Backstroke – Breakout Drills

BKBO01 Category: Backstroke Breakout Drills


Breakouts are the process of transitioning from the underwater body dolphins into a flutter kick and then into the initial strokes.  These first few strokes off each dive and each wall are essential elements to be practiced in various ways to ensure speed is carried from the wall into the strokes.  These drills help swimmers focus on the techniques that are critical to this process.


A common beginner problem is to use both arms simultaneously on the first stroke

Focus on explosiveness into the first few strokes

Focus on transition kicks from body dolphins to flutter kicks leading into the first strokes

Focus on surfacing substantially flat to the surface to carry the speed forward instead of up


BKBO01-01 3 Explosive Breakout Strokes (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • Sets the tone for the power of the breakout strokes
  • A great drill to use regularly
  • Add Touch Paddles to build power and breakout muscle tone
  • Add Power Bags to make this drill harder and require more focus
  • This drill can also be conducted as ‘head up ‘ in which the head is raised up (looking back at the feet) on the breakout strokes.  This develops a lot more power  but also can strain the shoulders and should be used sparingly


BKBO01-02 Break In / Break Out Drill (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • Perform a strong break out for 3-5 strokes and then arch the back and dive back under water for 3-5 submerged body dolphins, then the transition flutter kick, and then 3-5 more breakout strokes
  • Continue the process for the entire lap
  • Helps train the details of a consistent breakout process


BKBO01-03 Corkscrew Breakout  (1 Backstroke, 1 Freestyle stroke) (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • During the breakout, take 1 initial backstroke that rolls the body to the stomach to take 1 freestyle stroke which rolls the body to the back to finish the lap with backstroke
  • This process requires mental focus and additional power, making it ideal for drawing the swimmers’ attention to the importance of the breakout process.


BKBO01-04 Breakout Flip Turns (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • Take 2-3 breakout strokes and immediately roll to the stomach and engage a flip turn
  • Straighten out the body as it is facing upward  and continue with backstroke
  • Add Power Bags to the feet in order to require massive explosive power to the turn


BKBO01-05 Breakouts Without Walls

  • Lay flat on floor of pool (at shallow end of the pool), keep body flat, flutter kick until explosive breakout
  • This develops a stronger kick and a more intense breakout