A stronger Front Crawl pull
Updated: Mar 30
Further to an article previously written on the focus we should have with our Front Crawl arms (TTE - Timing, Technique and Emphasis), I'm often asked which phase of the underwater pull does the power really come from. Once understood and exploited you'll know how to pull stronger when swimming Front Crawl.
We must first fully appreciate that it is our arms that are primarily responsible for propelling ourselves through the water when swimming Front Crawl, so hence this is where our focus should be. In order for the arms to be effective in fulfilling this role they must have the 3 key elements - 1. Correct Timing, 2. Correct Technique & 3. Ample Emphasis. Please refer to this article for a greater explanation of what is meant by these 3 key elements.
It is the 3rd point that ties in so well with where the power and propulsion comes from. When swimming Front Crawl we should aim to apply a strong force throughout the entire underwater phase, however, due to the arm being fully extended and further away from the body at the beginning of the pull, we are inevitably weaker, nevertheless we should still be applying a strong force against the water while moving into the catch phase. As the arm accumulates momentum while moving closer to the body, we are able to continue applying this strong force. This in turn generates more pace of the arm and more strength both resulting in more power / force against the water. Although it is the entire pull that is important, the real power comes from the halfway point onwards within each stroke performed.
Take a look at the following clip to demonstrate the catch at the beginning of the pull, as well as illustrating how the pull generates momentum, getting both faster and stronger until the exit point alongside the thighs.
For help on setting up this underwater, strong pulling focus, repeatedly practise some of the following drills:
Front Crawl Catch up.
Front Crawl Pull.