At the beginning of the catch on butterfly, a chest forward hips up position helps engage our core on the pull. At the very beginning of the stroke, the dolphin motion helps strengthen the pull. It’s not just all arms. Engaging the core can help lessen the stress on the arms and shoulders.
Wall Press: For example, watch me do a wall press. Notice the difference between just using arms when pressing against the wall and getting the hips and core involved. Good butter-fliers use more than just their arms. They engage their entire body? Press the chest into the wall. Throw your hips back.
Kick-board Press: In addition to the wall press, here’s a simple stretch that you can do on deck to help your younger swimmers get a feel for “pressing the chest” properly. Note, we’re striving for a chest forward, hips up position. You can’t press the chest properly without getting your hips up.
Kick-board Balance: Head position is also very important. It’s difficult to press the chest properly if your head is too high. Balancing a kick board on you arms and shoulders will help you stretch forward for the catch.
So remember, it’s not all in the arms. If you press the chest, if you engage your core, you’ll have a stronger pull without tiring out your arms so much.