When to Inhale and Exhale for Breaststroke

Please explain when to inhale and exhale for breaststroke. Should we inhale through the mouth or nose and exhale through the mouth or nose?

Please explain in detail how to breathe through the mouth or nose, how wide our mouth should open and how long inhalation and exhalation should be.

Also, my arms and legs are not coordinating. If I think about arms, I forget about legs being streamlined. Please tell me how to overcome this.

Inhaling and exhaling during breaststroke, or any swimming stroke for that matter, should always occur through the mouth and not the nose. 

Your Mouth Is Bigger Than Your Nose

The simple fact is that our mouth is larger than our nose and, therefore can inhale and exhale more air in a shorter space. This then makes the act of breathing during swimming easier than if we were to breathe through our nose.

As for how wide to open your mouth will depend on how much air you need, which will be determined by how tired you are as you swim. It will also depend on how big your mouth is; we are all different on that one!

basic breaststroke breathing technique

When To Breathe?

During breaststroke, a breath should be taken every stroke. In other words, you should breathe in and out with every arm pull and leg kick, respectively. Breaststroke can be performed by taking a breath every other stroke, and this is also correct, but it can sometimes be more tiring.

The timing of the breathing should be as follows: as the arms pull around and back, the head is raised to inhale. As the legs kick around and back, the face is then submerged to exhale. The key points to think about as you swim are to ‘pull your head up’ and ‘kick your head down’, or to ‘blow your hands forwards’.

Swim Slowly And Get The Sequence Right

The best way to help the coordination of your arms and legs is to perform the stroke with a Water Woggle or Noodle held under your arms. This will support you and allow you to gradually perform the stroke. Focus on alternating the arms and legs and not performing them together. In other words, pull, THEN kick. This timing sequence is correct for breaststroke and enables you to add a streamlined glide.

Download The Breaststroke Book

My ebook How To Swim Breaststroke contains over 20 separate swimming exercises to help all parts of breaststroke, including breathing and timing. 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.

How To Swim Breaststroke with ease and confidence.
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