Single & Double Arm Boosts in Synchronized Swimming

Knowing how to do a single and double arm boost, or “jump,” is a skill you just can’t live without. You will have to perform at least one jump as a required element in every technical program or age group routine, but you’ll see that boosts tend to pop-up throughout all synchro routines.

Here’s a guide on how to add arms to your boost, some drills to help you practice and improve, and a few tips for avoiding common errors.

Remember the Basics

You must always start out with a high quality boost. Set it up correctly and get as much power out of it as you can. Although you will be anxious to get your arms up, if you don’t start off with proper technique, you’ll limit what you can do in that brief amount of time you’ll have at the peak of your boost.

Get Your Hands Up

The trick here is to move fast and lift your arms to their final position before running out of upward momentum. Your hands have to make it up before gravity gets the best of you and you start to sink.

  1. Do the boost: The initial boost should be done exactly the same way as those performed when you don’t have additional arm choreography.
  2. Quickly lift your arms: As soon as you finish the press with your hands, whip your arm(s) up into the position the choreography demands. Be sure you bring them up through the pathway that you, your teammates, or coach determined beforehand. For example, you might bend through, raise your arms with straight elbows from the front, or bring them up from the side.

The double press is a technique you can add to your boost that’s helpful when you need to sustain your height longer or slow down your descent. A double press is just another whip kick that quickly follows the original kick you did to jump up in the first place.

The wider you can kick, the better, since your legs will act as resistance against the water and slow down your sink.


Try adding boost drills to your practice is during warm-up. The repetition of the exercises will build strength and, if you use proper technique, good muscle memory.

Give these a try:

  • Add Boosts to Your underwater laps: Do four or five in each lap. You can use boosts from your routines or just a basic “V” position for training.
  • Do a lap of boosts lying on your stomach. Push yourself toward the other end of the pool to work on your power.
  • Alternate between thrusts and boosts: Do a thrust (barracuda) with the full descent and back tuck, then swim to the surface and do your boost. Start each one on count one with two measures of eight counts in between each move. Then gradually decrease the amount of counts you use as you build speed. Have a coach count for you. This will not only help your boost, but your set up speed as well.

Avoid These Common Errors


While an unroll is perfect for your barracuda, it won’t look right as part of your jump technique. You can avoid an unroll by keeping your eyes lifted as you set up. This will help you break the surface with your head first and make it more difficult to round your back.

Lift your body up in one piece (as opposed to unrolling your back) to get to the top.

Incomplete Press

It’s tempting sometimes to lift your arms up for the choreography before you’ve completed the full press with your hands. But this will cost you some height and make it more difficult to synchronize since everyone’s arms will be coming from a different starting position, instead of from all the way down.

Long Set-Up Position

In order for your jump to be explosive, your set up position has to be tight (like the coiled-up spring example earlier in this guide). If you’re too stretched out underwater before you start, you won’t be able to spring up. Your jump will be faster and higher if you keep your legs close to your body, and your whole body closer to the surface so that you don’t waste energy getting up there.

Boost Your Boosts

These tips, plus a lot of practice, will make all your jumps faster, higher, and just better all around. As they make their frequent appearance in routines, your comfort and ability performing successful jumps will make you a more confident, able synchronized swimmer.

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