Early Vertical Forearm (EVF): What It Is and Why It Matters

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In the world of swimming, the concept of Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) is crucial for achieving efficiency and speed in the water. EVF refers to the position of the swimmer’s forearm during the pull phase of the stroke, where the forearm is vertical to the water’s surface.

By maintaining an early vertical forearm position, swimmers are able to maximize their propulsion and minimize resistance, ultimately leading to improved performance. In this article, we will delve deeper into the understanding of EVF, its importance, techniques for mastering it, the benefits it offers, and how to achieve the perfect early vertical forearm.

The Fundamentals of Early Vertical Forearm (EVF)

To comprehend EVF, it is essential to have a grasp of the basic mechanics of swimming strokes. In freestyle, for instance, the pull phase involves extending the arm forward, followed by bending the elbow and pulling the hand back towards the body. It is during this pull phase that the concept of EVF comes into play.

The ideal position for EVF is when the forearm is perpendicular to the water’s surface, and the fingertips are pointing directly towards the bottom of the pool. This alignment allows for the maximum surface area of the forearm to be engaged in the propulsion, generating a greater force against the water.

The Importance of Early Vertical Forearm (EVF)

Early Vertical Forearm is vital for several reasons. First and foremost, it reduces drag by minimizing the surface area exposed to the water. When the forearm is vertical, it acts as a paddle, pushing against the water with greater efficiency. This reduces the resistance and enables swimmers to glide through the water with less effort.

Furthermore, EVF optimizes propulsion. By maximizing the engagement of the forearm muscles, swimmers can generate more power during the pull phase. This translates to increased speed and efficiency in the water, allowing swimmers to swim faster while expending less energy.

Techniques for Mastering Early Vertical Forearm (EVF)

Mastering the art of EVF requires practice and attention to detail. Here are some techniques that can help swimmers achieve a perfect early vertical forearm position:

  1. Focus on body position: Maintaining a horizontal body position, with the hips and legs close to the water’s surface, is crucial for achieving a proper EVF. This allows for a better alignment of the arm and forearm with the water.
  2. Engage core muscles: A strong core helps stabilize the body and maintain the desired body position. Strengthening the core through exercises such as planks and abdominal workouts can contribute to better EVF technique.
  3. Develop shoulder flexibility: Adequate shoulder flexibility allows for a wider range of motion during the pull phase, facilitating a more natural and effective EVF. Stretching exercises targeting the shoulders, such as arm circles and shoulder stretches, can improve flexibility.
  4. Use swimming aids: Utilizing swimming aids, such as pull buoys or swim paddles, can assist in reinforcing the correct EVF technique. These aids provide additional support and resistance, allowing swimmers to focus on their forearm position without worrying about other aspects of the stroke.
  5. Incorporate drills: Drills specifically designed to enhance EVF can be incorporated into training sessions. Examples include fingertip drag, sculling, and catch-up drills. These drills isolate the forearm and emphasize the correct positioning, helping swimmers develop muscle memory for EVF.

The Benefits of Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) in Swimming

Early Vertical Forearm offers numerous benefits to swimmers of all levels. Here are some advantages associated with mastering the EVF technique:

  1. Increased propulsion: By maximizing the engagement of the forearm muscles, EVF allows swimmers to generate more power during the pull phase. This leads to increased propulsion and faster swimming speeds.
  2. Improved efficiency: EVF reduces drag by minimizing the surface area exposed to the water, resulting in improved efficiency. Swimmers can glide through the water with less resistance, conserving energy and maintaining higher speeds for longer durations.
  3. Reduced injury risk: Proper EVF technique ensures that the shoulders, elbows, and wrists are aligned in a more natural and stable position. This reduces the risk of overuse injuries and strain on these joints, promoting long-term shoulder health.
  4. Enhanced stroke technique: Incorporating EVF into the swimming stroke helps swimmers develop a more efficient and streamlined technique. This focus on forearm position facilitates better body alignment and overall stroke mechanics.
  5. Competitive advantage: Mastering the EVF technique can provide a competitive edge to swimmers, allowing them to outperform their opponents. The increased speed and efficiency achieved through EVF can make a significant difference in races.

How to Achieve the Perfect Early Vertical Forearm (EVF)

Achieving the perfect early vertical forearm requires consistent practice and attention to detail. Here are some key tips to help swimmers refine their EVF technique:

  1. Focus on entry position: The position of the hand and forearm during entry sets the foundation for EVF. Aim to enter the water with the fingertips pointing downwards, allowing for a seamless transition into the pull phase.
  2. Initiate the pull from the fingertips: To achieve EVF, focus on initiating the pull phase from the fingertips rather than the hand or elbow. This ensures that the forearm remains vertical throughout the pull, maximizing propulsion.
  3. Maintain a high elbow position: Throughout the pull phase, strive to keep the elbow higher than the hand. This helps maintain the vertical orientation of the forearm and minimizes resistance.
  4. Engage the forearm muscles: Actively engage the forearm muscles, particularly the wrist flexors and extensors, during the pull phase. This generates additional power and enhances propulsion.
  5. Practice with feedback: Utilize video analysis or a coach’s feedback to assess and refine your EVF technique. This external input can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that you are on the right track.

By consistently practicing these techniques and incorporating EVF into your swimming stroke, you can develop a more efficient and powerful technique, ultimately enhancing your performance in the water.


Q: What is the purpose of Early Vertical Forearm (EVF) in swimming?

A: Early Vertical Forearm is essential in swimming as it allows swimmers to maximize propulsion, minimize resistance, and achieve greater efficiency in the water.

Q: How can I improve my Early Vertical Forearm technique?

A: Improving EVF technique involves focusing on body position, engaging core muscles, developing shoulder flexibility, using swimming aids, and incorporating specific drills.

Q: Does Early Vertical Forearm reduce the risk of injuries?

A: Yes, proper EVF technique helps align the shoulders, elbows, and wrists in a more stable position, reducing the risk of overuse injuries and strain on these joints.

Q: Can Early Vertical Forearm improve swimming speed?

A: Yes, by maximizing the engagement of forearm muscles and reducing drag, EVF can significantly improve swimming speed.

Q: Is Early Vertical Forearm technique beneficial for all swimming strokes?

A: While EVF is commonly associated with freestyle, it can also be beneficial in other strokes such as backstroke and butterfly, as it promotes better body alignment and stroke efficiency.

Q: How long does it take to master Early Vertical Forearm technique?

A: The time it takes to master EVF technique varies from individual to individual. Consistent practice, attention to detail, and incorporating targeted drills can expedite the learning process.

Q: Can swimming aids help in developing Early Vertical Forearm technique?

A: Yes, swimming aids such as pull buoys and swim paddles can provide additional support and resistance, allowing swimmers to focus on perfecting their EVF technique.