Good technique when swimming is absolutely key in helping you go further and faster. Effort and commitment in training will only get you so far when you have poor technique slowing you down and preventing progress. Perfecting your technique will make sure every movement is powerful, efficient and adding value.
It is very easy to swim breaststroke with poor technique, more so than any other stroke (it is much easier to balance the body in this position). But poor technique will have a negative impact, increasing drag to make your swim slower and putting excessive strain on your joints.
Here are some tips on perfecting your breaststroke technique:
Minimise your arm action
The key to powerful breaststroke is all in the legs, as they produce 70-80% of propulsion. So when thinking about technique, you should focus on developing a strong kick and then avoiding frontal drag after the kick. Don’t make the mistake of working your arms too hard –avoid doing a huge, sweeping action, instead keep your action refined, ensuring your elbows stay within the span of your shoulders.
Kick behind you, not beneath you
Many people make the mistake of kicking downwards, instead of behind themselves when they swim breaststroke. When you’re kicking, try to bring your heels up to your bum, and avoid bringing your knees up towards your chest. This should ensure you stay straight in the water, avoiding tucking into yourself and slowing down.
Avoid the ‘screwkick’ at all costs
Numerous people swim breaststroke with a screwkick – a disjointed action when the legs are doing totally different things. This confused kick slows you down massively, so be sure to keep your legs symmetrical and following the same movement, at the same time. Check you are doing it right by swimming on your back while doing breaststroke legs – you’ll be able to clearly see your legs and make sure they’re working symmetrically.
Keep your arms straight as your legs come together
When your legs come together at the end of the stroke should be the quickest point of your stroke. Minimising drag to keep momentum going for as long as possible at this point is crucial. Aid this by avoiding pulling with your arms, and keeping them straight in front of you – this will keep your streamlined and help you glide through the water easily. Don’t pull your arms too early or you’ll risk creating drag and wasting the force of your kick. Keeping your chin tucked in and your gaze looking down will also help.
Keep your head still when you breathe
Breathing during breaststroke is much easier than in any of the other strokes as your body is flat in the water. However, many people make the error of lifting or jerking their head and neck out of the water when they breathe. This is unnecessary as your arms will bring your mouth clear of water without any extra effort. Craning your head will only compress your neck and could lead to back pain. Plus, for every inch you lift your head out the water, your hips drop two, increasing resistance and further slowing you down.
Consider a session with a swimming coach
Struggling to improve your technique on your own and looking for some professional advice? At David Lloyd Clubs we have both indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools where our expert coaches are on hand to help you improve. To find your local club and enquire about joining, find your local club here.