Freestyle – Breakout Drills

FRBO01 Category: Freestyle 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.



Focus on no initial breathes during each breakout

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



FRBO01-01 3 Explosive Breakout Strokes (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • Sets the tone for the power of the breakout strokes
  • A great drill to use regularly
  • Best to require 2-3 of these strokes without any breath
  • 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


FRBO01-02 No Breathing on Initial Strokes

  • Breathing on the first or second stroke can greatly hinder breakout speed and needs regular training to eliminate bad habits on race day
  • Of course breathing limitations can be used for any practice sets on a regular basis
  • Can require 1-5 strokes without a breath
  • The first breath needs to be rhythmic and not slow down the stroke rate


FRBO01-03 Break In / Break Out Drill (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • Perform a strong break out for 3-5 strokes and then 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


FRBO01-04 Corkscrew Breakout  (1 Freestyle stroke, 1 backstroke) (GIF)(Full Video Link)

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


FRBO01-05 Breakout Flip Turns (GIF)(Full Video Link)

  • Take 2-3 breakout strokes and immediately engage a forward flip turn
  • Tuck into a tight ball  and implement a perfect turn so that the body rolls completely over and returns to the forward position
  • Continue swimming freestyle for the remaining of the lap
  • Add Power Bags to the feet in order to require massive explosive power to the turn


FRBO01-06 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