Breast Stroke Swimming Technique: Overview, How to Swim, Video

The breast stroke is the best known and most popular of the competitive swimming strokes. If a person can only swim one stroke, it will most likely be the breast stroke. That's why we can consider it one of the basic swimming strokes.

Breaststroke is the most popular stroke.

The breast stroke is swum in a prone position. Both arms move synchronously and execute short, half-circular movements underwater. The legs also move synchronously and execute a whip kick.

The Beginner's Swim Stroke

The breast stroke is often the first swim stroke taught to beginners because at a basic level you can keep your head out of the water and thus avoid breathing issues.

Later on you can graduate to a more effective style where you submerge your head once per stroke cycle. This allows you to maintain a streamlined position for a longer time and thus minimize drag. You just lift your head above water once per stroke cycle for a quick inhale.

Breaststroke Swimming Video

Here's a nice video of a breaststroke swimmer:

One small thing this swimmer could do to improve his stroke would be to keep his head more in line with his trunk (he should look more downwards rather than towards the end of the pool).

How To Swim Breaststroke: Overview

Let's now have a brief overview of the different phases that occur over a stroke cycle:

  1. Let's consider an initial position, where you are floating in the water on your stomach. Your arms are close together and extended forward. Your head is in line with your trunk, and you look straight down. Your legs are kept together and your toes are pointed.
  2. Now the active phase of the arms starts. Your hands rotate outwards, your arms separate, and your body forms an Y-like shape.
  3. When your arms are about two feet apart, your elbows flex, and your hands continue to move backwards but also downwards. Your knees start to flex and your feet start to recover towards the buttocks.
  4. Once your hands have moved past your shoulders they move towards each other rather than backwards, until they meet below the chest.
  5. As your hands move towards each other your head and trunk rise above water, and your feet continue to move towards the buttocks.
  6. Your upper body is at it's highest point when your hands have met below your chest and your feet are at your buttocks.
  7. Now the propulsive phase of the legs starts. Your feet kick backwards and apart while your arms extend forward under water. Your chest and your head drop in the water again.
  8. Once your legs are completely extended they are brought together. You then glide for a short moment in that position.
  9. You start a new breast stroke cycle once the momentum of the glide fades.

Detailed Swimming Technique

The following articles describe the breaststroke technique in more detail:

Head and Body Positions: This article describes how you should position your head and body while swimming breaststroke. This is important if you want to develop an efficient swim stroke but also if you want to avoid neck injuries.

Breaststroke Arm Stroke: This article describes the arm movements in more detail. A slow-motion video of correct arm movements is shown and various arm speeds are discussed.

The Breaststroke Kick: This article covers breaststroke's whip kick. The different phases of the kick are explained and illustrated with a slow-motion video. Additional tips to learn the breaststroke kick are given.

Breaststroke Swimming and Breathing: This article explains how and when to breathe while swimming breaststroke. It covers both the head above water and the head under water styles. Additional breathing tips are given.

Young man swimming the breast stroke When swum swiftly breaststroke can burn quite some calories.

Learn How To Swim

Learn Swimming Breaststroke: This article gives an overview of our sequence of progressive swimming drills to learn the breast stroke. The following topics are covered:

  • At first the arm movements, leg movements and breathing technique are practiced in isolation on dry land.
  • After this, each component of the swim stroke is practiced in isolation in the water, using pull buoys and water noodles to provide additional buoyancy.
  • Subsequently all movements of the swim stroke are practiced together in the water, again using swim noodles and pull buoys.
  • Finally once you feel confident enough you graduate to swimming breaststroke without swimming aids.
  • Congratulations!

Have Some Tips or Tricks about Breaststroke to Contribute?

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