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Dryland Tip: Breast Whips

Uploaded on December 8, 2011 by G_John
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Dryland Tip By Swimming World Correspondent G. John Mullen of SwimmingScience.net and CenterofOptimalRestoration.com

Purpose: Breaststroke is like the tango, the right steps must occur in the correct order, at the correct tempo. Many novice breaststroke swimmers have a "sticking point" when transitioning between the catch and recovery. Breast whips look to improve hand speed, strength or endurance (depending on the duration used).

Directions: Set-up is key! Start with a heavy rope around a secure object, then grab the handles and bend your hips back until you feel a stretch in your hamstring, bend your knees and bring your shoulders down and back in a sturdy, "compact" position (Note: the athlete in the video should have their hips further back and more knee flexion). Next, bring your elbows next to your side and as forceful as possible slam your arms together. The height of the elbows depends on the goal, to truly mimic breaststroke, the elbows would be eye level, but if an athlete has a history of shoulder pain, young or has poor strength, I suggest have them starting with their elbows closer to their side. Perform this exercise for less than 15 seconds if striving to improve speed/power (Creatine Phosphate system) or between 30 - 150 seconds to move the anaerobic (lactate) system.

Dr. G. John Mullen is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. At USC, he was a clinical research assistant at USC performing research on adolescent diabetes, lung adaptations to swimming, and swimming biomechanics. G. John has been featured in Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, and the International Society of Swim Coaches Journal. He is currently the strength and conditioning coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, owner of the Center of Optimal Restoration and creator of Swimming Science.
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