View Full Version : Back Stroke Breathing

January 22nd, 2003, 09:13 AM
I know that it is normal to breathe in on one arm recovery and out on the other but does anyone think it is necessary to practice alternating on which arm recovery you breathe in/out.

Like in Freestyle non-bilateral breathers get used to breathing in on one side which can upset the stroke, but is it true for back stroke too if you get used to breathing in on the recovery of a certain arm?

Does it make much difference?

January 31st, 2003, 10:18 AM
To answer your question, in my opinion it really should not affect your backstroke if you tend to breath on one side versus the other. Freestyle seems to be the only stroke where one would develop a "lope" in the stroke in which there's an assymetry due to breathing towards one side only.

I thought about this one for a moment and notice that I inhale on the right arm recovery and exhale when the left arm is out of the water. Backstrokers I think have to pay more attention to holding a breathing pattern due to the convenience of having ample opportunity to take in as much air as they want. It's very easy to over-inhale which will completely throw the stroke rythm out of whack. I say it's better to find a tempo where you breathe and stroke to a sychronized rythm. (And perhaps get in a few quick breaths right before heading into the turn. I would have to say that this allows for a longer opportunity to stay under water and dolphin kick off the walls.)

Maybe some of the others might have a different approach.
What do you say Phil Arcuni? You're a backstroking champ.

Regards, Val.

Phil M.
January 31st, 2003, 03:13 PM
Another thought on the backstroke breathing. (other than that there is too much else going on with the stroke to even worry about it)

I find that it is impossible to take a deep breath, from the gut, while swimming fully stretched out on my back. In other words I get about half my fill of fresh air with every breath. This encourages me to leave my regular breathing pattern (one breath per stroke cycle) and to breathe more frequently.

I remember a story about a runner asking about whether or not he should breathe through his nose or his mouth. The answer was that it doesn't really matter whether he uses his nose or his mouth and that he should breathe through his ears if that is what it takes to keep going. I suppose that backstroke gives us the same luxury as running...as long as you don't hyperventilate.

Phil Arcuni
January 31st, 2003, 09:19 PM
There are several persons on this site that are better backstroke champions than I am. but . . .

I remember as a youth being made fun of because I did not breath with my arm pulls. Since then I coordinate my breaths, mostly because I think it helps smooth out my stroke. Backstroke is fun because you can get lots of air, and I think that is why I find it easier to even split my 200 backstroke than my 200 free or 200 fly. On the other hand, it does not seem to make it any easier to take six fly kicks off of the walls. When I find myself breathing without regard to the position of my arms, I know I am approaching the final stages of fatigue.

The one downside that I can think of to synchronized breathing is that it may cover bad form. I have seen several swimmers of backstroke that breath at a particular time of their stroke because at other times their face is under water. You should work at keeping your head position steady, with your mouth always open to the air. If water does cover your face it is probably because of bad form, at least if the water is not too rough.