The Brilliance of Butterfly

There is a brilliance in the butterfly. It’s the perfect exercise. The perfect stroke. I’ve frequently said that swimming is the best sport. It’s a full body workout without the hard impact on joints like running can be. It’s a fantastic sport for obese people trying to lose weight. In fact, it’s how I lost my weight.

What makes the butterfly stroke so unique and special is that it truly does use your entire body. The breast stroke and freestyle are great strokes and use most of your body but not like the butterfly. The butterfly takes grace, coordination and strength to be able to do it. You have to have the upper body and core strength in order to do it. The butterfly uses your core in a way that other swimming strokes don’t and you’ll see results.

You have to be able to move your arms and body through the water, then above the water. Your arms move together from behind you, up and out of the water and end above your head before returning to the water. During this,  your legs do a dolphin kick. This stroke is a tremendous workout for your shoulders and core.

I’m not skilled in the butterfly. It’s the one stroke I never properly mastered in my youth and now as an adult I rarely do it. I’m like a fish in the water–all other strokes are seamless, splashless and graceful (which I’m not on land!!) but the butterfly is a lot of splashing and thrashing for me. I wish I was better at it.

I recently got a question from a reader:  “I just found out that i have arthiritis in my knee and have decided to continue my weightloss journey by swimming but can I still lose my 100 pounds by swimming?”

My answer: Heck yes! Swim! It’s the best exercise and it’s how I lost most of my weight. Swimming was what activity I chose to do. I did it 2-4 times a week for about a year and then started introducing other activities (like the treadmill and elliptical). But really, swimming was how I lost probably 75 pounds. I think it’s a great choice for people trying to lose weight. If you are new to swimming, start here. And good luck!

QUESTION: Can you do the butterfly stroke?

8 Responses

  1. I desperately miss having a lap pool at the gym. There’s no other workout where you can totally tune out the world for 30 minutes than swimming laps. And, as you said, great way to lose or maintain weight!

    Also, a way to stay in shape as you age. So learn how while you’re young!

    As far as learning the butterfly…, no. 🙂 Hardest daggone thing to master.
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    1. I could NEVER survive without my swimming. You are right, it is the best exercise to stay in shape as we age. Swimmers look younger!

      I haven’t mastered the butterfly either. 🙁 Life goal.

  2. God no, I’m awful at butterfly and do the one-armed version when we do it during Master’s swimming. And I used to be a swim instructor!! The irony is I know the mechanics of the stroke, and I know how to TEACH people to do it properly, but I can’t do it myself. Heh!

  3. I don’t swim too often because I don’t like having to deal with my hair, but a pool is a requirement for me to join so that swimming is at least an option.

    I can’t do the butterfly either. Too hard to get the arms and legs doing the right moves at the right times.

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