Learn to Swim Butterfly: Body Dolphin Butterfly Drill

A novice swimmer who practices the hip-delay 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 butterfly stroke movements with a trick that prevents fatigue and so you can better focus on your swimming technique.

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.

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.
  • Do a whole butterfly stroke cycle in one go at the end of the last body dolphin:
  • 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 added between each arm stroke. Adding more allows you to relax and to maintain the flow of the body undulation better, but you might run out of air. Adding 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 you will find an overview of our series of articles to learn the butterfly stroke.

Each article includes one or several drills/exercises to be mastered.

The current article, which is part of this series, is highlighted:

By completing the different steps of this learning path, you should soon be able to swim the butterfly stroke.

Good luck!

2 thoughts on “Learn to Swim Butterfly: Body Dolphin Butterfly Drill”

  1. Avatar

    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

    1. Christophe

      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.

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