I am a swimmer, especially a butterflyer. I got a weight lifting set for Christmas, but I'm not entirely sure how to utilize it for butterfly, or even swimming in general. I read up on these questions,

What type or amount of weight training is beneficial for a beginning swimmer?

What set of dry-land exercises can I perform that would be equivalent to swimming?

and browsed the internet, but I figured I'd ask it here for this specific stroke. What kinds of exercises (not just weight lifting) and stretching can help supplement butterfly?

Also, what muscles should I focus on working out?

Thanks for any advice!

1 Answer 1


I'm a sprint freestyler, but I do know exercises for fly. Upper chest exercises like incline bench are great for overall strength in your stroke. Lat pull downs and wide grip pull ups increase power through the pull. Squats can make your kick more powerful. Fly mainly uses chest, shoulders, lats, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. more reps with less weight will increase endurance, less reps with more weight will increase strength. If you primarily do the 100 and 200 medley relay I suggest you do less reps at a higher weight, and if you do the 200 vice versa.

Biggest point to remember as you start lifting: as a swimmer, you need to stay flexible. Stretch every day to stay hyper-mobile and maintain flexibility. More range of motion = bigger pull.

If you want a structured personalized workout program designed for swimmers, Nick Folker was the Cal Berkeley swimming weight coach (coaches Nathan Adrian) and is now creating workout programs for people through BridgeAthletic.

Good luck and be safe.

  • As an additional comment to supplement @Jordan's answer - be sure to use weights to balance the muscle groups - butterflyers routinely become 'hunch shouldered'. Work to keep your shoulders in balance and keep good posture - this will help support your shoulders from getting injured.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 23:08

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