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Upgrade your breathing technique by Fred Vergnoux

Discover the small change to your breathing technique that could have you swimming more efficiently, in the latest blog instalment from elite coach, Fred Vergnoux. Here he talks technique tweaks for maximum results.

Wear fins to work on your breathing technique


Speed and momentum can make your swim easier, allowing you can focus on your breathing technique, so consider wearing fitness fins when working on your breathing.


Freestyle – don’t turn to exhale


When you swim freestyle, you need to be sure that the moment you finish exhaling, you breathe in, but you musn’t turn your head to the side to do both. Every time you move your head, you create resistance and damage your speed. So remember to maintain your body position as much as possible, exhale in the water and only turn your head to breathe.


Freestyle – know when to breathe


When you breathe at the right time, your propulsion isn’t affected. In freestyle, breathing every 3 strokes is the optimum because it allows you to spend as much time as possible in the water. Try this great freestyle breathing drill:


Practise breathing every 2 strokes, then every 3, then 5, then 6, then 7 strokes. As a further challenge, perform simple fly kicking with fins, arms by your sides, and alternate your breathing sides: breathing on the left, then on the right.


Breaststroke – try this drill to work on lung capacity and exhalation


Perform one arm pull then three kicks. During the three kicks, focus on exhaling, long and slow. Then practise alternating with short, fast exhalation. Think about holding your breath and exhaling the air out quicker than normal.


Try the butterfly breathing technique challenge


Perform your butterfly stroke as normal using just one arm (place your other arm by your side in a streamlined position). This provides a really good breathing challenge. Tip: Fins will help make this easier.


Summary of the week


Don’t forget to exhale properly! Practise exhaling, both long and slow and short and fast.
Try wearing fins while practising your breathing – the extra momentum will make it easier.
Next week… read about the small change you can make to help you set goals and achieve them.