Improving Your Breaststroke in the Off-Season

Just because it’s not prime time for swimming doesn’t mean you can’t keep your skills sharp! Stop by your local indoor swimming pool during the off-season to practice. It’s important to keep improving your swimming skills so that you’re ready to jump back into action when lifeguarding season rolls back around. Check out these tips on how to improve your breaststroke.

Arm Motions

  1. Start at the glide position.
  2. Keep your elbows at the same level as your skull, and position your hand forward and out.
  3. Then sweep your hands back into your body. They should meet at your upper chest. Don’t sweep your arms too wide, because the majority of your power to propel forward will come from your legs, not from your arms.
  4. Be sure to keep your elbows below the surface of the water as your hands recover. Your hands can recover under or over the water.
  5. Stretch your arms forward with your hands to restart.


Kicking is where most of your power to propel forward comes from. Therefore, try to perfect your kicking technique before swim season rolls back around.

  1. Your knees should be a little more than hip-width apart, facing downward, and slightly behind your hipline.
  2. Keep your feet flexed. Turn them outward as they sweep out, and then backwards in a circular motion.
  3. Your legs should finish together, stretched out, and your feet should be pointed.


Timing is key! Make sure you practice your timing to successfully improve your breaststroke technique. Keep in mind that either your legs or your arms should always be propelling through the water. There shouldn’t be a moment where your legs and your arms aren’t being propulsive.

  1. Your arms should propel while your legs are recovering.
  2. Your legs should propel while your arms are recovering.


  1. Lift your shoulder to bring your face out of the water to breathe. Let your head rise naturally with your shoulders. Your chin should briefly rest just above the surface of the water. It’s important that you lift your shoulders instead of your head, because lifting your head instead of your shoulders can lead to back pain.
  2. Inhale through your mouth before letting your shoulders drop back into the water.
  3. Exhale during the glide.

Let’s Put it All Together!

Check out this video created by Speedo and presented by ProSwimwear on how to execute the perfect breaststroke:

The off-season is the perfect time to improve your swimming skills. Whether you’re a first-time lifeguard preparing for the pretest, or an experienced lifeguard who wants to keep their skills sharp, practice is key! Once you’re ready, be sure to register for a lifeguard training or a lifeguard review course to keep your certification up to date. Happy swimming!

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