2 Types of Butterfly Undulation

A lot of people that work, this is what I actually think is interesting from a technical perspective and kind of what I alluded to at the very beginning of the presentation is there’s a lot of people that were wondering how are you going to spend an hour talking about Butterfly undulation. Well, the cool part is there two different ways to undulate and Butterfly. So the caveat is that most people thought there was a flat flash stroke going on in an undulating stroke, there is no flat butterfly. Even people who stay lower to the water, like the number one on the screen the chin surfers, they’re still having to undulate once again to get through a stroke and do all the things that we said on why undulating is important strengthens your pull. It also strengthens your kick. So, even if you choose a specific style, either a chin surfer or high raiser, you’re still going to be undulating it’s just the amount of undulation that you do differs. So I want to make that super clear, because a lot of times as coaches, we think about oh, you just need to undulate and fly. Yeah, that’s true, but there are different ways that you can kind of manipulate how much of that undulation is happening, depending on your skillset or your swimmer, also their stature, what their ability level is, and also their goals to manipulate their body to get to give them the best probable outcome of being successful. And so, what technique coaching, that’s what I love is, I’ve worked for different businesses and different coaching, places where they’ve told me specifically how I’m supposed to train someone it’s almost like a cookie-cutter, cut out of like it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re doing, how much you weigh. You’re all going to swim like this, and I don’t believe that, because we all don’t swim the same way. You can look at all the Olympians, they have different strokes. So I think as coaches, the best ways to get educated on all the different kinds of techniques there are different strokes and different variations, so that way when you’re standing in front of your swimmers, you’re able to make the best decision for them based off of who they are, what they’re doing and where they want to go, rather than just kind of saying what the masses are doing and hoping that the hat fits. 


So, as far as the undulation types are concerned, you have chin surfers and you have high raisers. Chin surfers are people are, is the Butterfly stroke that came from Michael Phelps, so that iconic photo that you always see of Michael with his chin on the water, and his hands out to the side, is a perfect prime example of chin surfing. I also picked this guy because I thought this was a pretty cool angle on the picture, but you can see there how the chin is like right on top of that water and it’s serving that little wave of water that’s crashing into his chest, as he’s flying forward. So when you’re tuned surfing you’re sitting low towards the surface of the water, a swimmer is still undulating, but most of the focus is on moving forward throughout the stroke. I talked about this with my swimmers is flying forward so instead of trying to maximize your up and down, you’re still going to be up and down a bit, but you want to try to go as far forward every single time as you’re throwing your arms. As far as the second type of butterfly undulation you have high raisers. This is seen as swimmers who breathe with their heads very high above the surface of the water. To do this, they have to have an inordinate amount of shoulder flexibility to drop their chest below their body line on entry. So to get up means you have to get down and to get down really, really well. A lot of times you’ll see the chest below the shoulders. So this picture of this guy here doing some resistance training you can see how his chest here is below his shoulder line, which is that’s a ton of shoulder flexion to be able to get into that position because he’s opened up through his chest. So you don’t necessarily have to go this low if you’re a high racer, but you do have to get your hips up, so it’s kind of like how high you go is how low you should try to go under, even though the darkness of how low you go under the surface is going to be less than how high you go above.


So basically you want to use the power of the undulating motion to help enhance both. And even though there’s lots of up and down, move it is going to help them be more efficient moving forward. So if you look at these two different styles here people say loud people who stay high. What I found is that people who say low, have a nice kick on the back end so they don’t necessarily get that extra anchor in the water with their back to engage against the water to move some more water behind them, compared to someone who’s a high raiser who can get into a position to like grab and hold on to some water. So chin surfers tend to be better at Dolphin Kicking, whereas high raisers are people that haven’t, maybe a decent Dolphin Kick, but they require some help to balance out what the chin surfer may have naturally in their dolphin. So, they need some more help from the arms and necessarily the chin surfers are getting. Look at the Butterfly stroke to the majority of the strokes, power does come from your legs, so if you are a chin surfer yes you’re moving water with your arms but most of the power propulsion is coming from, what your legs are doing so high raisers are requiring more help from their arms than they do from their legs, which is why we have to move the body a little bit more.