Swimming is a popular recreational sports activity and an effective exercise of choice for most people because of its many physical and mental benefits. The Breaststroke – hailed as the oldest of all swimming strokes – is frequently used in training, as it requires almost all muscle groups to successfully execute the stroke. The Breaststroke gives you an option to control the pace of the stroke; you can swim at a slow pace or swim more rapidly for a challenging workout.

Good Stroke for Beginners

The Breaststroke may take time to master, but the basics are easy to understand. Swimming instructors often teach the breaststroke to new students because the swimmer’s face often stays above the surface of the water while performing the stroke. It is less stressful for a new swimmer since he/she is always aware of his/her location in the water. The Breaststroke in a recreational context can be done at a leisurely pace, which makes learning easier.

The fundamentals of The Breaststroke include pull, breathe, kick, and glide. You swim on your stomach, pull your arms outward and back in a Y-shaped movement. While pulling, the hands and arms should press out in front of the chest and recover under the surface of the water. In performing the kick, your legs should push back in a frog like motion.   

Lower Body Workout

Although The Breaststroke uses many different parts of your body, its emphasis is on the lower body muscles. The powerful frog kick is the major action that propels your body through the water. Because your legs do most of the propulsion work, your hamstrings and inner thighs get a good workout. While bending your knees toward the torso, the hamstring muscles and hip flexors work together to support the action. When you extend your legs and push back at the end of the frog kick, your gluteal muscles work with your quadriceps to push your body forward.

Upper Body Workout

The Breaststroke tones the muscles in your shoulders and triceps, as well as your chest muscles. The arm movement includes an in-sweep and an out-sweep motion that build the shoulders and back. The upper body muscles that contribute most to the body’s propulsion are the pectorals (chest muscles) and the latissimus dorsi (back muscle), also known as the “lats.” If you want stronger upper body muscles, increase your speed or incorporate more challenging techniques on your swim.

Core Body Workout

Since The Breaststroke uses different parts of the body, it helps in building strength, power, and endurance. It’s considered a short-axis stroke, which means there is a desirable rotation or bending at the short axis of the body through the hip. This makes breaststroke an effective core muscle group exercise. The swimmer extends the arch of the back and elevates the shoulder to boost the kick. The upward and downward motion of the chest in a wavelike motion engages the core body muscles. The core muscles stabilize the body in performing breaststrokes, and the more your engage your core muscles, the stronger they will become.

Overall Fitness

The Breaststroke is the slowest among other swimming strokes, thus burns lesser calories. Since it does not use as much energy, it allows swimmers to swim over long distances. Longer-distance swimming is a good workout for the heart and lungs.  

If you have weak knees or knee injuries, the kicking motion of breaststroke will put more strain on your knees. You can modify the traditional breaststroke technique if you want to reap the benefits of this stroke. Switch to the dolphin-style kick in butterfly stroke; slightly bend your knees and hips while keeping your legs together to propel your body forward.