Every swimmer, beginner or elite, can always improve some aspect of their stroke. Gold medalist and world record holder Adam Peaty is no different!
The British breaststroker swims with near perfect technique, but we found a few ways he can perfect his stroke mechanics. Check out our analysis for a visual breakdown of proper body position, kick mechanics, pull out technique and more!
Breaststroke timing can be broken into 3 stages: pull, kick and glide. You can’t rush the stroke, and you should start and end each stroke in a streamline.
Adam Peaty does a great job at this, although the time he spends in streamline changes dramatically depending on the length of the race. A shorter race results in a faster tempo, and less time in streamline.
Adam Peaty’s pull is a great lesson in maximizing early vertical forearm. He presses his hands out to about 10 and 2 (like on a clock), leading with his pinkies.
You’ll see in race footage that he keeps his elbows high throughout the pull. It’s common for many swimmers to drop their elbows as they begin to drive their hands forward. Keeping the elbows high ensures you pull maximum water!
The key to an efficient breaststroke kick is to keep it narrow. Think about keeping your knees about as wide as your shoulders.
A wider kick doesn’t correlate to an increase in power. When your knees are too wide, you displace too much water, which will slow you down.
Adam Peaty’s kick is nice and narrow, and he tucks his heels tight to his butt. At this point in the kick, his feet are flexed and his toes point out to either side.
The Pull Out
Swimmers are allowed one pull out off the start and off of each wall. We found a few areas Adam Peaty can improve his pullout.
First, he can tighten his streamline to remove extra gaps between his head and his arms. Remember: we want to displace as little water as possible.
Next, we found that when he brings his hands back up into streamline position, he leaves a lot of extra space. Reducing this space will reduce the drag his body creates.
Next we’ll take a look at his head position. Ideally, we want to be looking straight down during the pull out. Adam is looking too far down, bringing his head out of alignment.
Related: How Adam Peaty Swims So Fast
Of course, there are numerous good things about Adam’s pull out. He keeps his elbows tucked in close to his body, and has a solid pull and dolphin kick.
Looking at footage of Adam racing, you’ll see that his body is extremely high in the water. During the recovery phase of the stroke, his entire back side is visible above the water. Head position plays a huge role in this — looking too far forward will cause the hips to drop, making it difficult to stay high in the water.
Adam has also shared videos swimming with a stretch cord. This tool pulls him forward and allows him to swim above race pace to work on tempo and hand speed. He trains in a similar way using a pool that has a current.
He also works on his pull outs with paddles to build strength, going for multiple pull outs in a row to challenge his breath control.
Adam trains hard in the water, but dryland training helps him build the strength and power he needs to swim fast. He incorporates challenging core work to help with body position, and plyometric exercises to enhance the power in his pull and kick.