Freestyle is the fastest and most often-used stroke in fitness and competitive swimming. Also called the Australian Crawl or front crawl, freestyle is a long axis stroke, meaning your power generates along your length, around which you rotate in the water.
You focus on body rotation and maintaining a streamlined position in the water when swimming freestyle. Minimize the turbulence you create in the water and the water's resistance against your body by keeping your head steady, and your elbows high on your return arm movement.
How many calories you burn depends on the intensity with which you swim, and how heavy you are. The American Heart Associations says if you weigh 150 pounds and swim at a rate of 25 yards per minute, your burn 225 calories per hour. You burn 500 calories per hour if you increase your pace to 50 yards per minute. You burn 650 calories per hour swimming 50 yards per minute if you weigh 200 pounds.
Use plastic hand paddles to increase the upper-body workout you get swimming freestyle laps. Short, stiff swimming fins increase the workload for your legs, as well as overall effort, causing you to burn more calories. A drag suit is a looser-fitting suit you wear over your regular suit, which increases your drag in the water and makes you work harder to move forward, resulting in the expenditure of more energy.