7/15/05 BREASTSTROKE - Strong Hands and Wrists
Text, photos, and video by Glenn Mills
Demonstrated by Amanda Beard

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To have a great breaststroke, you need to create a large pulling surface with your arms. The best way to do this is to develop strong hands and wrists.

In these photos, and in the two-cycle video clip, watch how Amanda Beard creates a maximum pulling surface by turning her fingers, palm, wrist, and forearm into a single unit.

During the initial outsweep, Amanda lengthens her pulling surface by keeping her wrists rigid and her fingertips in a straight line. Her pulling surface extends from her shoul-ders, through the elbows, across the wrists, and along the hands.
As she continues the outsweep, Amanda’s hands continue to lengthen the arms. Al-though she angles the wrists a bit to leverage them against the muscles in her forearms, she still works the forearms, wrists, and palms as a single unit.
When Amanda turns her hands in, she continues to use the arms and hands as a long paddle, or blade, while being careful NOT to allow the wrists to collapse, or break when they sweep in.
Of course, to maintain this kind of pulling surface on every stroke of a 200 breast re-quires strong hands and wrists. This is one important area to focus on as you swim breaststroke. It takes time and concentration to develop this strength. Of course, many sculling drills, and dryland exercises also help.

Glenn Mills is Swimming World Magazine’s technical advisor. Check out his website at

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