Learn to crawl: instructions in 4 easy steps

Learn to crawl: Video instructions in 4 easy steps

There is no quicker way to navigate your pool under your vapor than to crawl. And with the right technology, an elegant image appears. Basically, there are four sequences of movement that must be trained separately from each other. Former professional swimmer Timo Embacher shows how it’s done.

Have you always wanted to know how to crawl but didn’t have the right instructions? It is impressive when a good swimmer performs laps in freestyle with a certain calm. Front crawl is the fastest swimming technique – and notoriously difficult. That’s not true, says Tony Imbacher, a former professional swimmer. Although performance depends on the situation – “but basically everyone can learn to crawl”. Shows how to do this in the video above.

Crawling is basically possible for everyone

All it takes is the right technique and plenty of rest and patience – it should be one or two training sessions per week. It seems possible – which is why FITBOOK met six-time German champion Tony Imbacher at Sportpark Luftschiffhafen Potsdam – more precisely at the facility’s flow channel – and had them demonstrate and explain the correct technique of crawling.

How do I breathe properly?

“When you breathe in, you have to make sure that you are discharging nearly all of the oxygen that you inhale underwater,” explains Imbacher. This is best learned in the so-called triple breathing, also known as the triple pull. The professional explains the details in the video.

Also interesting: learning to swim with backstroke with a cup trick

Should I do my endurance training first?

Freestyle swimming uses the whole body. Endurance training in the form of jogging or cycling is only useful to a limited extent – because the muscles used when swimming are different.

Also interesting: go on a flying start on your bike! How to double the triple leg strength

Want to know how many calories you burn while swimming? No problem, thanks to our calorie calculator…

Learn to crawl – instructions in 4 steps

“A correct crawl technique consists of four building blocks,” explains Imbacher. Before you start crawling, you should definitely practice it individually. For preliminary exercises to work the leg and arm, it is better to use a swimming board.


The main force when crawling comes from the legs because they have the largest muscles. Make sure your feet are more extended than necessary and do not bend. From this position, leg kicks, called “kicks”, are performed continuously one after the other. According to Embacher, one of the main mistakes in crawling is one of the main ones!

Also interesting: How does a free diver know when to surface?

arm work

Clean drag underwater is not tense, calm and stretches forward as far as possible. Then the so-called elbow reprisals are performed – exactly how this happened can be seen in the video.


This technique, also known as “hand turn” or “swim t-shirt”, means clean guidance of the hands.

overall movement

Only when you work all three introductory exercises individually do you get them into the water as an all-out free movement (step 4). You can learn more about this in the video above.

Not enough to crawl? In this video, Toni Embacher explains how to properly spin in the pool in order to waste as little time as possible and swim your path efficiently. Enjoy swimming!

Note: The video is from an old article. Tony is now 35 years old.

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