One Change Female Swimmers Should Make to the Breaststroke | STACK 4W
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

One Change Female Swimmers Should Make to the Breaststroke

March 5, 2013 | Gary Mullen

Rebecca Soni breaststroke

The major difference between women's and men's breaststroke is buoyancy. (See Olympic Breaststroke Techniques.) It may seem insignificant, but this slight contrast affects bodyline, breathing and timing—all essential keys for success in a breaststroke race.

Buoyancy is a factor because female swimmers have more adipose tissue (body fat) than men. This is healthy! Even women with minimal body fat are naturally higher in adipose tissue to support a fully functioning reproductive system. However, their body composition requires female swimmers to make one slight biomechanical alteration to their breaststroke technique.

During the stroke, it's essential for a female swimmer to thrust her head down forcefully with the goal of having her chest lead her hips through a streamline hole. This will optimize streamline, reduce drag, conserve energy and preserve propulsion.

Other than that, women's biomechanics should remain the same as men. The timing of the breath must coordinate with the arms and legs while maintaining the proper bodyline to minimize drag. Dr. Brent Rushall, a renowned exercise scientist from San Diego State University, has eloquently described the mechanics of the breaststroke in his book Swimming Pedagogy and a Curriculum for Stroke Development: 

"[T]iming: open the arms while no other parts of the body move, press backward and raise the head to breathe, inhale as soon as the arm press is completed, and drive the head back down into the water to look at the bottom as the arms are thrust forward to a full streamlined stretch. Begin drawing the legs up as the head is thrust back into the water—not as the head is being raised."

Reference

Rushall, B. S. (2011). Swimming Pedagogy and a Curriculum for Stroke Development, 2nd edition. Spring Valley, Calif. Sports Science Associates.

Topics: SWIMMING
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Top 3 Hockey Training Mistakes

There are still some of you out there who make the biggest hockey training mistake of them all - - you don't do any off-ice training PERIOD. In that...

Tony Wroten's Lethal Crossover Leaves Defender in the Dust

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

Does Grunting Improve Your Sports Performance?

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

Matt Kemp on His Way Back to MVP Form

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

Three Benefits of Being a Young, Multi-Sport Athlete

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

How to Recover After Getting Hit by a Pitch

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

How David Ortiz Maintains Peak Performance

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

4 Common Mistakes Made When Coaching Young Athletes

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises