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Thread: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

  1. #1
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    Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Hello fellow-swimmers!

    Could you please check out videos of my breaststroke. So far 50m breast is my best distance. But for the last two years I havenít been able to break 36+ seconds limit (SC).

    Thatís a snippet of 50m at race speed:



    I have more videos, but so far the forum allows me to add only one.

    Mistakes, drills to fix them, stretching exercises?

    Iím total amateur, 35 years old, itís my 6th year of competitive swimming.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Looks like you need to work on adjusting your head position and achieving greater distance per stroke (without losing momentum). From this angle it also appears that you need to work on keeping your hips closer to the surface while you are swimming.

    We have some breaststroke drill videos on Swimspire featuring Olympic silver medalist Kristy Kowal that you can watch to get some ideas: http://www.swimspire.com/breaststrok...-kowal-part-5/

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    As swimspire said,you need to work om your head position.The head should remain in neutral position at all times.The standard drill for this is swimming BR with a tennis ball under the chin.I can't be sure but it looks like you are overlapping your pull and your kick.You should be in streamline position with the kick completed before the pull begins.A good drill for this is swim a length with a 3 sec glide,then a 2 sec glide,then 1 sec,then no glide,but make sure you are extended in streamline.Finally,in your kick recovery,you have your knees too far apart.This breaks streamline and slows you down.The standard drill for this is swim BR with a pullbuoy between your knees(or at least right above your knees.There is a lot to like about your BR,but these things can make it faster.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke


  5. #5
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    These are really good drills.One caveat,this is showing the swimmer with hands overlapping,that is a good drill,but if you have your hands overlapping at the touch for the turn or finish,that is a DQ. Also in BR everything is a trade off between drag and propulsion.I find that for me,the drag at the moment of separation of the hands necessary to start the pull from the hand overlapping position slows me more than starting the pull with the hands pressed together(thumbs and first finger touching),but not overlapping.YMMV.It is undeniable that the shoulders need to be as far forward as possible and the arms really squeezing the head.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Thank you all for the input! I'll try the drills and upload videos of the progress. And what drill can help me keeping pelvis as high as possible? BR pull with fly kick?

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Quote Originally Posted by moi View Post
    Thank you all for the input! I'll try the drills and upload videos of the progress. And what drill can help me keeping pelvis as high as possible? BR pull with fly kick?
    That is a good drill,but I suspect if you get your head position right it will take care of your hips.If the head is too high, the hips sink.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  8. #8
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Quote Originally Posted by moi View Post
    Thank you all for the input! I'll try the drills and upload videos of the progress. And what drill can help me keeping pelvis as high as possible? BR pull with fly kick?
    Here is the link to all of the breaststroke drill series we have done with Kristy: http://www.swimspire.com/breaststrok...-kristy-kowal/

    And this video, with Estonian national champion Merle Liivand, may also be of help. In the video, Merle demonstrates breaststroke where she kicks with a pullbuoy. This will be helpful in keeping your hips higher: http://www.swimspire.com/breaststrok...merle-liivand/

    Like Allen said, there is definitely a lot to like about your breaststroke. The improvements you make will hopefully help you get past your current plateau. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Very Active Member Water Rat's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    my 2 cents:
    knees are way too wide. 2 drills for this are 1) kick breaststroke with your hands at your butt and try to kick your hands with your heels. 2) kick breaststroke on your back.
    head is up, butt is low. there's a direct correlation there. think about keeping your head, neck and back in constant alignment provided your eyes are down. almost like there's a rod from your head through your spine.
    one thing you are doing well (among many by the way) is that you're not diving too deep to compensate for your hips. try to stay in the top 12" below the surface of the water.
    i noticed a big diffrence in my stroke from narrowing my body/kick. it's drag 101. drag is not your friend!

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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Ok, this is what I have so far (twice slowed down):



    It's not a race pace but I tried to do it properly and applying most of the power to the water. I was trying to cover my head with my arms (to get in streamline) as soon as I can. To keep neutral head position I tried to look down, right to the water surface. But my knees are still to far apart. After 40sec of the video you’ll see several tries with pullbuoy and kicking on the back.

    And I really don’t like this improper position – my core is not aligned the moment I’m about to do a kick:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11

    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Much better video.
    Looking at frame 15 & 28 I notice a place where you may be able to make a minor improvement. Your left foot foot is pointing straight down and then brought up to the proper position. I believe this causes you to lose some leg lift to get a better and earlier glide. You might be doing the thrust in two motions instead of one.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    I have looked at this several times.It is better and almost great.The problem seems subtle,but it is messing up your transition from pull phase to kick phase.You are keeping your back very stiff as you go from the arm insweep to recovery.This means that as you start your kick your body is swimming up hill.Your kick aims slightly down,which would be OK if it was a prelude to a propulsive undulation,but it isn't,instead you glide with your legs going down.
    As you start the out sweep of the hands you push the hips forward appropriately,but as you shoot the arms forward you want to push your hips(and butt) back forcefully to get them closer to the surface and to get the front of your body into a horizontal,streamlined position.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  13. #13
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Your breaststroke definitely looks a lot better! Congratulations on making these technical improvements. One thing I noticed, especially in the kick at back, is that you are not bringing your feet together at the finish of the kick (bottom of the feet should ideally be touching) and you are allowing your feet to continue to drag under water instead of bringing them back to the surface.

    Keep incorporating drills into your sets and your breaststroke will continue to improve. Good luck!

  14. #14
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Nice improvement, especially the amount of time spent in streamline position with the head under water.

    I would change your kick so that the heels come together with the feet pointing straight down. There is zero need to point the feet backwards at the end of the kick. By pointing the feet straight down you will feel an upwards movement of the legs, essentially pushing the lets and butt upwards nearer the waters surface. So much more streamlined.

    The best way to get faster is drills, scull drills for the hands and fast kicking drills for the legs.

    One drill that will help your finishing your kick will be vertical boards, using a kick board as a barge. Your kick will be very slow, hardly moving. But finishing your kick with the feet crashing into each other, soles touching, you can actually move along nicely.
    It's not how fast you swim, it's how fast you slow down.

    For competition breaststroke information visit: http://www.breaststroke.info/

  15. #15

    Re: Help needed to impove my breaststroke

    Quote Originally Posted by breastroker View Post

    I would change your kick so that the heels come together with the feet pointing straight down. There is zero need to point the feet backwards at the end of the kick.

    .
    Are you suggesting that the feet should be pointed perpendicular to the legs at the end of the leg thrust? I've check videos of several elite breaststrokers and none of them seem to end the leg thrust with their feet pointing straight down (Amanda Beard being one?) I apologize if I misunderstood what you meant but could you clarify?

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