54 - Mr. Dustin’s Approach to Breaststroke

TL:DR | The underwater type of swimming, and is probably the second stroke you will learn (maybe backstroke so 3rd). Approach it like you are cutting a pizza, and you'll be all set!

3 min read
54 - Mr. Dustin’s Approach to Breaststroke

Ever see those scenes in a movie where the actor is swimming underwater?

Yeah, that is what this is.

A gif of a woman swimming breaststroke.

Boom... Boom. That is how I explain, the arms move, then the legs move. A 1-2 1-2 pattern. Technically you can do other types of kicks with this stroke too, even the frontcrawl's alternating kick, but the "Froggy" style you see in the gif above is proper.

Why + Philosophy:

One big difference in philosophy of how I teach it compared to others, is that I don't believe in the "Pogo-stick" method. That is what I call it at least. A lot of swim instructors come from a swim team background, and so they are confined to the thinking of what they practiced.

The pogo stick method is that you come up for air every stroke. I think that is what she is doing in the gif above too. Although she is maximizing her glide well, so it is hard to tell.

This method is mainly due to swim competition rules, where they tell you not to do too many strokes under water before coming up. Perhaps because if someone has a stronger lung capacity, then they will more than likely win? Seems like that is the point of a race, to be better, but I digress.

How + Physics:

Swimming is about moving, and not about breathing. However you do need to know how to do it.

The way I see it is that when you do a traditional breaststroke you are moving 100% forward, but when you do a breathing stroke then you are moving 50% forward - 50% upward.

Meaning you are literally only going at half the speed.

Here are the steps to doing a Breaststroke:

I am going to explain it as if I was teaching a kid, as that is the simplest way to get the point across.

  1. Okay you got your "Pizza" - Hands out straight, palms touching.
  2. Put on the cheese - Turn your hands facing down next to each other.
  3. Spread it all out - Separate your hands and turn back, turn as you go, not all at once.
  4. Let's get the pizza in our belly - Stop at your body (don't go behind your back).
  5. Robot arms in - hands are back parallel to our body, so lets bring them into our stomach.
  6. "Put it in the oven" - From your belly push your hands out together.

What + Psychology:

If you are doing swim team or competition you're gonna have to do the pogo stick style. Breathing every stroke. However I do suggest that in your own practice time, you delay your breathing as much as you can. Focus on doing more normal strokes under the water. Go farther.

If you aren't on swim team, then you can just skip to that.

You will have a harder time than with frontcrawl because more than likely you will be underwater. It is a good thing, you need that pressure to hold your breathe for longer, that is what is going to push you to become better.


All in all, this is a stroke you do not want to ignore. Backstroke may be useful, and butterfly is hard (which is good for training). However Breaststroke and Frontcrawl are the two most important strokes.

Take your time, even do the wrong kick for a while if it helps you learn the arms. That is okay!

This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.

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