Knowing Which Breaststroke Kick is Fastest

I have said many times that breaststroke has more successful variations than all other strokes combined. The problem is knowing what works best for you. Here is a great experiment you can do:

My description is based on a short-course yards pool.

First, create a baseline.  Using your current kick, push off the wall and do a complete pullout. As you break the surface from the pullout kick as fast as you can to the flags on the other end of the pool.  Ensure you are not using your arms by holding your hands together in front, or at your side. Count how many kicks you did, and capture the time it took you, from the moment you broke the surface after the breakout until your head passed the flags (you will probably need a second person to be the timer.) This is best repeated multiple times, and even better if you can do it over several different workouts. You want a baseline time and count to be a reliable average of at least nine trials. Also record your best time from the nine trials.

Next, learn the change and repeat the exercise above approximately three times. If your time is faster this is a good sign, if your count is lower and time is the same this is also a benefit.  Careful though, a lower count that does not give you an equal or faster time is not a benefit.

Using this test can help you quantify the improvement that a kick change is capable of providing you. It is too easy to fall into a trap of “that felt good” or “that felt fast” and making a change that felt good instead of actually being faster.

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