Proper Breast Stroke

by Jeremi Davidson

About Jeremi Davidson

Jeremi Davidson began freelance writing in 2005. Davidson enjoys writing about sports and personal fitness, contributing to a number of different health and lifestyle websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Thompson Rivers University.


Using the proper breaststroke technique keeps your body in a mostly horizontal position in the water, allowing you to maximize your distance per stroke. Correct form allows you to glide through the water and stretch each stroke further. Bring your arms, legs and breathing together with the rhythm needed to master this swimming skill.


Your body type determines the type of breaststroke you use. Rather than focusing on the number of strokes that you complete, focus on the length of your strokes. Taller swimmers can stretch their strokes out further, covering more distance. Avoid swimming vertically. Keep your body in the water throughout the stroke. As you progress through your stroke, practice a powerful pull through the water and a strong kick. Streamline your body to make these strokes more efficient.

Pulling Movements

Pulling yourself through the water incorporates three movements: The out-sweep, in-sweep and recovery. The out-sweep begins with your arms outstretched at the surface of the water. Sweep your arms outward from this position to complete the movement. Your in-sweep comes beneath the surface and propels you through the water. The recovery phase comes right before the out-sweep begins, as you keep your arms extended in front of your body to cut down on the resistance.


Avoid kicking too rapidly, as it can slow you down. The frog-style kick in the breaststroke helps propel you through the water during the recovery portion of your stroke. Once you kick, glide through the recovery portion before taking another kick. As you develop as a swimmer, count the number of strokes taken over a pool length. Reduce your kick count and focus on making your strokes longer. Make your kick as the upper part of your body goes back into the water during the propulsion phase of your outward sweep.


Since one portion of the breaststroke takes place underwater and one portion above water, collaborate your breathing accordingly. Inhale as your head comes above water after the recovery phase of your stroke. Exhale throughout the stroke and make it take twice as long as the inhalation. Most of your exhalation occurs during the in-sweep motion as you propel yourself. Complete your exhalation as the recovery phase ends, just before bringing your head out of the water.

References (3)

  • Developing Swimmers; Michael Brooks
  • The Swim Coaching Bible; Dick Hannula, et al.
  • Mastering Swimming; Jim Montgomery, et al.

Photo Credits:

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or