How to Improve Your Breaststroke Time Starting Now

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 27 January '22 0
You are reading: How to Improve Your Breaststroke Time Starting Now

Have you ever felt you were doing something wrong when swimming the breaststroke and not known what to do in order to improve? Your dolphin kick during the pullout phase is just as important as your body position when swimming on the surface of the water. Every part of your stroke technique can help to gain or take away precious seconds.

This article will attempt to explain the most common breaststroke technique mistakes swimmers make and will give you tips on how to improve your breaststroke time. We’ll also take a look at some effective swim training tools that can help you achieve a faster breaststroke.

How to Improve Your Breaststroke Time With Simple Technique Tips

How to improve breaststroke time: swimmer doing the breaststroke

The breaststroke is the most technically complex and highly coordinated swim stroke. Unlike the flutter kick in other Olympic swim strokes, such as freestyle and backstroke, your legs provide more forward propulsion than your arms. That is why it is so important that the forward drive through your legs is as effective and productive as possible.

Here are the main mistakes you can make when performing the breaststroke leg kick as well as drills to help you correct your technique and improve your breaststroke time.

Feet Not Rotated Outward Properly

Even if you perform the breaststroke kick properly, if your toes are not flexed toward your tibia, your forward propulsion will be much less effective.

Take the upper body out of the equation and try swimming with your arms along your sides, focusing solely on your leg movement and your ankles in particular.

Not Relaxing the Muscles on the Insides of Your Thighs and Calves During the Outsweep

Focus on these muscles because “forward motion” comes from the inside of your legs. There is a danger of moving your legs without generating any force, making lots of useless movements.

Try applying this newfound focus in the following drill. Competitive swimmers will love this as it forces you to beat your previous lap. 

Swim 6-8 25-meter laps, counting the number of leg kicks you make during one lap of the pool. Aim to make one leg kick less during the next lap compared to previous laps.

Non-Simultaneous Movement

Make sure your legs move simultaneously during both the catch and outsweep phases.

Have you ever swum vertically standing on the spot, making breaststroke movements with your legs with your arms along your sides? Trying this swim technique will teach you how to move both your legs at the same time, while simultaneously reminding you of the power you have in them.

Focus on the symmetric nature of the breaststroke. What has been said about your legs also applies to your arms. This technique can help to teach you the fundamentals of how to swim breaststroke. You will notice inconsistencies in your symmetry much easier this way. 

Elbows Not in Line With Your Hands Throughout the Entire Arm Pull

Remember “wax on, wax off” from the film “Karate Kid”? Well, try “cleaning” the water during your breaststroke pull, imitating the kind of circular motion you make when cleaning a surface.

Try swimming with clenched fists or holding small balls in your hands without letting your head drop below the water during the extension phase. This will allow you to keep an eye on your arm movements.

Stiff Wrists

Make sure you do not rotate, fold or drop your hands in relation to your forearms. When you swim, you must try to imagine that you don’t have a wrist so that you can move your hands without moving your arms.

During your workouts, swim first with one arm and then with the other, keeping the arm you are not moving stretched out in front of you. This will help you to gain awareness of this technique before swimming fast with both arms.

Going Beyond Your Shoulder Line With Your Hands During the Pull Phase

Your arm movement should always be in front of you, if you lose sight of your hands because they are underneath your body or beyond your shoulder line, then you are making a mistake.

Add this simple drill to your breaststroke swimming workouts. Try moving your arms faster than usual while swimming, thereby reducing the amount of time between one stroke cycle and the next. Begin by counting to three between one arm stroke and the next, then only to two, and finally, just to one.

Non-Streamlined Position

The breaststroke is all about rhythm and coordination. Make the most of the forward thrust provided by your leg kick and make sure you do not move your head left or right, always keeping it in line with your shoulders. This simple swimming tip will help to minimize water resistance, giving you another simple method of how to swim faster.

How to Improve Breaststroke Time With Swim Training Aids

How to improve breaststroke time: swimmer holding a paddle

There’s a lot of equipment out there that can give you that edge you need to help you with your competitive swimming. Let’s take a look at some training aids that are suited to breaststroke training.

Elite Finger Paddle

Due to the complex nature of the breaststroke, adding too much resistance could lead to injury. Most hand paddles will get the job done but are a bit risky to use when it comes to the breaststroke. As its name suggests, the Elite Finger Paddle doesn’t cover the entire hand and will give you some resistance without risking injury. 

Added resistance can lead to a deeper awareness of your stroke and can help you to gain strength as you work your muscles harder than usual.

Powerfin Pro

Although you cannot swim breaststroke with regular swim training fins, they are a great tool for your training, as they help you improve your leg strength in the water and your flexibility.

The Powerfin Pro is a 100% silicone fin with an open heel, which supports ankle flexibility. You can add massive power to your flutter kicks with a fin such as this, allowing you to concentrate more on your upper-body work. 

Swim Snorkel Pro III

Adding a snorkel to breaststroke training can initially seem strange since breathing during breaststroke doesn’t impact your movement too much like it does in front crawl. But, a swim snorkel, such as the Swim Snorkel Pro III, can allow you to make some new modifications to your training. 

This snorkel covers the front of your face, resulting in minimal drag and allows you to swim with no breathing interruptions. By taking another part of this famously complicated stroke out of the equation, you allow yourself to concentrate more on the movements the rest of your body is making. 

Improving Your Breaststroke Time Is Simple 

Two swimmers standing near a pool

Every swim coach will have a bag of tricks to help swimmers improve their breaststroke. A lot of the time, it’s the simplest solutions, which may have passed you by, that can be the most effective. The solutions may be simple, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done to shave off those seconds. Remember to keep your stroke as symmetrical as you possibly can and to always keep your hands in front of your face. Pay attention to feet placement and keeping your elbows in line.

Training tools can help too. You can add resistance with fins and paddles or simplify your stroke with a swim snorkel. Check out the arena online store for a huge selection of swimwear and swim training tools that can help you to improve times and to enjoy yourself in the water.


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arena coaches

Swim coaches, trainers and experts will give you all kinds of tips for performing at your best in both training and races.