Ways to Swim a Faster Breaststroke

Ways to Swim a Faster Breaststroke

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The speed of your pull doesn't determine your breaststroke speed.

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Out of all the strokes, the breaststroke is the slowest. During the glide, there is no movement made that adds to your forward motion. Although many think pulling harder increases speed, it doesn't. The only way to swim a faster breaststroke is by focusing on movements before and after the glide, as well as body positioning and techniques from your head to your feet.

Swim Streamline Strokes

Swimming streamline strokes will help you eliminate resistance during each pull, which will increase your speed and make your movements easier. Streamline is when your body is just under the surface of the water. Resistance can also be eliminated by maintaining a horizontal body position with only a little rise and fall wavelike movement. During the breaststroke, each stroke should begin and end in streamline. To improve your breaststroke streamline position, make full arm and leg extensions and keep your back flat, your legs held tight together, your core and butt tight and your toes pointed.

Produce a Perfect Pull

The pull is a major part of the breaststroke and is very important for setting up the rest of the stroke. Although the speed of your pull doesn't help you swim a faster breaststroke, proper pull form does. The first part of the pull requires your palms to face the sides of the pool while sculling outwards. Sculling is when your hands and forearms go back and forth to propel you forward. After your skull, pull your hands back in an upside-down heart motion, making sure your hands move in a rounded motion on the outside before coming together in front of your chest. If you don't make the rounded motion and instead push water directly back, you'll slow yourself down. Extend your hands forward, using your elbows for a more effective pull.

Stay Still Above Shoulders

Too much up and down head motion creates drag which slows swimmers down. Avoid moving your head altogether. Some swimmer's make the mistake of hinging forward with their necks, instead of properly using their hips. The breaststroke does not require any head movement. The back of your head and neck should be aligned with your spine during the entire stroke. If your head is misaligned by even a minimum of one to two inches, your hips will affect your streamline by either being too low or too high. This misalignment will create unwanted resistance.

Lower-Half Lessons

Your lower half -- from your hips down -- plays another major part in the breaststroke. Keep your hips high as much as you can during the entire stroke. When your chest propels in the water, let your hips rise to allow for a strong kick. When you rise up for air, drop your hips down and forward. Start your kick by moving your heels up to your hips. If you start your kick by raising your knees up under your body, you will create major resistance. During your kick, allow your ankles to go wider than your knees, while keeping your knees and thighs within the frame of your body. The closer you bring your heels to your hips and the faster your feet recover, the more powerful and faster your kick and breaststroke will be.


Improving your streamline, leg movements and kick goes beyond the pool. Strengthening your core through anaerobic exercises can help improve your horizontal streamline position and increase your speed. Improving your ankle, knee and hip flexibility, as well as strengthening your lower-abdominal and back muscles can help for a more efficient kick and faster breaststroke.