This is an easy drill that can be done in almost any pool. All you need is two arms and a gutter. A bathing suit wonï¿½t hurt, either. Despite this being very easy to do, there is a lot that can be gained when it is done right.
This drill came about after working with a couple of young breaststrokers. What I was trying to get them to feel was the transfer of energy through their bodies, that starts from the chin and works its way down to the knees. In order to get to that feeling, we isolated the hands by putting them in the gutter.
Why Do It:
Breaststrokers, especially young breaststrokers, often put too much emphasis on swimming with their hands. This drill helps you get the feeling of using your body to pull in breaststroke, without having to pull. Once you get the feeling of transferring energy through your body without using your hands, you can start to swim full stroke, concentrating on body not hands.
How To Do It:
1. Place your hands in or on the gutter, depending what type of gutter you have at your pool. Make sure that they are at least shoulder width apart if not wider. Try to replicate the catch point for your normal breaststroke pull.
2. Let your feet dangle behind you. You might need to flutter kick slightly to keep your feet at the surface.
3. In one motion pull your body up to your hands. Exaggerate the motion of getting up over your hands.
4. Make the motion start at your head and feel it transfer all the way down your body to your knees.
5. Finish with your body fully extended up over your elbows. Your hips should be right where your hands are.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
1. Lead with your chin. When your hands are fully extended your first move should be a subtle sliding forward of the chin.
2. As your chin exits the water the energy should transfer to the back of your shoulders.
3. When your chin and shoulders are out of the water, squeeze your glutes to slide your hips forward. This is one of the most overlooked parts of the breaststroke.
4. Lastly you should squeeze your hamstrings to finish with your body up over your hands and close to the gutter.
5. Try a few of these in a row and then do some whole-stroke swimming, focusing on transferring your energy from your chin…to the back of your shoulders…to your glutes…all the way down to the back of your knees.