So my colleague coach Nadya was asked during one of her adult class the other day about what strokes helps one to burn the most calories in order to lose weight.
Most people will guess the Butterfly as it is the most physically demanding stroke where one must kick forcefully to move yourself forward and to propel your upper body above the water to breathe. The amount of calories burn per hour swimming fast butterfly is approx 774 calories and indeed, this is the stroke that burns the most calories but it comes with a big IF. That big IF you’re able to sustain swimming fast butterfly for a long duration. Most non competitive swimmers will not be able to work out long enough before the exhaustion from doing a poorly executed butterfly hits you.
The best stroke to burn the most calories and hence to lose weight is the one you perform the best in. When you swim efficiently, you waste less energy just staying afloat and you work out longer. What most people are able to swim efficiently out of the four competitive strokes are the Frontcrawl and the Breastroke.
Frontcrawl is the fastest of all competitive strokes. You burn 704 calories per hour when you’re swimming at a fast pace. Average lap swimmers can complete an hour swimming freestyle without becoming exhausted because it is an efficient stroke. You swim the freestyle on your side for most of the time, cutting through the water rather than pushing against it. Front crawl is an upper-body dependent stroke, meaning you propel yourself primarily with your shoulders and upper back. When you swim for an entire hour, let your legs trail behind, kicking slowly.
Although breaststroke is the slowest of all four competitive strokes, it burns as many calories per hour as swimming fast freestyle. You burn 704 calories per hour swimming breaststroke. You burn so many calories swimming breaststroke because it requires you to power through the water rather than cutting through the water. You face the water broadside when you swim breaststroke and the flat plane of your chest meets with water's resistance. You rely on your kick for propulsion in breaststroke and your large leg muscles are energy-hungry, making the breaststroke a slow-but-sure calorie burner.
So, the best stroke to burn calories is not necessary the most physically demanding but the one that you can perform efficiently to ensure that you have a long and fruitful workout.