Learning different strokes – breaststroke

I have blogged elsewhere about my swimming to get fitter. One benefit of this is that I’ve been able to improve my technique in my three strokes. I thought the things I’ve learnt might interest you. First, what I’ve learnt about breaststroke.

In my other blogs, I’ve explained that the Swimfit programmes, Get Toned and Get Fit, ask swimmers to use their favourite, second favourite and third favourite strokes. My favourite stroke was, and remains, breaststroke. I thought I could swim it quite well. Even so, I noticed improvements.

Firstly, I can’t recommend enough the use of goggles. Ever since I’ve had them I’ve found it much easier to put my face in the water and make a cleaner stroke. As a bonus, they are tinted so they are also good for sun glare at the beach!

Secondly, I used the “training camp” videos on the Swimfit website to learn better techniques.  Find the training camp here.

The highlights were:

  • Unlearn my efforts to pull at the same time with my arms and legs!
  • To achieve the goal of moving forward all the time, learn to let my legs lead the stroke. Then as I close my legs stretch out with my arms so they are then ready to pull in their turn.
  • Focus on lifting my shoulders, rather than my head, out of the water to take a breath. It helps prevent back ache.
  • The one-armed drill made me realise that my stroke was pushing water sideways. As a result I was wasting energy, each arm pushing against the other. I changed the way I was pulling so I was pulling myself forward instead.

During the course of the 30 sessions of the Get Toned programme these improvements meant that I was able to swim much harder using breaststroke than before. I actually got my heart rate 20 points higher than at the start. I’m not sure whether I was faster or not. Towards the beginning I timed a slow length at 40 seconds and a fast one at 30 seconds. Later I did two lengths including a twist turn in 1 minute and 2 seconds so that may be slower!

All in all I feel pleased that I’ve improved even my favourite stroke.


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