Learn Breaststroke Swimming Technique...

...and download a free Breaststroke Book

Learn breaststroke swimming technique step by step and with a little practice, you will be swimming longer distances without getting so tired.

Download a free copy of my Breaststroke Technique book as you go and keep it so that you can refer to the images and diagrams. 

Scroll down to get started.

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Step 1: Breaststroke Body Position

The best place to start to learn breaststroke swimming technique is the body position. It is the beginning of the timing sequence (which I will cover in step 5) and it's essential to only efficient part of the stroke.  The best drill for perfecting the body position is the 'push and glide' from the pool side:

  1. Start by grabbing the poolside with both hands behind you and put your feet up against the wall, so you are poised and ready to spring away from the wall. 
  2. Take a deep breath and submerge your face - and then immediately...
  3. Let go of the wall and stretch your arms and hands in front of you...
  4. ...as you push hard with both feet and stretch out away from the wall. 

You should aim to create a streamlined body shape that cuts through the water.

Breaststroke body position from a push and glide

Ensure you have:

  • your feet together
  • your head tucked inside your arms
  • your hands together and fingers closed

For more detailed information about breaststroke body position, click here.

Download a Free Breaststroke Technique eBook

Step 2: Breaststroke Leg Kick Technique

The leg kick is a simultaneous, whip action where the legs kick around and back and the soles of the feet push on the water to provide a powerful thrust. Place a float under each arm and start slowly at first to get used to the movement. 

basic breaststroke leg kick drill, using a float under each arm

  1. Push away from the poolside with one foot, looking forward with your chin on the water surface.
  2. Draw your knees up underneath you keeping your legs and feet together and...
  3. ...turn out your feet, exposing the soles to the water behind you.
  4. Kick your feet out, around and back together, keeping your knees as close together as you can. 
  5. As you get used to the action, add more power and acceleration to the movement so that it becomes more of a whip action.

Ensure that:

  • the legs kick around at the same time
  • the feet turn outwards to allow them to push on the water
  • the legs and feet return together and straight

For more in-depth knowledge about breaststroke kicking, click here.

Step 3: Breaststroke Arm Pull

Correct breaststroke arm technique is also a simultaneous action which remain under the water surface (for a recreational breaststroke).  It's main aim is firstly to provide a small amount of propulsion and secondly to add some efficiency to the glide.  Place a woggle under your arms and slowly practice this drill.

how to do breaststroke arms for beginners

  1. Push gently away from the pool side with arms stretched out in front and together
  2. Keeping fingers together, pull the water around in a small circle, keeping your hands in front of you throughout the movement
  3. Allow your hands to scoop around and come together just under your chin
  4. Elbows tuck in (this part of the action is easier when practiced without the woggle)
  5. Both hands then stretch forwards, remaining together as they return to their starting position
correct breaststroke arm technique for beginners

Ensure that you:

  • Fingers remain together
  • Hands and arms remain just under the surface throughout
  • Hands do not pull wide apart
  • Arms stretch forward to form a streamlined shape in front

For more details about each part of breaststroke arm technique, click here.

Step 4: Breaststroke Breathing

Breathing when swimming breaststroke is a rhythmical action that takes place every stroke cycle.  Using the woggle under your arms again, practice this breaststroke breathing drill.

basic drill for learning breathing when swimming breaststroke

  1. Push away from the wall with face submerged and arms straight out in front
  2. Exhale slowly from your mouth, blowing small controlled bubbles as you glide
  3. Begin to the arm pull action by scooping your hands around and raise your head to look forward as you do
  4. As your mouth clears the water surface, begin to inhale and take in a new breath
  5. As the arms complete their movement and begin to stretch forwards, allow your face to submerge and begin to exhale again
  6. Repeat this breathing action with each arm pull
basic breathing when swimming breaststroke

For a more in-depth look at breaststroke breathing, click here.

Step 5: Breaststroke Timing and Coordination

You have taken the time to learn breaststroke swimming technique, and here is where it all comes together.  The timing and coordination for breaststroke follows a sequence of movements that must be followed in order.  The sequence is:


This can be practiced at home, laying over a chair.  In the pool it is best performed slowly, again using a woggle.  

  1. Push and glide away from the poolside with arms stretched out in front and legs together behind. 
  2. Begin the arm action by pulling around in a circle
  3. As the arms pull, raise the head to take a breath
  4. As the head raises, bend the knees to begin the leg kick action
  5. As the legs whip back and around, submerge the face and stretch and arms forward and together
  6. The arms and legs to remain straight and together for a glide of around 1 - 2 seconds before the sequence begins again
basic breaststroke timing and coordination for beginners

The timing sequence for breaststroke can be performed as slowly as you need, literally practicing one piece at a time.  As you get used to the order of each movement, they can begin to flow into a smooth rhythmical motion.

For more information about different breaststroke timing patterns, click here.

Learn Breaststroke Swimming Technique With Loads More Step By Step Drills

The 5 drills outlined here are only a few basics.  There are many more in my book 'How To Swim Breaststroke' - drills that you may find easier and drills that will help eliminate some common mistakes.  They all come with professional teaching points to ensure that you make progress. 

Grab a copy of my book here and learn breaststroke swimming technique the easy way...

How To Swim Breaststroke with ease and confidence.
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