You’ve heard us say that the kick is most important in breaststroke, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your pull! A lazy pull can result in incorrect stroke timing and major inefficiencies that result in slower swimming. 

Ready to fix your breaststroke pull? We’ve got you covered with four drills and a workout designed to increase your pull power, speed and technique. 

Breaking Down the Breaststroke Pull

Before we dive into our favorite drills for breaststroke pull, let’s break down what a proper breaststroke pull should look like: 

  1. Press Out: From streamline position, press your hands out with the pinkies up. 
  2. Pull Back: When your hands are just wider than your shoulders, begin to pull down with a strong Early Vertical Forearm to catch the water. At this point you’ll lift your head to breathe. Keep your elbows high here, and avoid pulling your hands all the way to your hips. Think about drawing a big triangle with your hands. 
  3. Explode Forward: When you drop your head back down, your arms should move forward back to streamline. This is the slowest part of the stroke, so it’s important to maximize your power here. 

4 Drills for a Powerful Breaststroke Pull

Incorporate these breaststroke pull drills into your workouts regularly to refine your timing and technique. 

1. Front Scull

Sculling is a great way to develop your feel of the water and practice maintaining an early vertical forearm. 

Start floating on your stomach with your arms extended. Bend at the elbows and point your fingertips to the bottom of the pool. Sweep your hands back and forth, like you’re frosting a large cake. Don’t take any full strokes. Just focus on the sweeping motion to move water with your hands, wrists and forearms!

Related: How to Swim Breaststroke With Perfect Technique

You’ll move pretty slow here. Feel free to kick lightly to keep yourself moving, or use a pull buoy to keep your hips up. To breathe, lift your head. Or, use a snorkel and keep your head down for the full 25. 

Sculling can be tricky for beginners, so give yourself time to master this!

2. Breaststroke Pull With Dolphin Kick

Next, try breaststroke pull with a dolphin kick. Do a full, normal breaststroke pull, but swap the breaststroke kick for a dolphin kick. 

Focus on driving your hands forward in time with your dolphin kick. Think “pull, kick, glide.” This drill will help you get a better feel for that powerful explosion forward at the end of your pull.

We recommend using fins for this drill. Get that extra speed boost! 

3. Breaststroke Pull With Freestyle Kick

Expanding on the previous drill, let’s speed it up with a freestyle kick. In this drill, you’ll do a breaststroke pull with a freestyle flutter kick. 

The freestyle kick is going to force you to increase your tempo, and you’re going to have to kick continuously to maintain your speed and body position. 

We recommend sticking to 25s for this drill. Because it’s higher intensity, keep your distances short and focus on perfect technique.

4. 2 Butterfly Strokes & 2 Breaststroke Strokes

Our final drill mixes butterfly and breaststroke. Do two full butterfly strokes, followed by 2 full breaststroke strokes, and repeat!

This might feel funky at first, but trust us: it’s a good one.

This drill helps you maximize the short axis aspect of your breaststroke. Focus on driving your body forward. Adding in butterfly just might help you master your breaststroke timing. Give it a try and let us know how it feels!

Breaststroke Drill Set

Try this breaststroke swim set to improve your pull, catch and overall efficiency. Log this workout in the MySwimPro app for detailed tracking, analytics and personalized intervals. 


  • 1×300 Freestyle Easy @ 5:00
  • 4×50 IM Order @ 1:00

Drill Set

16×25 Breaststroke @ :40

  • 4×25 Front Scull
  • 4×25 Breaststroke Pull With Dolphin Kick
  • 4×25 Breaststroke Pull With Freestyle Kick
  • 4×25 2 Butterfly Strokes & 2 Breaststroke Strokes

Main Set

5×100 Freestyle & Breaststroke @ 2:00*

  1. 100 Freestyle
  2. 25 Breaststroke & 75 Freestyle
  3. 50 Breaststroke & 50 Freestyle
  4. 75 Breaststroke & 25 Freestyle
  5. 100 Breaststroke

*On these five 100s, focus on perfect pull technique and maximum distance per stroke. Slow down, don’t rush, and think about keeping your elbows high and exploding forward. 

Cool Down

1×100 Freestyle Easy @ 1:30
No matter how advanced you are, there’s always an aspect of breaststroke that can be improved! Check out the MySwimPro app for more tips, drills and workouts designed to help you refine your technique and swim faster than ever.


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