1 Arm, 1 Leg Breaststroke: A Drill to Develop Race Tempo Breaststroke

1 Arm, 1 Leg Breaststroke: A Drill to Develop Race Tempo Breaststroke

Quicksilver Swimming coach and former PAC-10 champion in the 100  breaststroke Andre Salles-Cunha drops an advanced breaststroke drill to help you set up race tempo.

Is your breaststroke stuck in first gear? Need to add some pep and fuel to your stroke rate? Pumped up to swim faster breaststroke?

Coach Andre-Salles Cunha’s favorite breastroke drill, the one arm, one leg breaststroke, will help you do just that.

Salles-Cunha is the head coach at Quiksilver Swimming, a USA Swimming team based out of San Jose. QSS has had at least one national age group top-10 breaststroker over the past 7 years, and they’ve had 4 different girls crack the top 5 in that span if you include 10 & unders.

He himself is no stranger to breaststroke, having won two PAC-10 titles in the 100 breast and being recognized as a three-time Collegiate All-American while swimming for Stanford.

As a decidedly haggard breaststroker I remember this drill very well from my own age group swimming days. To say it was ugly when I did this is to be polite, but for the breaststrokers on the team you could see their stroke rate explosively shoot up.

I liken it to swimming freestyle with dolphin kick, or doing spin drill for backstrokers; they are all designed to help you get your arms moving fast.

The Drill: 1 Arm, 1 Leg Breaststroke.

Purpose: To set up some devastating race tempo.

How to Do It:

  • Swim breaststroke, grabbing one leg with the opposite arm in a quad stretch.
  • Release at the 15m mark and continue swimming with the same tempo held during the drill.
  • It will likely feel awkward the first time you do it, but remember the goal is a quick arm and kick motion and then carrying that tempo over into your full swimming.

“I was introduced to this drill by Don Watkins when I was in high school,” says Salles-Cunha.

“I used it in conjunction with a healthy dose of sculling to help succeed my freshman year of college during my six weeks of self-directed taper.”

Up Next:

  • The 1 Up, 1 Down Drill for Breaststrokers. Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics head coach Tony Batis stops by to share his favorite drill for breaststrokers that is designed to help promote stroke length and efficiency.
  • How to Fix and Prevent Breaststroker’s Knee. Everything you have ever wanted to know about staying injury free, and what to do if you fall victim to this common injury.
  • How to Improve Your Breaststroke Kick. Unlike the other three strokes, the kick is the main propulsive force in the stroke. And it’s also the hardest to master. Here are two breaststroke kick drills from 2-time Olympian Mike Alexandrov to help you improve your kick.

Photo Credit: JD Lasica

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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