinders working together in alternation.

Next, use short kicks with slightly bent knees for maximum efficiency. You want them to be quick, subtle movements that will allow you to maintain control over your body position rather than large splashes or flailing motions. Concentrate on keeping your hips level with the surface of the water while executing each kick. This should help balance out any uncoordinated swerves caused by incorrect arm strokes.

Finally, practice controlling your speed by alternating between long-distance glides and shorter bursts of power during each cycle of your arms rotating back and forth. Once you master this rhythm and timing, then you’ll have truly harnessed the art of side stroke swimming! With its unique combination of gracefulness and strength, it can take you wherever your aquatic dreams may wander – onward into the depths of combat side stroke!

Combat Side Stroke

Once you feel comfortable with the side stroke, it’s time to take your swimming skills to a new level. Combat side stroke is an advanced form of the regular side stroke and can be used for both combat training and fitness purposes.

  • Breathing correctly.
  • Maintaining proper body position in the water.
  • Pushing off from walls properly.
  • Using arm strokes efficiently.

When practicing combat side strokes, focus on your breathing technique first. Make sure you are exhaling completely before inhaling so that air isn’t trapped in your lungs. Next, practice maintaining proper body position by keeping your hips lower than your chest when gliding through the water.

Then work on pushing off from pool walls effectively–this will make propelling yourself forward easier while using less energy. Finally, use a consistent rhythm with your arms during each stroke without overworking them or creating too much drag against the water. This will help you increase speed and efficiency during movement.

Combat side stroke takes some practice but once mastered allows swimmers to move quickly and efficiently through the water–perfect for competitive swimming events or combat scenarios! With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way in no time at all. Ready to compare combat side stroke to freestyle? Let’s go!

Side Stroke Vs Freestyle

Ah, side stroke swimming! The graceful glide of a swan on the lake. So peaceful and majestic. What could be better? Well, how about freestyle? It’s fast, fun, and – dare I say it – fabulous!

So which one’s best for you? Let’s take a look at each style to decide. Side stroke is great if you want an easy way to move through the water with not too much effort. You just need to focus on that gliding motion, keeping your body flat like a board so you can cut through the waves effortlessly. But if speed is what you’re after then freestyle will get you there faster. With powerful strokes and strong leg kicks, this style has been known to propel even novice swimmers quickly across the pool or lake.

But why choose between them when each offers something unique? Why not mix up your routine by alternating styles during swim practice? That way you can enjoy the soothing sensation of side stroke while also developing speed and technique in freestyle. No matter which style suits your fancy, make sure to have fun as you dive into the deep end of swimming!

Final Thought

Finally, let’s review the side stroke swimming technique. When you swim using this style, you will benefit from increased endurance and improved body positioning in the water. You can breathe more easily while your arms move in a scissor-like motion and your legs kick out to the side. Plus, if needed, it can be used as an efficient way of combat swimming when time is of the essence.

When comparing it to freestyle swimming, there are some key differences that must be taken into accounts such as breathing techniques, arm movements, leg movements, and kicking styles. But overall, once you have mastered these elements and understand how they work together cohesively with one another, then the rewards are great!

Therefore I encourage you to give this new skill a go – practice makes perfect after all! With dedication and perseverance, I’m sure you’ll be able to master this unique form of swimming in no time at all. So why not jump on board today? Who knows what kind of accomplishments await those who take on this challenge?

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