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How To Swim Breaststroke For Beginners – Arms & Legs Together

The final stage of how to swim breaststroke for beginners is getting the arms and legs to work together.

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If you have been following this series on breaststroke you should now be quite comfortable with the breaststroke arm action, the breaststroke arm action and breathing and the breaststroke kick as separate units. Now its time to put it all together.

How To Swim Breaststroke For Beginners - Making It All Work

Putting your arm action together with your leg kick in breaststroke is quite simple really. I have a drill that I use to help correct the breaststroke of my swimming students and it works just as well for new swimmers to breaststroke.

The thing about breaststroke is that it should be performed in such a way as to make sure that there is always something moving. When your legs are still your arms should be moving when your arms are still your legs should be moving. And so on.

The reverse of that is that your arms and legs should not be moving all at the same time. Now when you see good swimmers it looks like everything moves simultaneously but the is a moment in any good breaststrokers stroke when there is a glide and only the legs are moving and the legs are still when the arms are moving.

Trust me on this if there is no glide then you will be moving too slowly in the water and you will not be moving as efficiently as you could. So make sure you do this drill as I describe it as best you can. As you get better at it you can get faster and faster. The faster you go the more it will look like you are moving things together but if you have done it right there will be a glide and there will be times when you legs are not moving but your arms are and you arms are moving but you legs are not.

This is the drill:

You must only do one action at a time.


Start in the torpedo position like this:

Image of young female swimmer in torpedo position with face in the water: This article is about How To Swim Breaststroke For Beginners
(Fig.#1) Start Breaststroke Torpedo

Legs and Breath

Next bring both your legs up at the same time and perform a frog kick. Remember that both legs must do exactly the same thing at the same time.
Like this:

Image of young Swimmer moving her legs out for the breaststroke kick
(Fig.#2) Breaststroke Kick Action Whilst Breathing Out

This is where you breathe out. Blowing out all your air out, under the water (Fig.#2).

Torpedo Again

You then return to the torpedo position like this:

Image of young female swimmer in torpedo position with face in the water.
(Fig.#3) Return To Start Breaststroke Torpedo


Then perform your arm action like this:

Image of young swimmer with legs bent and arms starting to move to chest to do breaststroke breating
(Fig.#4) Breaststroke Breathing Action

This is where you get to breathe in (Fig.#4). You get to breathe in at every stroke if you want to when doing breaststroke. That is why some people mistakenly call it breath stroke. But it is breast stroke as the arms cross the breast when you stroke. When you get better at it you may want to breathe less often in order to move faster. But for now lets do it at every stroke.

As the swimmer (Fig.#4) moves his arms into position to take a breath his legs naturally start to bend. This is natural and should not be interfered with because as the stroke gets faster the middle torpedo (Fig.#3) will effectively disappear and legs in this position are ready for the kick phase. But this should happen naturally and should be allowed to do so. That is don't correct as the second torpedo disappears, unless it is affecting the stroke or the kicking action.

The swimmers (Fig.#4) head starts to come out of the water at the start of the stroke so that it is in place to take the breath by the time the arms get to the position they are at in the Fig.#4. New swimmers should not be allowed to build up a habit of lifting their head to breathe after their arms are under their chest. To do so will result in breathing faults that are harder to fix latter on.

Back to Torpedo

Now return to your torpedo position like this:

Image of young female swimmer in torpedo position with face in the water.
Return To Start Breaststroke Torpedo

Now all you have to do is repeat the whole thing all over again for every stroke you want to make.

The sequence is: Torpedo, Legs and breath, Torpedo again, Arms, Back to torpedo (TLTAB).

As I said as you get better, move faster and over time you should have a reasonably proficient breaststroke.


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