FINIS Tip Of The Week: Breaststroke With Resistance


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Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s tip explains the advantage of adding drag resistance in breaststroke. Of all four strokes, breaststroke is often the most fickle, requiring swimmers to pay close attention to the timing of the pull and kick in order to minimize resistance as much as possible.

Often swimmers will develop “dead spots” in their stroke where they are slowing down. This is usually from bad timing, slowing down their pull, starting their kick too early or too late, or not finishing their kick. These disconnections in the stroke over time can become bad habits that are hard to break.

Using drag resistance in breaststroke is one of the best ways to improve a swimmer’s awareness of any dead spots in their stroke. Grabbing a parachute, drag sox, or swimming stationary against a bungee cord or even with a pull buoy in between the legs are all ways to focus on connecting to their stroke to make it more efficient and more powerful.

Swimming against resistance is, naturally, harder, and will help swimmers feel some of the bad habits that can make breaststroke inefficient, such as:

  • Slipping through the catch
  • Slowing down through the middle of the pull
  • Not maximizing the glide at the end of each stroke
  • An early or late kick
  • Weak finish to the kick
  • Improper body position

Using resistance is a great way for coaches to help swimmer better understand how to be more efficient in breaststroke, and is a great tool to revisit not just to develop power, but also to create an awareness of common technical errors.

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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