5 Butterfly Drills to Improve Your Technique and Speed

Photo of author

Butterfly stroke is often regarded as the most challenging and technically demanding swimming stroke. It requires a combination of strength, coordination, and proper technique to perform it effectively. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced swimmer, incorporating effective butterfly drills into your training routine can help you unleash your full potential in this exhilarating stroke. In this article, we will explore five effective butterfly drills that can take your butterfly swimming to the next level.

1. Butterfly Body Roll Drill

The butterfly body roll drill focuses on developing a strong and coordinated body rotation in butterfly stroke. Start by swimming butterfly while exaggerating the rotational movement of your body. Emphasize rolling from side to side, allowing your hips and shoulders to rotate together. This drill helps you develop a more fluid and efficient body movement, enhancing your stroke power and facilitating a smoother and faster stroke.

2. Single-Arm Butterfly with Kick Drill

The single-arm butterfly with kick drill is an excellent way to isolate and improve your arm and leg coordination in butterfly stroke. Start by swimming butterfly using only one arm while keeping the other arm extended in front of you. Coordinate your arm pull with a strong and continuous kick, focusing on a fluid and powerful motion. This drill helps you synchronize your arm and leg movement, enhancing your stroke efficiency and overall swimming speed.

3. Butterfly Catch-Up Drill

The butterfly catch-up drill is a classic drill that emphasizes the importance of a full stroke cycle in butterfly swimming. Start by extending one arm forward while the other arm completes a full butterfly stroke. Once the recovering arm reaches the extended position, initiate the next stroke with the other arm. This drill helps you develop proper arm coordination, timing, and rhythm, ensuring that each arm pull is completed before starting the next one. It also promotes a streamlined body position and a controlled stroke tempo.

4. Underwater Butterfly Kick Drill

The underwater butterfly kick drill focuses on developing a powerful and efficient kick in butterfly stroke. Start by swimming butterfly while performing the dolphin kick motion underwater. Emphasize generating power from your hips and core, and maintain a streamlined body position throughout. This drill helps you improve your leg strength, ankle flexibility, and kick coordination, enabling you to generate more propulsion in the water. It also enhances your overall body position and stability in butterfly swimming.

5. Butterfly with Resistance Band Drill

Incorporating a resistance band into your butterfly drills can help you develop upper body strength and improve your stroke power. Secure a resistance band around your upper body, just above your waist, and swim butterfly while maintaining resistance against the band. This drill focuses on developing a strong and controlled arm pull, enhancing your stroke power and propulsion. It also helps you refine your body position and core stability, enabling you to maintain a more streamlined and efficient stroke.

By incorporating these five effective butterfly drills into your training routine, you can improve your technique, increase your power and speed, and unleash your full potential in butterfly swimming. Focus on each drill individually, paying attention to your body roll, arm and leg coordination, catch-up technique, kick power, and resistance training. Consistent practice and a commitment to excellence will help you excel in butterfly stroke and reach your swimming goals.


1. What are some common mistakes to avoid in butterfly stroke?

  • Allowing the hips to sink, resulting in a lack of body position and increased drag.
  • Overreaching on the arm pull, which can lead to a loss of power and efficiency.
  • Neglecting the kick or using a weak and uncoordinated kick, resulting in reduced propulsion.
  • Crossing the arms over the centerline during the recovery, leading to a less streamlined stroke.
  • Breathing too late or too early, disrupting the rhythm and flow of the stroke.

2. How can I improve my butterfly technique?

3. Can I swim butterfly if I’m a beginner?

Yes, beginners can learn and swim butterfly with proper instruction and practice. It is important to start with basic drills and gradually progress to full butterfly stroke as your technique and strength improve. Working with a coach or joining a swimming program can greatly aid in learning the correct technique and building the necessary skills for butterfly swimming.

4. How can I increase my butterfly speed?

5. Are there any specific dryland exercises that can help improve my butterfly?

Yes, several dryland exercises can help improve your butterfly performance. Some effective exercises include:

6. How often should I practice butterfly drills?

The frequency of practicing butterfly drills depends on your training program and goals. It is generally recommended to incorporate butterfly drills at least once or twice a week to focus on technique and specific aspects of the stroke. However, it is important to balance butterfly drills with other swimming strokes and training activities to avoid overuse injuries and promote overall swimming development.

7. Can butterfly drills help improve my performance in other swimming strokes?

Yes, butterfly drills can have a positive impact on your performance in other swimming strokes. Many butterfly drills focus on developing core strength, body position, and coordination, which are applicable to all swimming strokes. Additionally, butterfly drills can enhance your overall swimming fitness, cardiovascular endurance, and power, which can translate to improved performance in freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke.