A Note About Breaststroke Kick and Lines

A few days back we published an Instagram post where Techniq Group expert Zach Hayden was explaining two potential ways of setting up your breaststroke kick. We received a number of questions regarding this (thanks!), so I thought an expanded explanation might be helpful.

One could argue that over the last number of years, breaststroke has undergone more changes than any other stroke. Today, many breaststrokers are choosing tempo and power over the ever present concern of increased frontal drag.

Let’s break that down….

Many elite breaststrokes, are swimming at a higher tempo and with more power than their predecessors (think Adam Peaty and Lily King). Two key elements that likely account for this change are, A) less time spent in streamline, B) a slightly more forward set up of the knees for the kick.

Breaststroke kick set up: favoring body line over power; is this the right set up for you?

Breaststroke kick set up: favoring body line over power; is this the right set up for you?

One way to set up the kick is to attempt to align your knees with their hips and shoulders; limiting frontal drag, sadly this also limits power. This set up also requires more ankle flexibility and adds strain on the knees.

On the other hand, many elite breaststrokers are choosing to bring their knees slightly forward (see below), towards the hip line. This set up position allows for a much more powerful kick (think squat), but creates more frontal drag on the thighs… thus the kick set up needs to be swift and deliberate.

Peaty underwater, knees forward setting up that absurdly powerful kick, (screen grab, youtube.com)

Peaty underwater, knees forward setting up that absurdly powerful kick, (screen grab, youtube.com)

Additionally, powerhouse sprint breaststrokers are spending less time in the streamline phase of the stroke. Watch Lily King sprint from underwater and you will see she begins the out-sweep phase of the pull even before her kick is finished! For Miss King, clearly power and tempo win over elongated body line.

Both versions are viable at elite levels; figure out what works for you and being deliberate about implementing that choice.

Cheers,

Jeff

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