Whether you want to learn to swim for competitive swimming, exercise, survival, self-improvement, entertainment, or just to get over your embarrassment at pool parties, then you need to learn the best strokes and styles.

These are some of the best-developed methods for swimming in virtually any body of water.

Here are some of the most common swim strokes and styles, followed by detailed descriptions, and information on when each style would be appropriate to use to swim right.

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Freestyle

Also known as the front crawl, this is the classic swimming posture. Lie on your stomach and flutter your legs while alternating the arms in a windmill motion. You propel yourself forward with moderate speed in a specific direction. The freestyle is a great competitive and exercise stroke, and allows you to swim longer distances without exhaustion.

Backstroke

Lie on your back and flutter your legs while circling your arms in a windmill motion. It’s very similar to the freestyle, but you swim on your back and propel yourself backwards. Many doctors recommend this technique to those who have back problems, or to develop stronger back muscle. This can be a more difficult stroke, though, so consider getting private swim lessons to learn the proper technique here.

Breaststroke

Float with your stomach facing down, then move your arms in a half-circle motion in front of the body. Bend your legs, then kick back with good timing, and you’ll propel yourself up and forward. This is a great workout and is recommended for those who swim for exercise.

Butterfly

An excellent workout and common competitive stroke–possibly because it tests a mature swimmer–the butterfly is performed by bringing your arms up above your head, then pushing them down into the water to propel yourself forward. Your legs perform a dolphin kick, in which they stay together and kick simultaneously in a bobbing fashion. This is a very difficult stroke to learn, but if you take swimming classes in private, you can work diligently to learn this challenging stroke. A swimming teacher will help you learn proper technique and guide you until you perfect it.

Sidestroke

Although not one of the official four strokes in competitive swimming, the sidestroke is a great survival technique. This is commonly used by lifeguards because you can hold onto another person and keep them above water while you swim. Lie on your side and scissor your legs to propel yourself forward. It’s a great leg workout because your legs do most of the propulsion. Alternate by meeting your hands in front of your chest, then darting your arms outward, one back and one forward. This can be challenging to learn, but important for helping others.

If you’re ready to learn the best techniques for strokes like those above, then swimming lessons are your best bet. Swimming classes offer professional and guided instruction as well as supervision so you can safely learn the proper technique. At SwimRight Academy, we offer high-quality, affordable swimming classes. We even offer personalized, private swim lessons for babies! Contact SwimRight Academy today to schedule private swim lessons in Miami, FL for the whole family.