body roll

The Secret Front Crawl Tip You’ve Never Heard Of

Welcome back team fearless, I’ve got another amazing swimming technique for you, so listen up.

Today I’d like to talk about the front crawl roll.

What it is. How to do it.

Why it’s important. And why nobody out there has ever heard of it.

Somewhere along the way, we got lost.

Front crawl became a stroke that required the body to become static and the focus at becoming a faster swimmer got put on the arms and legs.

Pull faster.

Kick harder.

Still not fast enough?

Can’t help you, sorry, see you later!

The Front Crawl Roll

If you like watching expert swimmers on YouTube like myself (yes, I’m a nerd… I know) then you’ll quickly notice that they roll their body onto its side during their strokes. They don’t simply lie on their sides.

Each time they reach up over head, they roll their body so that they’re almost in a side glide position.

This is interesting since the imaginary “learn to swim front crawl” textbook that we’ve all perused never really mentions this body roll.

The standard steps are: glide, then kick, then do arms, then you’ve learnt to swim.

In fact, that’s my exact recommendation for learning to swim believe it or not.

So why do I bring up the idea of a body roll, and why haven’t we explored it before?


The last and final step of Front Crawl is the coordination mastery.

As I talk about in my first book (link), swimming technique is perfected in the final step… coordination.

Worrying about the body roll and the high elbow recovery is important once the swimmer is safe and able to swim a significant distance.

Incorporating the techniques that make us truly efficient in the pool should be your continuous and ongoing learning aim when you decide to become a avid swimmer.

How and Why We Body Roll

The body roll is easy to do, and I’ll explain how to incorporate it in a minute, but first I want to explain the real reason why it helps SO much with your front crawl efficiency.

The reason (to me) is two fold.

One. It allows for you to get a larger reach.

This is something I’ve talked about lots of times before if you’re familiar with my material, but if not, I’ll explain.

When you turn your hip forward, you’ll find that your hand is able to reach higher over your head than normal.

Don’t believe me? Try standing up with your torso and hips in line and reach as high over head as possible.

Now try turning your hip forward in one direction.

See the difference?

Your hip turn really allows you to reach much much further and the body roll will naturally incorporate this into your stroke.

The next reason has to do with balance and utilizing momentum from “torquing” up your body.

When you twist your torso sideways, it tightens up your hips and can actually provide you will momentum as you switch to the other side/ the other arm.

Think of each stroke like you are twisting a spring. When the spring is released, you can turn your body sideways with it and almost “ride” out the momentum that the spring releases after it’s been twisted up.

Incorporating A Body Roll

Begin by practicing the Front Glide Side Glide Drill (found here) where you practice taking your breaths in a side glide, rather than just simply turning your head.

Remember, incorporating body position into any skill is key! Body position is always the most important step.

Once you have gotten the hang of the turning that you need to build into your stroke, begin to practice a front crawl drill I call “Shoulder Down” Front Crawl.

It’s an easy drill. Simply slow your front crawl down so that you’re only doing one stroke at a time, pausing with your arm above your head after each stroke and then FOCUS on putting your shoulder underneath where your ear is.

Another way of thinking of this is to simply think, shoulder under ear front crawl!

Try This Out

The body roll is really helpful when you’re looking for that next tip to transform your efficiency to the next level!

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Cheers gang!


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