Breaststroke Workouts

If you are looking to really improve your breaststroke then these workouts will really help you. We understand that the people that visit this site are all at different levels so we will do our best to cater for this. The difficulty in writing these programs is in the times we set for you. It is difficult to know exactly what times to put each set on as we don’t know what everyone’s best time or ability is so that is something you will need to tinker with yourself. How often you train will also be different so we have based this on 3 sessions per week and we have made this a 10 week program. These 10 weeks should see you improve dramatically.

This is how the structure of each session should progress.

Warm Up

The first part of the warm up involves around 15 minutes of long slow swimming. It is important to swim all the different strokes in the warm up. An example may be 6 x 200m @ 65%.
Directly after the warm up is some speed work. No matter what the aim of the session is it is important to include some speed work in almost every session. E.g. 8 x 25m sprints in Medley Order


You can move the drills section around as you please. You can include them in your warm up after your warm up or even in your main set. It is so important to complete long slow swimming focussing on technique. I remember watching Pieter Van Den Hoogenband train for the Beijing Olympics and I was amazed at how much slow swimming he did. There were some sessions where all he did was swim around 50-60% but focussing on technique.

Too often I see people training so hard all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to work hard but you will only get so far with this. We have seen so many young athletes that are stars as children but never make it because their technique is not up to scratch. The best in the world have amazing fitness AND great technique. You MUST include some drills into every single session. You can check out some of our drills here. You could do 10 x 50m BR @ 60%with long glide.

Main Set

What the main set consists of will depend on where you are with your race preparation. You may be in an endurance phase where you focus on training your aerobic system with lots of long swimming with minimal rest. A typical set in this phase may be 20 x 100m BR on 1min 45sec (or approx 5-10 seconds rest). The aim here is to try and maintain the same time throughout the set. Towards the last ¼ of the set should be quite difficult.

You may also be in an anaerobic phase where you are training your body’s ability to cope with lactic acid and increase the intensity you’re at when your body starts to produce too much lactic acid. This type of training allows you to push through the last part of your races. For a 100m Breaststroker a typical set could be 20 x 125m on 2min 30 sec @ 90%. This type of set is based around the idea that your body is used to 125m so 100m in a race should be a breeze! Your body will produce lactic acid much later in the race.

You could be in a speed phase where you are going all out but have lots of rest. An example could be 8 x 100m sprints on 6mins. This gets you used to sprinting. Your body will produce lots of lactic acid but will have time to remove some of it before it needs to race again.

The last part is the taper, where you are preparing for race day. You load should be greatly reduced but it is still important to do some sprint work. You may do 4 x 100m sprints on 8mins.

One thing we haven’t discussed is the breaststroke kick. The first thing in a race to fatigue is normally the legs. It is therefore important to include lots of kick as part of your training. It can be included after the main set or it can even be included as the main set.

I remember being on a camp to the Australian Institute of Sport and watching Australian Butterfly Champion completing a training session. The entire session was a kick session. This was the 3rd session for the day and it was 3 x 1000m main stroke kick (Yes, I meant to put 3 zeros!). The first 1000m was a warm up. The second 1000m was timed and they had to go as fast as possible. The last 1000m was used as a cool down. I had never seen so much kick done in my life and they told me that they do lots and lots of kicking as part of their training so I encourage you to include it in yours.

Warm Down

This is important to help your body clear the lactic acid it has produced and it will help reduce muscle soreness. Don’t take this lightly as it is still a great opportunity to work on your technique. The warm down can be anything from 200m to 1000m and should include some drills but also other strokes.

So this is the way you should set up your sessions to try and get the best out of yourself or your athletes. Good luck and remember to work both hard and smart. Going 100% all of the time will only cause your technique to be poor and will likely cause injury or illness. Lots of hard work but also lots of long slow swimming is a great way to improve.

Example Workouts

E.G. 1

4 x 200m (1st 3 F/S, 4th BR)

8 x 25m sprints in Medley order on 45 seconds

4 x 100m BR Drills

20 x 125m BR on 2.15

200m easy swimming. Alternate each 50m between FS and BK

10 x 50m BR Kick on 60 sec

400m Easy swimming


E.G. 2

1000m Warm Up (100m FS Swim, 50m FS Kick, 100m FS Swim, 100m FS Drill x 4)

10 x 50m BR Drills on 1.30

8 x 100m BR Sprints on 8 minutes (record time for each and aim to maintain the same time)

1000m Easy swimming



14 Responses to “Breaststroke Workouts”

  1. mufaro says:

    wow i had problems in designing my work outs so i would tire out during a race pretty quick ..but with this information m sure i will see reults i got a meet in January on the 9th amd m doing 100 breast hopefullyi will have good times i currently do a 1:30 in the 100 m haiming for a 1:26 i will let u know how it goes thankyou

    • John says:

      Hi Mufaro
      That is a great goal to have. If you are tiring towards the end you need to keep working on your lactate tolerance. Hard work but well worth it. Be sure to keep your technique all through the race. Hope you achieved your goal

  2. Rutvij Gosai says:


    Thank you for the same. I am at 14 yr. and will let you know, if I achieve at school level. Now a days I’m completing 8000 km per day. please reply on my E-mail ID if there is anything else.
    Thank you,
    Rutvij Gosai

  3. John says:

    You are welcome Rutvij. 8km is some solid work. Good luck with your goals

  4. Volcach says:

    So I’m tapering for State in the 50, 100, and 200 Breaststroke as well as the 200 Back and IM. Is a general Taper good enough or should I do more Breaststroke specific stuff? My times in yards are as follows….
    Times Now Goal Times
    100 Breast- 1:07.75 1:05.00
    200 IM- 2:19.89 2:13.00
    50 Breast(Relay)- 30.09 29.00
    200 Breast- 2:30.64 2:25.00
    200 Back- 2:20.36 2:14.00

    So is a general taper going to cut it or am I going to have to do more stroke specific stuff? The Breaststroke is what I’m really concerned about but it would be nice to drop time in everything. Keep in mind I swam the 2 Back and the 2 Breast back in October, I’m sure I’m slightly faster right now. Sprint Breaststroke is most important to me but I want to train for everything….. Thanks, Jarod.

    • John says:

      Hi Jarod
      It is difficult to train for everything but I think a general taper should be ok. I would still be mixing in the back and breast with my program though. Any easy/technique stuff you do, I would be focusing on stroke specific so that the muscle memory kicks in when you are fatigued in your races. Good luck!

  5. Antonio Robles says:

    I am trying to qualify for valley (Ultimate Goal) but right now my times are 36 seconds on the 50yd and 1:24 on the 100yd. My goal for this year is to achieve 33 sec on 50yd and 1:19 on 100yd. I believe what I have to do is work on endurance as I become tired in the last lap. What type of workout would get me to my goal? One more question. Would lifting weights benefit the time also?

    Thank You!

  6. adam says:

    I am now on the time of 1:12 in the 100m breaststroke and i hope i can dip below 1:07 to break the record in a particular meet by next year. What can i do to reach my target? Help please.. Thanks!

    • John says:

      Adam that is awesome. Well done. 5 seconds is a massive jump. You need to really work hard but also smart. Focus on some areas you really feel you can improve. E.g your start an your turns. Then you simply need to work out how long you have to achieve the goal and work out a program that suits. Never ever forget your technique. So many worry about the hard work but forget the technique. Hard work is clearly important, but slow swimming is just as important

  7. Harleen kaur says:

    I’m harleen from india well i need one good coach to improve my skills.Ny best timmings in breaststroke evnets are:-
    100m— 1:19
    200m— 2:47
    50m— 36
    I need to know that from where r u and thanks for tellinv such aa perfect workout please rell me about everything i really want get international palyer so please help me out

    • John says:

      Hi Harleen
      I am in Australia so won’t be much help to you unfortunately. Good luck with your search for a good coach. Keep me updated on your progress

  8. etha says:

    I want to train and study in australia
    My best timings are
    50 35.62
    100 1:17.12
    I am a sprinter. Please help me out.

  9. dr rahul jaiswal says:

    Hi john
    My 9year old daughter manjari jaiswal take part in Glenmark sub junior swim comp 2015 in India. Unfortunately she got a slow heat in 50 breast,she stood first in her heat but not qulifed for final due to slow speed of other swimmer in heat because she confuse for her pace.In final the silver medal goes to her best time.The problem of my daughter is that she achieve her best time only when strong comptetor is swimmig fast side by side to her.Now she is so upset.john! Can you help my daughter?..

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