When it comes to front crawl breathing, there are two techniques to try out: trickle breathing or explosive breathing.
Are you one of those swimmers who gets to the end of your first length or lap, and collapses in a breathless heap feeling like you're going to pass out from exhaustion? Read on, because the solution to your lack of breath is right here.
Before I explain the different types of breathing technique, it is important to understand how and when to breathe.
The key points to consider:
Explosive and trickle breathing techniques refer to how you exhale as you swim.
You may be completely unaware of how you breathe when you are swimming front crawl so now is the time to take control of your technique.
Although trickle breathing is usually the easiest and most widely used, explosive breathing does work well for some people. Therefore it is important to try both and experiment.
Breathing frequency is very much an individual thing. Some swimmers start out breathing every 4 strokes or more and then increase the frequency to every stroke as their energy levels drop off.
Some find it easy to just breath every stroke to the same side right from the start. This helps them to establish a steady rhythm and sustain a smooth stroke over a longer distance.
There is a matter of fitness level and your breathing pattern could be dictated by your stamina, or lack of it. The more you swim, the more your stamina will increase and this will improve your front crawl breathing by default.
1. Holding the breath during the swimming stroke
This comes naturally to most people but it is not necessarily the most energy efficient way of swimming.
It is very common, especially for beginners, to hold their breath and adopt an explosive breathing technique without knowing they are doing so.
Breath holding causes an increase in carbon dioxide in the system, which increase the urgency to breathe. This can cause swimmers to become breathless very quickly.
Trickle breathing is the most effective breathing technique for beginners as it allows a gentle release of carbon dioxide from the lungs, which then makes inhalation easier.
2. Lifting the head instead of roll the head to the side.
Lifting the head causes the legs to sink and the overall body position to be disturbed and the swimming stroke to be inefficient.
The best exercise for perfecting trickle breathing and ensuring the head is not lifting is to hold a float with a diagonal grip and kick. The diagonal grip allows space for the head to roll to the side.
My 'How To Swim Front Crawl' ebook contains some basic front crawl breathing exercises and shows how to get your breathing to fit into your arm pull and leg kick actions.
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