How to Swim Breaststroke Without Getting Tired

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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The breaststroke is considered to be a survival stroke, and even beginner swimmers should be able to use the swimming technique for a long period of time in the event of emergencies. 

However, some people find themselves still getting tired before long, which is not ideal for lap times and survival situations.

The breaststroke requires a lot of power in the legs. Therefore, unlike other strokes, it is inefficient and requires much extra work. Due to this, without the proper training and muscles, you may find yourself getting tired pretty quickly. 

Keep reading to learn more about why you get tired when you do the breaststroke and how to be able to perform the stroke without getting as tired. 


Why Do You Get So Tired Doing Breaststroke?

The breaststroke is somewhat of a unique swimming discipline because the legs generate most of the power used in propelling the body forward in the water. 

This is in stark contrast to the faster swimming strokes that get the majority of their driving power from the motion of the arms.

The first thing to identify why you might be becoming so tired when swimming breaststroke is to determine if you use your arms too much. Overusing the arms lifts the body slightly out of the water, making for a less efficient stroke that can tire you out.

Usually, you can tell if your arms are doing too much work by if they are getting tired before your legs. This is because your legs are doing most of the work and using the most muscles, so they should get tired first. 

However, if you notice your arms are fatigued first but you are doing the stroke properly, you may need to work on building the muscles in your arms. This will stop them from getting so tired and will decrease the likelihood of getting an injury. 

Exercises like pushups and pull-ups are great ones to work on when you aren’t on the water. They work a majority of the muscles you need to get swimming the breaststroke properly, but they focus heavily on the areas where swimmers get injuries to their shoulders. 

If you have remedied your swimming technique so that you focus more on your legs for power than your arms, the next thing to think about is if you have a streamlined profile. 

Without a streamlined profile, you use a greater amount of energy to go a shorter distance, which will tire you out quickly.


How Can You Swim Longer without Getting Tired?

An important aspect of breaststroke that many novice swimmers ignore is that the breaststroke has a gliding element. 

If you watch professional swimmers during breaststroke races, you might be surprised to see how few stroke cycles they use to get from one side of the pool to the other.

This is because, between each cycle of the breaststroke, there is a short gliding period where they maintain the best possible body position to minimize their drag. In this roughly two-second pause, the swimmers go the furthest distance possible from a single stroke.

Not only will gliding during the breaststroke help you improve your times by decreasing your drag, but it will also prevent you from becoming tired early on.


Four tips for Building Breaststroke Stamina

Practice time

The old saying “practice makes perfect” has been used to explain how much time and effort needs to be invested into any skill, and the same is true for building up your breaststroke endurance. 

The longer you spend in the water consciously performing your movements and fine-tuning your body positioning, the better you will perform down the road when your stamina is truly tested.


Slow down

Some strokes, like the butterfly stroke, cannot be done slowly, which hampers the ability to focus on each motion when you first start to combine everything into a single, fluid motion.

In breaststroke, you can slow down all the motions and focus on having an excellent gliding period to increase your longevity during training periods.


Master regular breathing

Regular breathing allows you to inhale the oxygen required for energy production in the muscles and will also aid in the removal of lactic acid that naturally builds up during high-intensity exercises and leads to muscle fatigue. 

While it is important not to breathe too much, ensuring your breathing is done regularly is very important. It is essential to find the perfect place to take a breath.

Breathing is the most inefficient movement with any stroke, so you don’t want to do it too often, but you also don’t want to wait so long that you run out of breath when trying to keep your consistency. 


Endurance training

There are many benefits to endurance training. It helps you improve your cardiovascular health, so you can swim faster and longer without coming up for air. You also recover faster after swim training, so you don’t get sore or fatigued. 

A lot of endurance training you can do for swimming involves just doing various reps at a fast pace. If you already know a lot of swimming strokes, there are multiple endurance swims you can practice. 

However, you can do plenty of endurance training off of the water, too, if that is something you are more comfortable with. As long as you practice and improve, that is enough. 


Final Thoughts on How to Swim Breaststroke Without Getting Tired

Swimming isn’t easy. It is either very technical or very inefficient, depending on the stroke. Without proper training, muscles, and endurance, you can easily be left feeling fatigued after even a simple training. 

However, with proper exercise, you can get the strength you need to not be tired after swimming the breaststroke. It is also important to learn to slow down. Most other swims are about speed. 

While you want to be fast when it comes to the breaststroke, you also want to make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to glide, as that is where your most efficient time is.