Pulldown In The Breaststroke Pullout

by SwimSwam Partner Content Off

October 29th, 2021 Training

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

While one might think that the breaststroke pulldown should be similar to the breaststroke pull while swimming, it is not.

The pulldown in the breaststroke pullout is performed much more like a butterfly pulling motion than a breaststroke pulling motion. The motion should be similar since the hands and arms are extended to the swimmer’s sides, much like a butterfly pull. That means spending little time in the out sweeping motion of the hands, turning the hands quickly backward, and keeping the propulsion in the backward motion for as long as possible. Avoiding much in-sweep of the hands is also desirable.

We see many swimmers at The Race Club initiate their pulldown with a wide sweeping motion of the arms, ending with an in sweeping motion of the hands. To improve the pullout, we would prefer to see much of the force directed backward rather than outward and inward.

In a later article, we will discuss the pros and cons of a wide breaststroke pull ( Adam Peaty, Tatiana Schoenmaker)  versus a narrower pull (most age group swimmers).

But for now, while teaching the breaststroke pullout correctly. Once a swimmer’s hands separate from the hyper streamline position after the dolphin kick, make sure the hands turn the corner quickly and direct their force backward.

Another important technique that we teach at The Race Club for the breaststroke pulldown is finishing with the hands  under the surface of the swimmer’s thighs. The swimmer is forced to hunch their shoulders with this technique, reducing frontal drag by 4 1/2%. This technique will also improve the distance achieved on the pulldown.

Finally, in teaching the arm recovery from the pulldown, be sure to instruct your swimmers to keep their hands as close to their body line as possible while drawing the arms forward. This technique will also help reduce frontal drag and lead to a better pullout.

We hope you enjoy this week’s video release with two of our top age group swimmers, Sam and Chloe, who demonstrate what not to do and what to do on a correct breaststroke pulldown.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

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