Perfecting Your Breaststroke Glide
The hanging streamline drill
In all my years as a swimmer and coach, I found that one very simple skill was more important to breaststroke than any other. Holding the body in as tight a streamline as possible throughout the stroke enables you to make gains with very little effort. Keeping the entire stroke streamlined reduces frontal and lateral drag, and enables a longer, faster stroke.
The streamline is most important, though, during the glide, so keep the arms straight and head tucked tightly, while pointing your toes and keeping your knees straight and together. By developing discipline with this simple skill, even non-breaststrokers can make significant improvements.
Though the streamline position may seem easy to accomplish, even the best swimmers in the world continue to practice and train themselves to master the technique. There are many simple exercises that can assist you in mastering the streamline position. One simple drill actually takes place on dry land; the Hanging Streamline is straightforward and can be practiced alone or with a partner.
• First you must find the perfect hanging streamline position.
• Hang from a pull-up bar by your hands
• Reposition your hands so that they are touching in a close grip
• Shrug shoulders up to squeeze your ears
• Position head in a neutral position with eyes pointing up towards your hands
• Tuck hips and bottom under and hollow out your midsection
• Straighten your legs and point your toes
• Once you have adjusted yourself into the perfect streamline position hold the position for 10 seconds and then relax (you should feel contracting).
• Repeat finding and holding a perfect streamline three times.
• You can use a training partner to provide feedback and even gentle body position adjustment.
By training yourself to understand, feel and be able to recreate a perfect Hanging Streamline, you will be able to apply this position to the water to improve your starts, walls and your breaststroke glide.
- Technique and Training