Learn to swim healthy breaststroke in 10 easy steps
Breaststroke in one of the best strokes in swimming, if you swim WEST
Most Doctors recommend swimming in other techniques such as freestyle or backstroke, in this article you will understand the advantage of swimming breaststroke WEST in 10 easy steps.
10 Easy Steps to Learn Breaststroke using WEST technique
Breaststroke style, as you’ve probably heard, is unhealthy, or at least that’s what doctors say. When you open your arms and fold your legs towards your back, it creates an arching and a lot of pressure in your lower back and your neck which are extremely unhealthy for any person unless he is a professional athlete under the age of twenty.
On the other hand, it is a style that works on 240 muscle groups, more than any other style.
Our goal is to achieve balance and personalization of the movement for every person, even if he is not a professional athlete, in order to maintain the lower back and neck.
The following ten exercises will help you to quickly learn the style of Breaststroke that suits you personally. For each exercise, we will specify the implementation and the goal of the exercise.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 1 – Walking with Circles:
Walk in the water while making big circles with your hands. The intention is to stretch your hands forward in an arrow, palms facing each other, at a depth of 35 cm below the waterline, not at the waterline and not too deep. Walk in shallow water and make a big slow circle in the water, with your arms submerged the whole time, until your hands touch your abdomen, and back to the arrow position. Try to keep your back as straight as possible. When you feel comfortable you can accelerate the pace a little but it is still important to emphasize the delay in the arrow.
As soon as the hands open, inhale, and when our hands close into the arrow, exhale, all in a slow and calm manner.
Exercise goals: Improving lung capacity as you walk, and creating a slight pressure of the water on your chest to allow more oxygen to enter, and also to get the body and muscles ready for the Breaststroke style and movement that is correct for us, while our head is still out of the water and we can see the movement, .
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 2 – Arrow + Slow Standing:
Slowly lay on the water in a prone arrow position and let the body float, palms facing each other, at a depth of about 35 cm from the waterline, with the head down. Wait 3-5 seconds without blowing out air, then start exhaling out of the nose or mouth, and slowly bring your knees toward your abdomen and your feet to the floor, the hands going back. It is important not to bring the legs all the way to the abdomen, but to keep an angle of 90 degrees between the abdomen and thigh so as not to create pressure in the lower back, and also to start exhaling before bringing the knees to the abdomen to create a certain sinking of the body. Only after the feet touch the floor, raise your heads.
Exercise goals: Learning how to stand up without damaging the lower back when performing an exercise without breathing. While doing so we naturally elongate the muscles and maintain the back and neck.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 3 – Circles in the hands without breathing + standing up slowly:
Start as in exercise # 2 – lay on the water in a prone arrow position, hands at a depth of 35 cm, and begin to make slow circles with the hands. The legs can perform gentle rocking movements as in Freestyle, or not move at all. During the whole movement the head looks down, without blowing bubbles, so as to create buoyancy. As soon as you reach 10-12 m without breathing, stand up slowly while exhaling from the nose as in Exercise 2 – slowly bring the knees to the stomach, feet to the floor, and hands back. Only after your feet touched the floor, lift your head slowly and stand up, take a few breaths of air and perform the exercise again.
It is important not to make the circles in the water line, but 35 cm below the water line, because this creates strong pressure on the neck, shoulders and lower back, and causes sinking and slow progress.
Exercise goals: Improving lung capacity and feeling your progress without creating pressure to the neck and back.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 4 – Circles in the hands with fins + standing up with rotation:
Put on elastic and flexible fins, make circles with your hands as in the previous exercise, only this time the legs kick slowly like in Freestyle with the fins, not in order to progress, but to create elasticity in the lower back. When you’ve reached the half-line of the pool, 12.5 m’, stand up with rotation – one hand moves to the side of the body, while exhaling through the nose, and you roll to supine position while rotating the body 180 degrees without neck and back work. As soon as you’ve inhaled, bring your knees to the stomach again and stand. If you try to bring the knees to the stomach with the fins in prone position, we will put unnecessary pressure on the back and it will be hard for us to stand up.
Exercise goals: Creating elasticity and flexibility in the lower back while swimming with fins. Makin a little faster progress with fins and circles to prepare the body optimally for the next stages of Breaststroke.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 5 – Circles in the hands with walking + lifting the head:
Walk for 3 seconds with your hands in an arrow 35 cm deeper than the water line, as before, and your head in the water, looking at the bottom, slowly exhaling through your nose. Try to keep your back as straight as possible, even though it cannot be completely straight. After 3 seconds open your hands in the water, lift your head by the force of the arms and not the neck. The chin stays in the water the whole time. Slowly inhale when you open your hands and then return your head to the water and your hands to the arrow position.
Exercise goals: To practice lifting the head without pressure on the neck in “laboratory conditions”, while walking, before we swim and have to combine all the movements.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 6 – Circles in the hands with fins and lifting the head:
Lay on the water in prone position with your hands in an arrow and kick your feet gently with the fins for 3 seconds. After 3 seconds, neutralize the footwork almost completely, open your hands, lift your head, inhale slowly and immediately put your head back into the water and return to the arrow position with your hands and kick your legs for 3 seconds.
Exercise goals: To prepare us for the combination of hands and feet movements in the following exercises. The fins help us to maintain our backs because when you stop working with your legs, they tend to sink, so you don’t arch your back. Thus we can more easily bring the head out of the water without creating pressure to the lower back and neck.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 7 – Circles in the legs without breathing:
Lay on the water in prone position with your hands either in an arrow or open at shoulder width if you feel unstable. Perform a circle with your legs. Bring the heels slowly towards the buttocks but don’t exceed your maximum range, with the heels point towards each other and the feet face outward. Unlike competitive swimming, you do not have to keep your knees close together, so as not to put pressure on your knees, and instead you release your knees, letting them open like a frog and make a big circle with your legs, close them and return to arrow position. After you close your legs, wait 3 seconds in an arrow with arms and legs closed. Throughout the exercise, no air is exhaled so as not to cause a sinking. If you still feel you’re sinking, you can use a floating device (a “banana”) under your armpits to practice more easily. Perform the exercise until you reach the pool half-line (12.5 m) or until you run out of air and stand slowly as you did in exercise 3.
Exercise goals: To teach us how to work with the legs in Breaststroke, while maintaining the knees and back. Contrary to popular belief, the legwork in Breaststroke, if not performed in an extreme and fast way, strengthens the core muscles, abductors and adductors muscles that contributes to our posture.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 8 – circle with hands + circle with legs without breathing:
We separate the movements to give each movement its place, and see that we are really progressing. Lay on the water in an arrow, make a full circle with your hands as we have learned, at the right depth below the waterline, and return to the arrow, facing the floor. Only when the hands are in the arrow position, make a big circle with your legs and when you finish it, float in an arrow for 3 seconds, all without exhalation. Repeat the movement sequence again and again until you reach the pool half-line or you run out of air and then slowly stand up while bringing your knees to the stomach.
Exercise goals: To see that our movements indeed make us progress, before we start to swim Breaststroke combined with breathing.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 9: Full Breaststroke swim with movement separation:
In this exercise we will talk about all elements of WEST Breaststroke, because they are very important. . Lay on the water in prone position, hands in an arrow 35 cm below the water line, looking down and legs closed. Make a slow circle with your hands and at the same time lift your head to breathe (the chin stays in the water). Once your nose touches the water, start blowing out bubbles and doing the leg movement. It’s important to understand that the legs move faster than the hands. Make a circle with your the legs as we learned, close your legs and wait in an arrow when the arms and legs are straight for 3 seconds. During this time we continue to stretch, and here is another important WEST element – if we sink, we won’t exhale at all during this time, but if we float well, we can exhale.
Another important WEST element is full separation of the movements. If we start the legs movement while the face is still out of the water, we will put pressure on one of the worst areas in the lower back – the 4L and 5L vertebrae.
Exercise goals: To learn not to open the legs while the hands are opening. This way we don’t create strong pressure to the lower back during legwork.
Learn to swim Breaststroke -Exercise # 10 – Quick Breaststroke:
This is a faster but not a very fast pace, with the same emphasis. Open your hands while lifting your head, head back to the water while folding your hands and elbows toward your stomach and then start the leg movement and in the end stretch the arms and legs for 3 seconds. It is very important to extend your movements and keep your head down. This way you can enjoy this style of swimming without putting pressure on the neck and back. It is highly recommended to swim Freestyle occasionally to release the body.
Exercise goals: To produce high while speed swimming for a distance but still maintain the neck and back.