4 Drills to Help You Swim a MORE Relaxed Butterfly Stroke!

Welcome Back! I got this question via Instagram on what are some drills to help improve a swimmer’s relaxation during their Butterfly Stroke and I told the person who asked this that I’d do them one better by writing a blog to answer it. Here are my favorite four drills to help swimmers swim a more relaxed Butterfly stroke!

Let’s get started!

Butterfly is a hard stroke. It’s particularly hard for age-group swimmers who are born female because of the strength imbalances between men and women in their upper body. This doesn’t mean that female age-group swimmers CAN’T swim a FAST Butterfly – sometimes it just might take a little more work on timing, strength, and kick speed to get them zooming down the pool. Let’s dive into the 4 Drills I love for helping swimmers’ relax and learn to LOVE the Butterfly stroke!

1.) Butterfly with a Breaststroke Kick


Butterfly is a kick driven stroke, so if you take out the legs – swimmers can really feel how LITTLE power they are producing with the arms. I also low key love combining two short-axis strokes together as well, because that undulation component still happens even with the disconnection! 💯 #swimclinic #swimmingworld #swimmingsports #swimtips #swimdrills #swimfaster #swimtechnique #swimmergirl

♬ original sound – Abbie Fish
Swimmer performs Butterfly with a Breaststroke Kick

I love this drill because it allows swimmers to swim a further distance of Butterfly without feeling the *exhaustion* that comes with the stroke. This allows swimmers to build up their endurance and strength in their upper body because of being able too swim longer distances with it.

Fun Fact: This type of Butterfly is actually legal in Masters Swimming. Butterfly originated from Breaststroke, and this stroke was a modification made from Breaststroke before the Butterfly stroke itself was born!

2.) Underwater Press

This is a great drill to help swimmers find their ‘flow’ in Butterfly. You want to bend the knees, as your arms sweep out and then kick down – when the arms come back together. This will help swimmers learn the undulating movement that happens in Butterfly and how to connect the arms and the legs together!

3.) 4/4/4 Drill

Coach Abbie Performing the 4/4/4 Butterfly Drill

I love this drill because it can help swimmers, again, achieve more yards (or meters) in the pool without practicing bad Butterfly Technique. For Age-Groupers, 4/4/4 is a great way to get them to inspire to achieve an entire length of a 25 yard pool in 12 total strokes. As they progress and get better with their underwaters, you may want them to reduce to 3/3/3 (or 9 total strokes), etc.

I also like doing this drill called: All Around the World Butterfly. This is done in similar fashion to 4/4/4 but a different order. The order is one R Arm Stroke, one Double Arm Stroke, and one L Arm Stroke – Repeat. This is another good variation that keeps swimmers swimming longer and working on keeping the kick kicking consistently to not mess with their timing!

4.) Butterfly Goggle Drill

Coach Abbie Performing Goggle Drill

This drill helps teach swimmers how to stay low during their breath to avoid any extra and unnecessary vertical movement. This is really done with swimming a full Butterfly stroke, but working on keeping the breath and head low. You could even get creative and give swimmers only a certain number of strokes they can swim Butterfly per lap and then the rest of the Freestyle to avoid doing tons of repeats full Butterfly.

If you’re looking to really ramp up your Butterfly training, we’ve got a 90-day Training Plan to a Faster Butterfly stroke available here. We also have a coach’s course on the best techniques for Butterfly and how to apply them to your sets and swimmers. Find more information about this course here.


Feel free to mix and match these drills into any or all of your practices including Butterfly. These drills are great for all ages of swimmers who want to swim a Faster Butterfly!

Until Next Time,

Abbie Fish

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