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Q: Muscles used when swimming butterfly stroke ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Muscles used when swimming butterfly stroke
Category: Sports and Recreation > Training
Asked by: prgupta-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 17 Aug 2003 14:03 PDT
Expires: 16 Sep 2003 14:03 PDT
Question ID: 245732
I would like to know which muscles used when swimming butterfly
stroke.  I would like to get specific muscle names (e.g. latimus
dorsi) so I can match those names to the names on weight training
equipment in my gym.  Also, any recommendations you can provide for
best weight training for free style and butterfly would be very
helpful.  Thanks.
Subject: Re: Muscles used when swimming butterfly stroke
Answered By: andrewxmp-ga on 17 Aug 2003 17:37 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi prgupta!

I found some information on the specific muscle groups used for the
butterfly stroke.  As you are probably well aware, swimming nearly any
stroke uses muscles throughout the body at some point in the stroke
cycle.  Therefore, these specific muscle groups are those that take
the most stress and are worked the most during the driving part of the
stroke, and those are the muscles that need to be specifically
trained.  The pages I've linked to, aside from the specific quotes
below, contain quite a lot of information about weight training's
relation to freestyle and other strokes as well as butterfly, and I
suggest you read through them to better find the information that will
be most applicable to the training going on in your gym.

The information found at 
[ ]
is specifically for weight training for swimmers.  A few sections are
about the butterfly stroke in particular:
"Develop the torso with the second most important machine, the
Superpullover. It uses the latissimus dorsi, or as swimmers call them,
the lats. This exercise mimics a butterfly stroke or breast pulldown."
 "Then to the Rowing Torso machine that works the upper back muscles,
posterior deltoids, rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius. I simulate
the outward pull of fly and breast on this one."
[ ]

This next page suggests that many deficiencies in butterfly ability
are due to weak stomach muscles, and the names of some of these are
" "Why do I struggle so much with butterfly?" I hear this question A
LOT! Have you ever noticed when swimming butterfly that the first part
of the stroke technique to break down is the length or the distance
you cover per stroke. This is because you are very quickly reaching a
state of fatigue in your stomach muscles. The weaker you are in the
abdominal and lower back muscles, the faster you will lose your
"You want to concentrate most of your time to the abdominal muscles.
These muscles will include external and internal obliques, transverse
abdominis, and rectus abdominis. The muscles that counter balance the
abdominal muscles are the erector spinae muscles that control the
movement and stability of the spine and lower back. These muscles are
the longissimus, spinalis, and iliocostalis muscle. Believe it or not
these seven muscles are the most important muscles for swimming. "
[ ]

In addition, I found some interesting suggestions about optimal form
for the butterfly stroke, which can be found here:
[ ]

So, extracted from the above articles, the final list of muscles that
should be focused on for the butterfly in particular are: latissimus
dorsi, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius,
external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus
abdominis, longissimus, spinalis, and iliocostalis muscles.
*Whew*  :)

I trust this information will be completely satisfactory but, if
necessary, please request an answer clarification, especially before
rating this answer.  Good luck, and thank you for bringing your
question to us!


Search terms used:
training butterfly stroke muscles
prgupta-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Muscles used when swimming butterfly stroke
From: jackburton-ga on 18 Aug 2003 03:32 PDT
You may find these links useful too:
Getting Stronger for Faster Swimming
The Vasa Trainer

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