Front crawl is a stroke which needs both a good technique and strength. To improve, you can join a group lesson or have private lessons with an instructor. You can also train alone, using different accessories, which will strengthen your muscles and help you sequence movements. Why would you want to do this? To engender a sense of well-being, help tone your body but also for the pleasure of feeling your body glide through the water!
PERFECTING THE ARM MOVEMENT
With a pull buoy
The pull buoy is a small float, shaped like a figure 8, which you wedge between your thighs or calves to prevent your legs from moving. When the legs are unable to move, the arms muscles have to work harder to pull you along. In addition, by immobilizing the legs, the feet can no longer help balance the body. The abdominal and back muscles need to work harder to keep the body stable and prevent lateral deviation. When you choose your pull buoy, check that it's suitable for your body type (men and women's bodies are not identical!) and that it's made from a non-chafing foam. To complement the pull buoy and for maximum efficiency, you can also use elastic swim bands to secure your ankles.
Nabaiji pull buoy, Nabaiji elastic swim bands
You can also use paddles to strengthen your arms and improve awareness of your arm pull. These accessories help you move more efficiently. They come in different shapes and sizes. Paddles that are slightly larger than your hand are used to improve your arm pull. The largest paddles are used for strengthening muscles and are specifically for swimmers who have already used smaller paddles. In all cases, before training with paddles remember to warm up without using any equipment.
Or simply with a kickboard
The kickboard allows you to perform a movement with one arm while holding the kickboard with the other; and then alternate!
Fins help to develop leg muscles and improve stamina. On a technical level, they help increase awareness of your arm pull and leg movements when swimming. They help you correct certain faults and practise new, improved habits when swimming front crawl without accessories. To derive full benefit from your fins, alternate between sets of lengths with and without fins: that way you'll be better able to apply what you've learnt when using fins. Also consider sprinting over short distances: speed makes you more aware of your arm pull. Then, rest!
Happy swimming and long live sport!