View Full Version : Why is my fly better this year & back stroke getting slower?

February 14th, 2009, 02:49 PM
I have been working harder at the gym this year & my fly times are showing improvement. Back stroke is another story. My times are slower?? I feel as if my kick is weaker, lots of quad extensions at the gym have not help. Any ideas?:cane:

February 14th, 2009, 09:52 PM
Maybe do lighter weights and higher reps on the quad extensions.

Maybe you are morphing into a butterflyer. I was a backstroke/butterflyer for many years until my backstroke just died on me at 15. It was hard to explain. I don't do much backstroke nowadays but I do have several 200 backstroke swims coming up. I am actually swimming it at my taper meet due to order of event issues. The weird thing is that whenever I got pointers on my strokes, the person giving the pointers always says that my backstroke looks great while my other strokes are what the kids call "a hot mess".

February 15th, 2009, 11:08 PM
Backstroke is a very leg-heavy stroke and your body position plays a key role in how everything else works. My guess is your new body composition has altered and negatively impacted your body position.

Increased muscle mass in your legs will often cause your legs to sink and thus require more energy to keep up towards the surface - which is where they need to be for a good backstroke kick. If your kick is feeling weak, your legs are either too far under the surface, or you're kicking way too hard just to get your legs in the optimal position. When legs sink in backstroke, they tend to bring the rest of your body with it - and your whole body is tilted towards your legs - thus creating a more vertical body position and making you slower.

How to remedy: kick with fins; use a pull buoy to regain the feel; speed up your arms; check your head position. Any one or a combination of those should help.

Lastly, if you're someone who rests for a meet or two and have always done backstroke at these meets, I would not be worried at all. You could just be exhausted from training, and resting and suiting will do you good at the end of the season. Take a morning/night off, keep doing what you're doing, and without making your current technique the status quo, learn how to recognize when you're falling apart and how to swim through it.

Chris Stevenson
February 16th, 2009, 08:27 AM
I generally have the opposite experience: if I emphasize my fly more in practices, my backstroke also improves (sometimes, frustratingly, more than my fly) probably due to an improvement in overall conditioning.

When I do more fly (and hence less backstroke), I am careful to do more backstroke kick sets to keep my legs in good "backstroke" shape. It sounds like you are doing something similar with your work in the gym.

Echoing some of what Jeff said: working your legs more in the gym may be hurting your backstroke in the short run -- your legs may be too pooped to pop as much -- but will probably help at the end of the season if you allow adequate rest.

February 17th, 2009, 11:46 AM
Thanx all. I do think that my legs are lower than I remember them. I will try some of the tips.