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Breaststroke Body Position

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Breaststroke body position is the most important starting point when learning to swim this stroke.  Get this wrong and your stroke will be hard work.  The overall shape and body position should be inclined slightly downwards from the head to the feet. 

For an in-depth look at all aspects of breaststroke together with some simple practical exercises to help perfect the technique, download How To Swim Breaststroke.

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The body should be as flat and streamlined as possible with an inclination from the head to the feet so that the leg kick recovery takes place under the water.

The head movement should be kept to a minimum and the shoulders should remain level throughout the stroke.

The main aim should be good streamlining, however the underwater recovery movements of the arms and legs together with the lifting of the head to breathe, all compromise the overall body position.

Breaststroke body position

In order to reduce resistance created by these movements, as the propulsive phase of an arm pull or leg kick takes place, the opposite end of the body remains still and streamlined.

In other words, as the legs kick to provide propulsion, the arms should be extending forwards to create the optimum streamlined body position at the front.

Similarly as the arms begin to pull around, the legs should be in their glide phase to create the same streamlined body position at the back.

It is common for beginners to have a greater angled body position with the legs deeper underwater. This is especially the case for nervous beginners cautious about lifting their feet up from the pool floor.

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Common Breaststroke Body Position Mistakes

The most common mistake with the body position for breast stroke is being too flat in the water.  The cause of this usually being the face is submerged too much causing the hips, legs and feet to rise to the surface. 

This could then make lifting the face to the front to breathe more difficult.  It could also lead to the feet breaking the surface of the water as they kick and therefore losing power.  

The angled body position can be perfected with a simple push and glide exercise.  Push and glide from the poolside either holding a float or without, but with the head and face up above the water surface. 

Check and correct your body position with this simple exercise

Download these documents to your computer, tablet or mobile device and fine-tune your body position.  Use the technique tips in these exercises to focus on the shape of your body as you swim. 

Push and glide from poolside

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Click here for more breaststroke exercises.

All of these documents are PDF format and are compatible with all tablet and mobile devices.  Some computers may need PDF reading software such as Adobe Acrobat.


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