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Breaststroke Arms Get Tired
I can’t really swim. I can only swim in about 2ft of water because when my breaststroke arms get tired I put them on the floor. How can I stop my arms from getting tired and how can I swim in a little bit deeper water Help!
There are two issues that need to be addressed here. Firstly you need to build up your confidence with swimming in deeper water and secondly there needs to be a change made to your breaststroke technique.
Let’s deal with your breaststroke technique first of all. Breaststroke gets its power and momentum from the whip kick leg action. The legs drive back and around to give the stroke its thrust and the arms are there to balance and assist.
Momentum is then maintained with a long glide where the arms and legs are straight and together at the same time.
Many people make the mistake of using their arms to haul themselves through the water. This only makes the stroke less efficient and which then leads to a higher energy consumption. This would explain why your arms are getting tired quickly.
Try kicking your legs whilst holding a float or kick board. This will develop your breaststroke leg kick technique and leg strength and stamina. It will most probably be just as tiring to begin with but in time your breaststroke will become stronger.
Ok, so on to your next issue and I’m afraid the answer is an obvious one: get out of the shallow water and swim in deeper water!
Notice I say ‘deeper’ water and not necessarily deep water. By that I mean swim where you can stand up but not where you are able to put your hands down of the pool floor.
The only way to become more confident and stronger swimming out of your depth is to gradually venture there. Whilst you are swimming in 2ft of water where you can put your hands on the floor, you always will do just that, purely out of habit because you can.
Try swimming in water of about shoulder depth and practice stopping and standing mid swim, just to convince yourself you can stand up. Then challenge yourself to swim that little bit further each time you get tired.
This will push your swimming fitness that bit further each time and together with your new found breaststroke leg kick you will be swimming for longer and off into deeper water before you know it.
My best-selling book The Complete Guide To Simple Swimming contains aspects of learning to swim plus over 80 separate swimming exercises to help all parts of basic swimming, including breaststroke leg kick and standing up whilst swimming. You can download it, print out the parts you need and take them to your pool to try out. Click the link below for more information.
Can I use a woggle to develop breastroke arms and the correct technique needed for stage 7?
By stage 7 I presume you mean ASA stage 7? The short answer is yes you can. However, it is not ideal.
A woggle can be used to practice and develop breaststroke arm action because it allows you to move slowly. By swimming slowly, supported by the woggle under your arms, you can be precise about how your arms and mainly your hands move in the water.
The main drawback of using the woggle for breaststroke arms is that it restricts your movement. With the woggle placed under the arms you are not able to tuck in your elbows at the end of the propulsive phase and so the path of the hands is restricted.
This exercise is best used to learn and practice the arm action for breaststroke but other exercises that involve push and glides or leg kicks will help develop the arm action in line with the leg kick and body position.
Remember it is the leg kick for breaststroke that provides most of the propulsion and arm action is there to balance and assist.
Our eBook How To Swim Breaststroke contains 20 separate exercises that help develop all parts of the technique, including the arm action. You can download it instantly and the exercises are easy to follow. Print them out and take them to the pool to try out. Click the link below for more information.
I've been teaching swimming for over 30 years and I built this site so that I can share all my knowledge, wisdom and experience from the thousands of swimming lessons I have had the pleasure of teaching.
So if you're a fellow teacher, beginner swimmer or an improver, there is something here for you. Simply click around and scroll about, or get in touch and ask me a question."
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