Breast Stroke Swimming Tips
The breast stroke is a beautiful swimming stroke that can be fast and intense, as in a swimming race, or leisurely and relaxing for casual swimmers.
When done properly the breaststroke looks beautiful and is a pleasant and fun swimming stroke to do.
How to Swim Breast Stroke
The breaststroke is done by using the hands and arms to pull the body forward and the legs to employ a frog like kick and glide. To begin the breaststroke the swimmer will be on their belly in the water and the legs and knees should be close together and pulled up toward the chest. The arms should be positioned against the chest with the palms together as in prayer.
To move forward the swimmer must kick out and apart with the legs and then quickly squeeze them back together. The best way to describe the motion is like a frog kicking. There are two phases to the kick when doing the breaststroke. The first is called the thrust phase and the second is referred to as the insweep phase.
Beginning the Breast Stroke
From the starting position the legs will be stretched out behind the body with the feet moving and the knees together. If the knees go too far under water it will increase the amount of drag on the body and slow the swimmer down. The feet are then pointed out to begin the thrust phase where the legs are moved back into the original starting position while keeping the knees together.
The legs should move slowly while preparing for the thrust phase and then quickly through the thrust phase to get the most forward motion from the movement. Once the kick is completed the body should be streamlined with the toes pointing out and the arms extended completely in front of the swimmer. The head will be down with the face in the water as the body glides forward.
In addition to the frog kick and extension the swimmer will use their arms to move forward. There are three parts to the arms movements: the outsweep, the insweep and the recovery. In the outsweep the palms should be turned outward with the arms outstretched in front of the body hands facing out.
In the insweep the hands will pull the arms around in a circular motion back to the original starting position with hands together as in prayer at the chest. This is the recovery position. The main goal of the arm motions is to get the most thrust out of the insweep phase and a minimum amount of drag during the recovery phase.
During the breaststroke the head will be down under the water. When the hands begin to pull forward this will propel the head up and out of the water to take a breath. When the head goes back into the water the swimmers arms should be beginning to plunge forward with the next frog kick.
How to Swim Breast Stroke Video
Casual swimmers may find it more comfortable to keep the head out of the water altogether and breathe whenever the need arises. Both methods are acceptable.
The whole motion of the breaststroke should be smooth with a gliding motion. To continue the swim the swimmer simply repeats the steps over and over until they are done.
Breast Stroke Techniques
There are other methods of doing the breaststroke in addition to the above outlined way. These variants are done when a swimmer feels more comfortable doing them. One variant is to move the knees apart during the preparation phase instead of keeping them together. This is an easier way for beginners to do the movement when first learning the swim. It is also less stressful on the knees.
Swimmers may also choose to do a scissor kick instead of the traditional frog like kick. Swimmers in competitive swimming are not allowed to use the scissor kick method and swimming instructors tend to discourage their students from doing it. Another alternative kick to use is the dolphin kick but this style is also not permitted in swimming competitions.