Competitive swimmers undergo grueling training exercises to prepare them for swim meets. Breaststroke is a very taxing stroke and even half a second can mean the difference between victory and defeat, so swimmers often focus on developing powerful strokes and strong lower limbs to push and pull themselves through the water. Both interval and endurance workouts are key to perfecting your breaststroke.
The Masters Swimming Drill
During swim meets and races, winners and losers are often divided by seconds. Experienced athletes train not only to increase strength, speed and endurance, but also for peak efficiency in all aspects of swimming, including race turns. Even if you aren't a pro athlete, race turns prevent you from resting against a wall every lap, forcing you to train more continuously and making you faster and stronger. Since very few swimming competitions take place in open water, practicing race turns prepares you for competition settings. Recommended by Masters Swimming, a national program for adult swimmers, the Masters swimming drill trains specifically for race conditions, aiming to shave off valuable seconds during race turns. After a 10- to 15-minute warm-up, during which your lungs should open up for peak effectiveness, launch into a 200-meter drill using race turns whenever necessary. During these turns, push off against the wall as hard as you can while underwater, aiming to travel anywhere between 11 to 15 yards before surfacing. Repeat this drill five more times for a complete workout.
The 3700-Meter Workout
The 3700-Meter Workout, named for the distance covered not including the warm-up and cool-down, demands excessive strength and endurance. "Swimming World" magazine ranks it for swimmers competing or training at a national level. The warm-up should take at least 15 minutes, during which you swim 1000 meters at an easy pace. If necessary, you can switch between any of the strokes except for butterfly. Then swim 16 50-meter laps, followed by kick drills performed over an additional 16 50-meter laps. Follow this up with the breaststroke over five 200-meter laps, pushing hard during the last 50 meters of each lap to increase your speed by at least three seconds. Complete a pull drill for any stroke, preferably freestyle or breaststroke, over 20 50-meter laps. Follow this by a speed drill of four 25-meter laps. Push as hard as you can for these laps. Cool down with a final 1000-meter easy swim.
U.S. Navy SEALs Breaststroke Workout for Endurance
The U.S. Navy SEALs use interval drills to train swimmers for endurance and pace. For accuracy, they recommend a swimming clock or diving watch for ease of tracking time. The breaststroke endurance drill consists of two 50-meter laps, a five-second rest and then a 100-meter swim. To complete the workout, repeat this drill three times total. If you need to, you can rest up to 15 seconds. The Navy also advises you to avoid exhausting yourself during the two 50-meter laps and instead save strength for the upcoming 100-meter swim.
U.S. Navy SEAL Breaststroke Workout for Strength and Power
While the Navy SEAL endurance workout focused on pacing yourself through the workout, the strength and power interval drill pushes you to develop the power of your strokes. Begin at a strong pace, building up to race pace quickly. Swim 10 50-meter laps. If this is too difficult at first, begin with five laps and work your way up over time. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between each lap.