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Perfecting your swimming stroke – part 2

For some swimmers, breaststroke is the best stroke! Just like freestyle, this type of swimming is a great form of exercise, provided that you get a few basics right. Just like in freestyle, your legs, hips and shoulders need to form as straight a line as possible. In breaststroke, however, you need to slant your body slightly to make sure that the kick happens underwater. Don’t overdo this though – your legs should never be far below your torso.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the kick uses purely your leg muscles – you should be feeling it in your stomach muscles and core muscles as well. Your feet shouldn’t be too loose, so focus on keeping the flexed throughout each stroke.

With regard to the upper body movement, avoid sweeping your arms out too wide – the idea is to pull the water behind you. It’s also worth remembering that in breaststroke, the majority of the forward movement comes from your legs – not your arms. Keep your shoulders and neck as relaxed as possible. 

When you’re not taking a breath, your face should be in the water with your eyes looking downward. This protects your neck by avoiding strain on these muscles. 

When you reach the point in your stroke when it’s time to take a breath, don’t bring your head high out of the water. Simply allow your chin to be just above the surface of the water, and breathe in through your mouth.

We suggest including a mix of strokes in your swimming training. Each different stroke gives different sets of muscles a workout – and changing it up keeps things fun and interesting!