Top breathing exercises for swimmers

The sport of swimming involves your head being submerged in water most of the time so it is important to gain the correct swimming balance.  The majority of swimmers put a lot of concentration, practice, focus and effort into improving their swimming style. However, if the basic breathing techniques are not being followed all this effort goes to waste and what happens is the swimming stroke will lose its smoothness. It is essential that anyone who swims professionally or swims to get fit follows the correct breathing techniques and exercises.  Initially at the beginning it may be challenging to focus on breathing and executing the swimming stroke, but with practice the difference will soon be noticeable.

How to improve swimming breathing techniques

Focusing on two things at once can be difficult – ensuring the stroke is being performed correctly and ensuring the right swimming breathing technique of inhaling and exhaling is being followed. Initially, always start off with a basic practice swimming routine. This way the chances of inhaling water are minimal.  A very simple breathing exercise that can be performed by dipping your head in a large or medium mixing bowl filled with water.  Placing a mirror at the bottom of the water-filled bowl will ensure better results.

The steps below will ensure you perfect your breathing technique:

  • First dip your chin in the bowl and practice swimming breathing nose inhaling, mouth exhaling and see how your breath ruffles the surface of water.
  • After about 30 seconds, touch your lips & nose to the surface and try to inhale through the small amount of space at both the corners of the mouth. A blotting effect should be seen (in the mirror) where the lips and nose touch the water.
  • After another one minute, you need to lower the rest of your face into the bowl. Keep your mouth open underwater, but do not exhale. The natural air pressure in your mouth will prevent the water from entering your nose and mouth.
  • When you next lift your face out of the water, you should be able to inhale from the nose easily.
  • Repeat these exercises and gradually make an attempt to inhale from your nose, while the tip of your nose still touches the water.

It won’t be long before you master this technique. As soon as you are used to breathing with the mixing bowl, you can then progress to a shallow pool where you can submerge your head in deeper water.

Breathing exercises for swimmers are considered a primary part of their training because breathing in a rhythm means more stamina. If you are able to inhale more air then you can get more oxygen in every breath and breathing in a rhythm will let you swim for a long time before you are winded out.


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