View Full Version : 'Back Breaststroke'

December 21st, 2004, 06:23 PM
I tried doing the breaststroke on my back yesterday - we used to do this when I was little and called it the back stroke, even though it isn't really THE back stroke. I noticed right away that it worked my inner thighs and my abs. I did 100 yards of it and realized I wouldn't be able to move today if I continued.

Just wondering if others have tried this. I really need ab work and plan to include a few hundred yards of this with my regular workouts. I've just been swimming since October but things are going well.


Blue Horn
December 23rd, 2004, 02:53 PM
If you want an ab work out try doing a few 100 repeats of body dolphin. Ouch!


Nancy Graham
December 23rd, 2004, 07:50 PM
I believe we called that the "elementary backstroke". I haven't done that in a very long time -- might be a good one to add to a workout once in a while for different muscle work.

December 24th, 2004, 09:45 PM
All real breaststrokers do a lot of breaststroke on our back. If you are in breaststroke shape it is easier on the legs and helps work on streamline.

We coaches look to make sure the knees never break the waters surface when doing it on our backs.

It sounds like you kick needs work, the inner thighs are not used on the modern breaststroke. It sounds like you are squeezing your legs together instead of just using the lower legs. There is no squeezing of the legs at any time.

think of the breaststroke kick like this:

Stand up, pull one foot to your butt, keeping the two knees together.

Now straighten the leg.

That is the modern breaststroke kick.

Now in the water, when both lower legs come together, snap the ankles so the soles of the feet crash together.

That is the Kitijima (and all great breaststrokers) ankle snap.

Now glide after the kick as much as possible.

December 25th, 2004, 04:01 AM

just to make sure I got it right. If I am standing like that, knees together isn't this like if i was going to strecht my quadriceps?



December 25th, 2004, 10:47 AM
I pulled a groin muscle the other day so I have to do a dolphin kick with my breast stroke and do freestyle until the darn thing heals.


December 25th, 2004, 01:00 PM
So if there's "no sqeezing the legs at any time" doesn't that mean you're not very streamlined during the glide? I don't quite get that part. Can you elaborate on leg position after the kick/ankle snap? Thanks.

December 25th, 2004, 02:39 PM
The knees are about 4 to 6 inches apart when the feet are pulled up to the butt. The thighs remain in the streamline position at all times.

Matthias, keep weights 3-4 times a week. One day hard, then easy day, then two medium intensity. You have to swim and do lots of breaststroke drills to get the great feal for the water necessary to sprint. Even a little slipping of the hands will really slow you down.

Try not breathing every stroke in practice, concentrate on the pull, kick and glide, and the feel for the water. When you don't think about breathing you will apply a lot more power to the water.

People who pull their groin muscles ALWAYS start their kick too wide. This transfers all the power to the groin muscles, instead of the thighs. I can swim along a pool wall and not kick the wall. It is all about kicking the water backwards and not out to the side.

After the ankle snap, the entire body should be in streamline position, hopefully the body is also slightly underwater. I hold this for one second for the 200 brst, 0.5 seconds for the 100; and 0.2 seconds for the 50 sprint.

December 27th, 2004, 04:54 PM
Today I did something different with it - I started with my knees just a few inches apart, ankles together, then concentrated on just pushing back and not so far out to the sides, as suggested by a previous poster (thank you!) It worked and it didn't hurt my pulled muscle at all. So there's hope for me.

Today was wonderfully rainy. I love to swim in the rain so it was fun when it really opened up and poured!


December 27th, 2004, 11:45 PM
Don't over do it with the breast kicking. A pulled groin muscle can take six months to heal. What you can do is warm up slowly, and don't kick hard at the start of the kick.

The kick should always be a gentle catch of the water with the feet, then acceleration of the feet until they seem to explode at the end.

Once warmed up you can still work on that explosion at the end of the kick, it will usually not hurt. Once you learn to swim that way, you will find your breaststroke even faster.

December 28th, 2004, 09:33 AM
That's exactly what I did; warmed up carefully for about 300 yards, then was very gentle with the beginning of the kick, and things didn't hurt.

I was a competitive figure skater a few years ago and know what a pulled groin is like to heal. That was the first muscle I pulled as a skater; other leg tho; it's the leading leg for most jumps.

Should I ice/heat it when I'm out of the water?