This week’s Speedo Tip of the Week is an excerpt from
the Jan.-Feb. 2008 issue of Splash. Here are some pointers for
making bilateral breathing a little easier.
If you’re not breathing to both sides, it’s never too
late to start. It helps balance your stroke, creates symmetry in
back musculature, helps eliminate cramping and increases your
oxygen intake, resulting in a more efficient, faster stroke. Plus
in a race, breathing bilaterally helps you keep an eye on your
The key to doing this correctly is proper rotation. If you’re
whipping your head around to breathe on your weaker side, your hips
will drop and throw your balance. Here’s how to make
bilateral breathing easier:
Practice rotation drills. A great one to start with your body on
its side, with the bottom arm extending out in front and the top
arm resting on your side. Point your nose to the bottom of the
pool. Slowly kick to keep your hips up. Roll and stroke until you
are lying on the opposite side. Breathe freely and check your
balance. Then turn your head so your nose points to the bottom, and
stay on your side for 10 kicks. Repeat the motion for the length of
Try a set where you breathe to your right side on one length and to
your left on the next.
On a set of 75s, breathe every five strokes on the first 25, every
three strokes on the second length and every stroke
(right-left-right-left) on the last length.
Breathe to your weak side in all warm ups, cool downs and slower
swimming sets, and to your strong side on main sets. Gradually make
the shift to bilateral breathing on main sets.
It doesn’t matter if you practice bilateral breathing per lap
or per set. What matters is staying balanced and symmetrical so you
can breathe easily on both sides. Once you begin regular bilateral
breathing, it gets easier with every practice.
Stay smooth and fluid while breathing every third stroke.
Eventually with practice, breathing every cycle with no
interruption in your flow should be easy. Your goal should be to
breathe evenly to both sides in all your practices and