Master Your Swimming Stroke: Breaststroke

Breaststroke is the most employed stroke by people who are using a pool session to improve their fitness level, perhaps after a gym work out as part of a warm down routine. It is considered by most swimming teachers to be the easiest of the conventional strokes to learn. As such, it is usually taught to kids and adult learners first. One of its benefits, particularly for older swimmers, is that it can be swum with a relatively slow stroke rate. However, once swimmers get used to regular pool sessions using the stroke they tend to make natural increases to their stroke rate. This has the knock-on effect that they tend to lie flatter in the water, improving stroke efficiency. Nonetheless, most swimmers hit a plateau and fail to progress from a rhythm which they find comfortable. By following only a few tips, however, you can improve your breaststroke technique considerably making you faster and more competitive, when it comes to racing. Simple Steps You do not need to be a club swimmer in order to get a kick out of swimming at a race speed using a more advanced breaststroke technique. A simple step that will help you go faster in the water is to position yourself laterally in the pool so that your arms become fully extended in front of you. Stretch out fully with your arm stroke and make sure that your frog leg kick is made with as rapidly as possible on one big thrust. This way, you hands will push as much water backward as possible and propel you through the water. Equally, the thrusting kick technique should raise your speed, giving you a bigger distance of glide before the next stroke. Wear a pair of goggles and be prepared to place your face in the water as you perform each arm stroke. Some breaststrokers like the style because it means their face and hair never have to get wet. However, holding your head proud over the surface slows you down and can put your spine under pressure, so you feel uncomfortable adopting the correct position. Mastering The Stroke Once you have made some improvements to your breaststroke technique try taking a few more measures which will finesse your style. These don’t make a huge difference at first but add up over time. Firstly, when you bend your knees up ready for the kick backward try to bring your heels right up so that they touch – or get near to - your bottom. This means your kick becomes fully extended. Keep your feet flexed when kicking, since this adds more power to the stroke. Secondly, when you lift your head up to take a breath, keep your hands beneath the water line in a cupped position. When your head returns under the surface, empty your lungs so that they are ready for the next deep breath, keeping your blood oxygenated. Tips For Competitive Breaststroke Never be tempted to perform two strokes with only one breath. This will mean that you are likely to be automatically disqualified from a race. Some racers want to take a breath every other stroke, but they still have to lift their head up and put it back down, so it something to avoid getting into the habit of when training. When you take a breath, do not raise your head up to look ahead or twist it to see where the other racers are positioned. Keep your eyes looking down at the water which will mean your head returns under the surface at the correct angle. When you touch in at the finish of a race, make sure that you glide in with both hands at the same time. It can be easy to reach out with one had at the final stroke, but this ends in disqualification, too.

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