Breaststroke For Beginners

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Breaststroke is arguably the most popular swimming stroke. Many beginner swimmers find this stroke the only one they feel comfortable with and use frequently. 

This stroke is great for new swimmers as it lets you keep your head outside the water and your eyes open while breathing freely. This article discusses some helpful information and tips about breaststroke to help you get started as a beginner swimmer. 


What Should Beginners Focus on with Breaststroke?

The correct body position is very important for beginners to focus on. To swim breaststroke effectively, it’s essential that your body remains in a streamlined position. 

Therefore, beginners should focus on ensuring their heads are in the correct position by looking straight down. In addition to this, beginners should focus on keeping their hips high to reduce resistance, especially when lifting their heads to take a breath.

Beginner swimmers who are trying to learn or improve their swimming in breaststroke should also focus on learning the correct technique for both the arm and leg movements. 

As this stroke requires you to move your arms and legs at the same time, it can be very helpful for beginners to isolate these movements.


5 Tips for Beginners Learning Breaststroke

Here are five useful tips for beginners learning breaststroke to keep in mind:


1. Keep your kick narrow and strong

When learning breaststroke, it’s helpful to remember that the majority of power comes from the kick. 

For this reason, try to keep your knees no wider than your hips when kicking. Also, when catching with your feet, keep them just outside of the width of the hips. Keeping your kick narrow helps minimize the drag you face when moving through the water. 


2. Keep your pull narrow 

Related to the above point, beginners learning breaststroke can sometimes pull too wide. This also creates more drag. 

When performing the arm movements, avoid pulling your elbows back too far. Your elbows should not come back behind your shoulders, as this creates more resistance. 


3. Focus on breathing

If you’re a beginner learning breaststroke, it is easier for you to swim with your head above the water surface at all times. This allows you to breathe whenever you need to. 

Once you feel comfortable with the body positions of this stroke, you can then begin to keep your head underwater. Only bring your head and face out of the water to breathe during the arm stroke.  


4. Concentrate on timing

It is very helpful for beginners to focus on the timing of the stroke. Try to remember to maximize the amount of time your body is moving forward through the water. 

This is done by ensuring your legs are in the propulsive phase at the same time that your arms are performing.


5. Focus on body position

A streamlined body position is essential to swimming in breaststroke. As a beginner, you should focus on keeping your body as flat and straight as possible. 

Try to exhale just before you lift your head out of the water to breathe. Then, keep your body high in the water and in as straight a line as possible. 


What Should Beginners Avoid with Breaststroke?

There are several things that beginners should avoid when swimming breaststroke: 


  • Wide kicking – keep your knees within the line of your shoulders
  • Pausing whilst taking a breath increases the amount of time your body is not in a streamlined position.
  • Keeping your hips too low in the water
  • Keeping your elbows too low in the water
  • Swimming too slowly – It’s fine to go at a comfortable pace, but if you swim too slowly, it can be difficult to time all of the movements correctly.


Can Beginners Teach Themselves Breaststroke?

Beginners can teach themselves breaststroke. Depending on your comfort level in the swimming pool and with other strokes, the pool’s shallow end is great for teaching yourself and practicing. 

If you decide to teach yourself breaststroke, it is recommended that you do some research beforehand to understand the mechanics of the stroke and how to properly execute the movements. Once you have done this, you can head to the pool and start practicing. 


Final Thoughts on Breaststroke for Beginners

Although it might take a little time to truly master the technique of breaststroke, it’s easy to get to grips with the basics. That’s why it’s a great stroke for beginner swimmers to use when starting to use swimming for fitness. 

It can be done at a relaxed pace for a light full-body workout or increase your pace for a more intense workout. Breaststroke is gentle on your joints but provides a fantastic cardiovascular workout whilst also toning your muscles.