Learn How to Breaststroke
Forget the crawl. The real powerhouse move of the pool: the breaststroke. “It incorporates all the major muscle groups, including everyone’s favorite beach muscles — the pecs,” says Keenan Robinson, Michael Phelps’ strength and conditioning coach. And because the breaststroke requires a glide, a big breath, then a total-body movement, Robinson says swimming laps is like a mini-interval session. Here’s how to do it properly.
Get into the pool and push off the wall, gliding forward in the water with your arms extended in front of you, toes pointed and body tight. Glide under the surface for one count — any more than that and you’ll lose your momentum.
2. Arm Sweep
Sweep arms apart with palms facing out so you’re pushing the water away from you. When your arms reach your sides, bend your elbows and quickly bring your hands in front of you as you raise your head to break the surface and take a breath.
3. Leg Squat
Lower head and move arms straight out in front of you as you bring heels close to butt — “like you are in the deepest of deep squats,” says Robinson. (Note this happens after the arm sweep; you’re not moving arms and legs at the same time.)
Once your arms are fully extended, kick heels backward as hard as you can. “Think of it as an underwater squat jump,” Robinson says. This motion propels you back into your underwater glide, and you’re ready to repeat steps 2 and 3.
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