Top Tips to Improve Your Breaststroke Pull Technique

breaststroke swimming tips

If you're looking for ways to improve your breaststroke technique this season, a great way to start is by fine-tuning your breaststroke pull.

Perfecting your arm technique, as well as your transitions between the three phases of a breaststroke pull, is a sure way of boosting your efficiency and speed in the pool.

Getting the pull element of your breaststroke technique spot on will help to maintain good rhythm and timing, minimise resistance and, most importantly, make you a faster swimmer.

The three phases of a breaststroke pull are:

  • The outsweep
  • The insweep
  • The recovery

Mastering your technique for each of these phases is incredibly important, and will ensure that you move properly as you transition from one position to the next.

In association with TYR swim coach experts, we have some simple and easy-to-follow video guides that will show you exactly how to perform the perfect breaststroke pull and pull down.

How to improve your breaststroke pull and stroke

The three phases of the breastroke pull are the outsweep, the insweep, and the recovery. We'll take a look at ther technique required for each phase individually, and then you can watch our video guide below to see how to get the best transition from one position to the next.


To begin your outsweep, make sure you're starting in a streamlined position. Angle your hands slightly so that your pinky fingers are just under the water line and your thumbs are pointing downwards.

Sweep your hands below the surface, pushing the water outside the shoulders.


Next comes the insweep, which is the power phase of your pull. To begin, reposition your hands so that your fingertips are pointed down and your elbows are just under the water surface. Then, sweep your hands toward each other.

It is essential that the speed of the hands advances from phase to phase. As your hands accelerate through the insweep, your shoulders and head should naturally rise up, making it the ideal time to take a breath.


Finally, you need to transition into the recovery phase of your stroke. Shoot your hands forward in a straight line out from the chest, into a streamlined position. At the time your body is fully extended, your head should be back in the water, pointing towards the other side of the pool with your face down and eyes slightly forward.

Do not begin the next stroke cycle until your first kick is completed.

Practice tip: When breathing during the insweep phase, squeeze your shoulders and bring them up to your ears. To ensure that you're throwing your body forward through the water into the recovery phase, imagine yourself rotating your shoulders over your ears.

How to improve your breaststroke pull down

After propelling off the wall from a push, turn or start, a breaststroke swimmer should complete a proper pull down. Here's how to ensure you do this with a strong technique.

To begin, start in a streamlined position. As your momentum slows, initiate a dolphin kick. At the end of the kick, separate your hands and sweep the arms out to a point slightly greater than shoulder width, holding the palms' angle towards the pool walls.

Next, bend your elbows, open your armpits, and reach deep into the water with your fingertips. Sweep your hands in and down towards your feet, while maintaining a high elbow position and straight body line.

Once your pull is complete, sneak your arms up underneath your torso and chest, then over your head, keeping them as close to the body as possible.

Lift your heels and begin your breaststroke kick. During this part, be sure that your hands are in a streamlined position with the body as you approach the surface of the water.

Practice tip: Body position is vital to a breaststroke pull down. To practice, focus on keeping your head, neck and spine in line throughout your pull down. This will ensure proper technique as you swim.

Top training aids to improve breaststroke technique

tyr pull buoys


If you want to concentrate fully on your stroke technique and your breaststroke pull, use a pull buoy between your thighs while training.

These training aids are ideal for working solely on your pull technique, as they will keep your lower body buoyant and promote the correct body position without the need to worry about your kicking.

As well as that, they also help to improve upper body strength and stamina by isolating the upper body's muscles and forcing them to do the propulsion work.

tyr paddles


During arm technique training, using finger paddles can help to develop your catch position and arm pull.

These hand paddles encourage focus on hand positioning in the water, and will help to develop upper body strength and power as well as stroke technique.

tyr kickboard


Once you've mastered your breaststroke pull, you will want to make sure your kicking technique is equally up to scratch.

Using a kickboard will allow you to turn your attentions to your lower body, helping you to perfect your kick while building up leg muscle and strength.

With your fine-tuned breaststroke pull technique combined with increased kicking performance, your PB is sure to start falling!

finis positive drive fins


Training fins traditionally are not made for breaststroke, but positive drive fins boast a unique blade design and heel strap that help to improve breaststroke kick performance and power as well as in the other three main swimming strokes.

Among the popular choices currently on the market are the FINIS Positive Drive Fins and the Mad Wave Positive Drive Fins.


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