Breaststroke Breathing Technique

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Do you struggle with your breaststroke breathing? Can't work out when to inhale and when to exhale? Maybe you breathe at the right time, but you find yourself getting out of breath sooner than you would like. Sound familiar? Read on.

Breaststroke breathing technique explained for beginners

Breaststroke Breathing Demonstration

Breaststroke breathing usually occurs naturally as overall breaststroke technique action has a natural body lift which gives the ideal breathing point with each stroke.

Inhalation occurs at the end of the in-sweep as the body allows the head to lift clear of the water. The head should be lifted enough for the mouth to clear the surface and inhale, but not excessively to keep the frontal resistance created by this movement to a minimum.

The head returns to the water to exhale as the arms stretch forward to begin their recovery phase.

FREE EBOOK:  all of the technique tips here can be found in my 'Breaststroke Technique' book, along with a couple of bonus drills to help you perfect some essential parts of the stroke.

Don't miss out!  Click here to grab a FREE copy of my book. 

Breaststroke breathing technique for beginners

Explosive or Trickle Breathing?

Correct breathing technique is essential to maintain a smooth swimming stroke and trickle breathing is generally easier and less energy-consuming. 

The act of breathing in and out as you swim is more comfortable than holding your breath. Therefore, performing inhaling and exhaling explosivly in a short time can be very exhausting.

Some swimmers perform the stroke with the head raised to keep the mouth and nose clear of the water at all times, which simplifies the overall breathing technique.

Get your breathing technique in sync with the rest of your breaststroke

Now you know how and when to breathe, use the drills in my book 'How To Swim Breaststroke' and get your breathing in time with your arm pulls and leg kicks.  

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How To Swim Breaststroke with ease and confidence.


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Do You Make These Common Breaststroke Breathing Mistakes?

Some beginners experience difficulty breathing during breaststroke. The two main reasons are: 

  • Not lifting the head enough to clear the water surface and inhale
  • Holding the breath and therefore failing to breathe out into the water

This swimming stroke needs a powerful leg kick, and it is this leg kick that gives a natural body lift. 

Together with the arm action, enough lift should enable the mouth to clear the water surface to inhale.  

The most common mistake made with the breathing technique for breaststroke is failing to exhale during the glide phase making it impossible to inhale again or forcing the swimmer to use an explosive breathing technique.

Although explosive breathing is a valid breathing technique for this swimming stroke, it is usually only used competitively. 

When swum recreationally, exhaling during the glide phase of the stroke is more efficient and uses less energy. 

Using a woggle or swim noodle under the arms provides support and allows the swimmer to swim in slow motion while practising the breathing technique. Extending the body into a long glide as exhalation takes place ensures the breathing takes place simultaneously, keeping the stroke at its most efficient.

For more breaststroke drills, click here. 

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