Breaststroke arm movement

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Swimming is a fantastic and enjoyable workout, but if you have the incorrect technique, you may not be getting the most out of your time in the pool. This can be frustrating when you’re putting in the work, but you’re not seeing the results that you want.

Thankfully, this can be easily corrected by learning the correct technique. In this article, we’ll examine the proper arm movement for breaststroke, so you can improve your swimming and reach your fitness goals.


What is the Arm Movement for Breaststroke?

When swimming in breaststroke, both arms are used symmetrically. The arm movements are fairly simple compared to other strokes as a result. 

In breaststroke, the arm movements are not where the majority of power comes from, but it is still very important for the good execution of the stroke. The arm movements are what keep the stroke efficient and your body streamlined. 


The arm movements can be broken down into three main elements in the breaststroke. 


What are the 3 Phases of the Arm Movements in the Breaststroke?

The first phase of the arm movement is the catch: 


  • This begins with your arms outstretched in front of your body.
  • Your hands and fingers are held together, facing downwards and slightly away from your body.
  • Your arms pull in this direction until they are roughly shoulder-width apart. 
  • Bend your elbows, and pull your shoulders together. 


The second phase is the propulsive phase: 


  • Your arms should move down and inwards 
  • Your hands reach the deepest point
  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and keep them high in the water
  • Pull your hands inwards and slightly point them to the sky
  • Tuck your elbows into your sides 
  • Pull your hands towards your chest and chin


The third phase is recovery:


  • Stretch your hands forward into a streamlined position
  • Hands can recover under, over, or on the surface of the water


What are the Entry Hands and Arms of Breaststroke?

In order to perform the correct entry for breaststroke, your arms should be outstretched in a symmetrical position. Your hands should be together and facing in a forward direction. The aim is to get your body to be as streamlined as possible. 

Upon entry into the water, you should point your arms and hands at a slight downward angle. 


Final Thoughts on Breaststroke Arm Movement

Although the kick mainly drives the breaststroke, arm movements are still very important. The arms are vital in maintaining the correct body position and gaining speed when moving through the water. 

For these reasons, learning and practicing arm movement for breaststroke is very beneficial.