Skip to Content

Learn to Swim Butterfly: Body Dolphin Butterfly Drill

Body-Dolphin Butterfly is the next drill in our series of drills to learn the butterfly stroke.

It allows you to practice the movements of the butterfly stroke in such a way that you don’t get tired so quickly. As a consequence, you can stay focused on your swimming technique for longer.

In the previous drill, Hip-Delay Butterfly, you added a few body dolphins in the stroke cycle, first after the underwater arm sweep, and then also after the arm recovery.

A novice swimmer who practices the hip-delay butterfly drill

In Body-Dolphin Butterfly, we use a similar approach, but we always do a complete stroke cycle before adding a few body dolphins between each cycle.

The additional body dolphins allow you to relax your upper body muscles and hence you can practice the butterfly stroke movements for a longer time and at a slower pace.

Video Demonstration

The following video illustrates the Body-Dolphin Butterfly drill:

Drill Instructions

  • Push off the wall in a prone position. Your arms are extended forward and shoulder width apart. Your palms are facing down, and your head is aligned with the spine.
  • Execute two or three hand-lead body dolphins.
  • At the end of the last body dolphin, perform a one full arm stroke cycle as a continuous movement:
  • Continue this sequence of movements for the rest of the length.


Inhale at the start of the underwater arm sweep during the butterfly stroke cycle, when your chest and head rise above the water surface.

Keep your head low and look down and slightly forward while breathing.

Exhale continuously in the water for the rest of the butterfly stroke and the subsequent hand-lead body dolphins.

Additional Tips

Avoid struggle. Use the body dolphins between each butterfly stroke cycle to relax and keep your rhythm.

Experiment with the number of body dolphins included between each arm stroke. Including more allows you to relax and to maintain the flow of the body undulation better, but you might run out of air.

On the other hand, including fewer body undulations is more tiring for your muscles but allows you to get more air.

Remember to stay close to the water surface, both during the body dolphins and during the butterfly strokes.

Learning Path for the Butterfly Stroke

Below is an overview of our series of articles on learning the butterfly stroke. Each article in this series contains one or more drills that have to be mastered. The current article is highlighted:

Once you have gone through all the steps of this learning path, you should be able to swim butterfly without any problems.

Good luck!


Thursday 13th of September 2018

I was wondering where I could download this video so I could review it, maybe you could send it to my email? Also, thanks a lot, this is amazing work


Thursday 13th of September 2018

Hi Tyrone,

I'm sorry, the video platform I use doesn't allow for downloads. This protects me against copycat sites that would use videos without my permission.