Over a decade ago as we were starting the Drill of the Week, we published a drill called Shoulder Pop. It’s great that’s still so valid, and here’s some advanced views on that.
Why do it:
Leading the recover of backstroke with your shoulder allows for a cleaner recover, creating less resistance, and encouraging more rotation in the body.
How to do it:
1) This is basically just swimming backstroke, but focusing on leading the recovery by lifting the shoulder first!
2) Keep the shoulder high, and as close to your face as possible during the recovery.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
Focus on keeping the shoulder as clean as possible for as long as possible during the recovery. Avoid PUSHING the shoulder up, but rather, focus on rotating the body and shrugging a bit to initiate the recovery.
Incorporate this technique as much as possible in all your backstroke work. It will pay great dividends.