It may not be part of the actual stroke, but the pullout is essential to fast breaststroke.

Every time you dive in or push off the wall, you can maximize your underwater time with a strong pullout before you start your first breaststroke stroke. This is especially important for competition, where efficiency means everything!

Even if you don’t plan to compete, learning how to do a breaststroke pullout can help boost your speed so you can swim further in less time. Check out our favorite drill progression for the breaststroke pullout, plus a swim workout designed to improve your technique.

How to Do a Breaststroke Pullout in 4 Steps

In breaststroke races, you can go as far as you can underwater – there’s no 15 meter underwater rule in breaststroke like there is in other strokes. That means that every pullout is a chance to push those underwater limits! 

We can break the pullout into four key steps:

  1. Push Off in Streamline: Whether you’re diving in or pushing off the wall, make sure you start with a tight streamline! 
  2. Take One Dolphin Kick: While in streamline, do one dolphin kick before you separate your hands. Don’t do more than one…you’ll get disqualified.
  3. Take One Pull: After completing your dolphin kick, separate your hands. Pull your hands down like you’re doing two freestyle pulls at the same time. Keep your arms about shoulder width apart, and pull with a high elbow. Take advantage of the glide while your hands are at your side!
  4. Kick Up to the Surface: When you feel yourself starting to slow down, glide your hands forward to streamline and do one breaststroke kick to push yourself up to the surface. It’s time to start swimming!

Don’t extend your pullout too long, or you’ll stop moving. The goal is to put each piece of the pullout together to maximize your momentum. This takes practice, so stick with it and you’ll find what feels best to you.

4 Drills for a Better Breaststroke Pullout

To help you master the breaststroke pullout, we’re going to break it into smaller pieces, rebuilding a perfect pullout step by step!

1. Streamline Float

To start, push off the wall in streamline and glide as far as you can without kicking. Try to keep your body parallel to the surface of the water. 

Related: 2 Drills to Improve Your Streamline & Body Position

Tighten your streamline, engage your core and explode off the wall! Having this basic streamline down pat is key to the rest of your pullout.

2. Streamline + Dolphin Kick

Next, we’ll add the dolphin kick. Push off in streamline, glide for a second or two, and do one dolphin kick. Keep that streamline tight, and try to get as much power out of this single kick as you can.

Return to your streamline position after completing your kick. Don’t let your form fall apart!

3. Streamline + Dolphin Kick + Pull

Now it’s time for the pull! Push off the wall in streamline and do one dolphin kick. Then, open your hands shoulder-width apart and do one, powerful pull with both arms at the same time. 

Related: 4 Drills for a Powerful Breaststroke Kick

Maintaining a tight core and streamlined body position, glide for a second or two with your hands by your sides.  

4. Double Pullouts

This final drill helps improve your lung capacity and teaches you to stretch out your pullout. It’s common for many swimmers to shorten their pullouts because they run out of oxygen. Doing two pullouts in a row forces you to stay underwater and challenge your lungs!

Push off the wall in streamline, and do two full pullouts before coming up to start swimming. See how far you can go!

Breaststroke Drill Set

Try this breaststroke swim set to improve each aspect of your pullout. 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 Streamline Float (Float as far as you can, then swim breaststroke the rest of the way)
  • 4×25 Streamline + Dolphin Kick
  • 4×25 Streamline + Dolphin Kick + Pull
  • 4×25 Double Pullouts

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 doing a perfect pullout for each length of breaststroke. Slow down, don’t rush, and think about maintaining consistent momentum throughout your pullout.

Cool Down

1×100 Freestyle Easy @ 1:30

Stick with your pullouts even when you get tired. Try to maintain good distance off the wall on each length, and over time you’ll build endurance! For more technique tips and personalized workouts, download the MySwimPro app and start your custom Training Plan.

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