How to do breaststroke

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Breaststroke takes its technique cues from the frog; you bring your heels tight up to your glutes, tuck your elbows in to the side then propel forward, as if your joints were spring-loaded. It’s the slowest and some say oldest of the competitive strokes, but also the simplest to grasp thanks to easier breath control. Unless you opt to ribbit.

The beauty of breaststroke is that it works for everyone from beginners to pros, but when you increase the speed it offers a serious test of your strength and endurance. If you only think of it as ‘the slow stroke’, watch this video of the ‘Flying Fish’ Michael Phelps to set that viewpoint right, then bolster your own breaststroke with the four Speedo videos below.

The stroke

As with the other three swimming strokes, the secret to speed in breaststroke lies in perfect hand and arm positioning to maximise efficiency in the water. Watch Speedo’s slow-motion video to see how to position your upper body, and find out how finger paddles and a pullbuoy can help your catch positioning and arm pull.

The kick

Like a propeller at the back of a boat, your legs should power you through the breaststroke, working in combination with your arms. The better your kick technique, the more propulsion you’ll have in the water, which will help those lap times tumble. See how you can improve your kick and hone technique with a kickboard in this video.


To progress from the doggy paddle, you need to put your head underwater to develop an efficient breathing style. But for those that struggle with freestyle’s complex breathing patterns, the head-up nature of breaststroke makes it much simpler to catch your breath. Watch Speedo’s breathing video to see how to develop better breath control.

Body positioning

Good body positioning is all about making yourself as streamlined as possible in the stroke to maximise swimming efficiency and speed. In breaststroke, you want your hips as close to the surface as possible, your back straight and stomach in and your head forwards and tilted slightly down – watch the video to see how the stroke should look.

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