Breaststroke is of great practical importance. It is one of the sports swimming methods. At competitions breaststroke is represented by 3 types of program: 50 100 200 m, in relay swimming – this method is used for the second stage of the combined relay 4×100 m. And the third stage of the distance for complex swimming 200, 400 m.

Breaststroke – a method of swimming on the chest, in which the arms are moved forward symmetrically, the legs make a simultaneous push in the horizontal plane. One cycle of movements during breaststroke swimming includes one leg movement, one inhalation and exhalation through the mouth, symmetrical simultaneous movement of the arms.
The breaststroke swimming technique is strictly regulated by the rules of the competition. The main points of the rule are as follows:

  • during the first stroke after the start or turn, the swimmer lies on his chest, the shoulder line is parallel to the water surface.
  • arm movements are performed simultaneously and symmetrically, under water or under the water surface (with the exception of one stroke after the start and turn), the arms should not go beyond the line of the hips; after the stroke, the arms are simultaneously extended from the chest forward. The arms move under the surface of the water, the elbows are always under the water (except for the finishing stroke).
  • the movement of the legs is also performed simultaneously and symmetrically. The working movement of the legs is carried out with the feet turned out, the toes outward and move in the form of an arc. Movement with closed legs is not allowed.
  • during swimming, the athlete’s head may be temporarily submerged in the water. However, in every cycle of movements (except for start and turn), it must appear on the surface.
  • at each turn or at the finish, the touch is carried out simultaneously with both hands above, below or at the level of the water surface.


Body position and leg movement technique in breaststroke

The body of the swimmer during breaststroke swimming is elongated and well streamlined; after pushing off with his legs, the swimmer glides with his arms extended forward, the angle of attack is minimal. (approximately 3-5 degrees). At the end of the hand stroke, the shoulder girdle and head rise above the water surface, the angle of attack increases (reaches 12-17 degrees). This will not have a negative effect if the swimmer keeps the hips in a well streamlined position. The legs in breaststroke swimming perform simultaneous and symmetrical movements, the cycle of movement of the legs consists of two phases of pulling up and taking off. After repulsion, there is a pause in leg movements.

Pulling up is the preparatory part of the movement. It begins with a smooth bend of the legs at the knee joint, the hips maintain a streamlined position, do not go down. The relaxed feet move at the surface of the water, the knees diverge to the sides (approximately by the width of the pelvis), at the final moment of pulling up, the hips, knees and feet quickly return to their original position, to start pushing off the knees are parted slightly wider than the pelvis. The feet approach the buttocks almost perpendicular to the surface of the water, followed by a quick turn of the feet with their toes outward and pushing back. Pulling up is performed in a smooth motion with acceleration by the time the feet turn.

Repulsion is the working phase of the movement. It begins with an instant turn of the feet with the toes outward, vigorous movement of the feet and lower leg to the sides and backward inward. During repulsion, the feet and legs rest well on the water. The feet move in the shape of an arc, the legs are extended at the knee and hip joints in the final phase of repulsion. The legs close and relax, the hips are directed to the surface of the water, then there is a short pause during which the swimmer glides forward. Well-streamlined feet at the water surface.

Technique of arm movement and breathing in breaststroke method

In a full cycle, arm movement is conventionally distinguished into two phases:

  • stroke (capture the main part of the stroke);
  • bringing the hands together and bringing them forward.

During the stroke simultaneously and symmetrically spread apart and slightly downward, the hands are turned with palms outward, lean well against the water and push off from it. The start of the stroke is performed with almost straight arms, then they bend at the elbow joint. Throughout the stroke, the elbows are held above the hands and turned to the sides. As soon as the hands approach the line of the shoulder girdle, they are accelerated by the force of the swimmer inward under the chin. This part of the stroke is the fastest and most energetic at the end of it, the hands move down under the chin, while the swimmer is leaning against the water with his hands and forearms, as if pulling himself forward and slightly up. The shoulder girdle and head rise above the surface of the water, and the swimmer inhales. The inhalation occurs at the end of the stroke; it is called late. During inhalation, the arms do not stop their movements, the stroke turns into bringing the arms forward, the hands come together under the chin, turn their palms slightly inward, the swimmer, extending his arms at the elbow joints, stretches forward to start the next stroke.

General coordination of movements in breaststroke swimming technique

A rational version of the technique available to beginner swimmers is the sequential coordination of movements with the arms and legs, which ensure continuous forward movement of the swimmer with high speed and optimal expenditure of strength. The swimmer starts the stroke with his hands in an almost horizontal position of the body. During the stroke, the legs are extended and relaxed, they begin to bend a little at the knees only at the end of the stroke, after the end of inhalation, when the arms have completed the stroke. The legs quickly perform the main part of the pull-up, turn their toes to the sides, then, after bringing the arms forward, take off. The main part of the take-off occurs at the moment when the arms are fully extended forward and the swimmer’s body is well streamlined, at the end of the push-off with the legs, the swimmer slides forward for a moment in a horizontal position with outstretched arms and legs. The more professional the swimmer is, the more distances he can slide. Gliding saves energy and also keeps the speed of the athlete moving

Depending on the value of the angle of attack of the swimmer’s body and changes within the cycle of movement, two variants of breaststroke technique are distinguished:

  • flat position of the body, when the angle of attack is minimal.
  • gliding position of the body, the value of the angle of attack of its change is increased expressed.

Swimmers tend to increase their swimming speed by increasing their pace of movement. This is especially evident at short distances of 50 m where the frequency of movement reaches 70 cycles per minute.

Swimmers tend to increase their swimming speed by increasing their pace of movement. This is especially evident at short distances of 50 m where the frequency of movement reaches 70 cycles per minute.

The great applied value of the breaststroke method allows a person, if necessary, to swim in clothes, swim in a big wave, maintain good visibility in front of him during swimming, and also to overcome huge distances due to low energy consumption. With the help of the movement of the legs with the breaststroke, it is convenient to tow a large object by pushing it in front of you and, being with a small object in your hands, hold it above the water. Often this method is used to transport victims. This method of swimming is used when diving, without the help of fins.  Breaststroke is widely used in swimming in order to improve the body.

Breaststroke technique

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