4 Novel Breaststroke Core Training Exercises

World Swimming Championships Daniel Gyurta breaststroke
Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

By Dr. G. John Mullen

Breaststroke swimmers are unique. What other athletes want to sit in the W-position all day for greater range of motion? Don’t worry, I won’t rant about the W-position again, but instead offer some novel breaststroke core training exercises from my new product, Swimming Core Training

Below are very challenging exercises, so if you don’t know how to brace your abdominals or integrate your legs with your core musculature, store these videos for four to six months from now and start with the basic core bracing exercise!

Once again, breaststrokers are unique. They require a stable core, particularly in the sagittal plane, while they bring their feet wide through hip internal rotation. These unique beasts also need superior adductor (groin) strength for propelling themselves forward. These four breaststroke core exercises touch on all these needs, but once again, hit the basics first, before progressing too far, as poor form and volume increase injury risk and feed into swimming core training mistakes, as Allan Phillips recently discussed, it typically isn’t the exercise at fault, but the technique and volume.

Breaststroke Core Exercises

  1. Knee Bent Bunkie with Adduction and Hip Internal Rotation

    Form a side pillar or bridge by supporting your body in a side-lying position with one arm touching the ground while squeezing a bench with your knees. Place the hand of the upper arm on the hip. Keep your body in a straight line and contract your glutes. Next, rotate your hips inward, bringing your feet wide. Repeat.

    Hold for approximately 30 seconds.

  1. Swiss Ball Rollout with Breast Kick

    Place your forearms low on a Swiss Ball and your knees on the ground, then tighten your abdominals by bringing your pelvis to your ribs or tucking your pelvis under your hips, and tuck your chin to maintain a straight bodyline. Next, squeeze the Swiss Ball with your forearms, trying to bring them together, then roll forward and move your feet outward, similar to the outkick, then return.

    Make sure as the athlete rolls forward, they hold a straight bodyline from the top of the head to the tailbone. Any arching causes poor hydrodynamics and impair core and shoulder strength. Perform for 30 – 45 seconds.

    1. Pallof Press with Hip Internal Rotation

      Securely set up a band head height while kneeling. Next, kneel on a mat and face away from the band. Set up your feet with your hips internally rotated and your feet wide. Brace your abdominals, then raise your arms overhead and slowly return the arms down, without letting your body arch.

      Perform for approximately 30 seconds.

  1. Ab Wheel with Ball Squeeze and Hip Internal Rotation

    Kneel with your knees on a mat. Next, brace your abdominals, squeeze a ball between your knees, and rollout on the wheel. While you are in the extended position, internally rotate the hips inward, driving the feet wide. Next, return the legs. Do not let the back arch! Return slowly and controlled.

    Perform for approximately 30 seconds.


  1. Shelly Bas

    Drew Bastian Izaak Bastian

  2. Tom Munro

    Baylee Munro Nanaimo Riptides Swim Team