Sculling for Swimmers: The Sneaky Tool for Faster Swimming

Michael Butler
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The Benefits of Sculling for Swimmers

Sculling is a method of breathing and body movement that is considered very effective for swimming. Many swimmers use it to increase their speed, but it’s also used in training to develop and improve technique. The sculling motion forces the body to move in a certain way that propels the swimmer forward more quickly and with less effort. Sculling also works to stabilize your body in the water so that, the more you practice it, the more natural it becomes.

However, learning how to scull requires a very detailed understanding of your body’s movements and how those movements affect your hips, ankles, and head. Brenda uses sculling with all of her beginner swimmers to help them find their rhythm in the water and to help them coordinate their movement.

Sculling for rhythmic, competitive swimmers is not quite so unique; it’s used by many of the best swimmers in the world for the exact same reasons. What makes sculling different for competitive swimmers is the way they implement it into their training routine. Competitive swimmers will often incorporate it into the last part of their workout, allowing themselves to really focus on improving their fatigue level.

Tips for Making the Most of Sculling:

Sculling is a great tool for helping you find a better rhythm and efficiency in your swimming. It’s one of the most effective drills for working on your rotational power. You can practice it at any place where you can safely practice swimming. ‥

Sculling is economical. You will use less energy to achieve greater results. It’s one of the easiest ways to strengthen your rear body (trunk).

Basic tips to make the most of sculling:

Use a higher elbow recovery.

Extend the sculling motion and time in the recovery phase.

Make sure both arms do similar work equally.

Emphasize sculling on both sides of your stroke.

Create a large catch phase for the pull.

Finish the pull by recovering the hand or pulling it across your chest.

Make sure your hand pulls through the water in a sweeping motion.

The emphasis is on the hands and the sculling action, not on your legs.

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Increased resistance, propulsion, and toning are the obvious benefits of sculling for swimmers and it can be incorporated into the competitive swimmer’s training.

Sculling vs. other swimming techniques such as butterfly or freestyle, tends to be easier for most people to do, as there’s less body rotation.

The most common misconception, however, is that sculling is exclusively for competitive swimmers. However, that’s not the case. Sculling is beneficial to anyone trying to increase fitness and improve performance.

What Is Sculling for Swimmers?

Sculling is a single arm technique. It’s also the most common style of freestyle in many water sports. Combining the simple design of butterfly with a side stroking motion, sculling provides the best of both styles.

Essentially, you perform a front crawl with your arms completely extended, fingers pointed forward, and hands turned down. Sculling tends to use the upper body more than freestyle or backstroke, since you’re not rotating your body as much.

According to Sports Fitness Advisor, sculling creates more resistance than butterfly. So if you’re looking for a way to increase your heart rate, sculling is a great choice.