The butterfly is the second quickest swimming stroke after the freestyle and is a challenging one due to the coordination required between your upper and lower body. Because the butterfly is physically demanding, you can use it to gain muscle or reduce body fat. While the butterfly can be difficult to master, there are many ways in which you can improve your butterfly speed.
Perform back-strengthening exercises. Because the butterfly puts stress on your back due to the simultaneous motion of your upper and lower body, having a strong back can help you maintain proper form, which can increase your speed. According to weightlifting website Project Swole, the deadlift and barbell rows are among the most effective exercises for strengthening your back muscles.
Improve your abdominal strength. Your abdominals and your lower back form your core, a muscle group that is vital for athletic success. Having a strong core keeps your body properly aligned and in good form when exercising. This eliminates wasted motion and can help improve your butterfly speed. Additionally, your core facilitates the transfer of motion between your upper and lower body. For strokes such as the butterfly, this transfer is important, and having an efficient energy transfer can improve your speed.
Practice kicking using fins. Swimming coach Bob Magg suggests that fins can be particularly beneficial for butterfly improvement and suggests performing vertical kicks with fins in the deep end of the pool. Aim to perform 30 vertical kicks the first session and increase your consecutive kick count with each session. This can bolster leg strength and enhance your speed.
Practice your arm technique with fins and a kickboard. Keep one arm on the kickboard and concentrate on proper arm positioning and movement with the free arm. When your arm tires, switch arms. By breaking down the butterfly into upper and lower body movements, you can perfect your form on each before uniting them.
Consult a swim coach or competitive swimmer for additional help on improving your times in the butterfly.
Consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can tell you what types of training, if any, you should avoid due to preexisting conditions. You should let your doctor know that the butterfly can be demanding on your spine so that he can make recommendations based on your spinal health.
Always swim with proper supervision. Immediately stop swimming if you feel sharp pain or discomfort.