How To Breathe On Both Sides Whilst Swimming | Triathlon Training Explained

(upbeat music) – Welcome back to Triathlon
Training Explained powered by Training Beats. Now, as you can see this week
we have headed to the pool up at Team Bath training centre because we’re gonna be delving
into bilateral breathing. – Bilateral is otherwise
known as both sides. So, simply put bilateral
breathing is breathing to both your left hand side
and to your right hand side. You might find that you actually have a preferential side that
you like to breathe to, you’re comfortable
breathing to both sides, or actually you just can’t
breathe through one side at all. – Yeah, well we’re gonna
be taking a closer look at the technique of breathing, and then the how and why you want to master bilateral breathing. (upbeat music) You might be completely happy
breathing to just one side, but there are occasions when undoubtedly it is useful to be able to swap sides. Say for example, you’re
lane swimming and you have to swim in the other direction
and you want to be able to keep an eye on where the lane rope is. Or for me personally, if
I’m swimming in a pool that’s got no lane ropes for example and I need to see where the wall is to know that I’m going in a straight line. I’ll be breathing on the right one side, and then I’ll need to swap
to breathe on the other side. – However most relevantly
perhaps for triathlon, bilateral breathing really comes in handy in the open water scenario. You might well have
glare, sun, waves, chop, or even just lots of people
to any one of your sides and the ability to be able
to breathe to the other will really be able to
save you an awful lot of time and effort throughout
the course of the race. – Bilateral breathing once
perfected can help keep your stroke smooth and
symmetrical and it also helps to work your core and
your shoulders evenly, and if for example you have
an injury for some reason then you can just
breathe to whichever side is more comfortable for that. – And also if for example,
you miss an extra breathe or when you’re racing
you’re under pressure, I often try and sneak an extra breathe so breathe to one side and then directly breathe
to the other side. It’s not too easy so
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but it’s an option. – As we’ve mentioned
bilateral breathing means breathing to either side,
but there’s no rule that says how often you have to breathe. So, it doesn’t necessarily
have to be every three strokes. For example, you could
breathe every two strokes concentrating on the right hand
side then hold your breathe for three, move it to the left, do a few on that side, et cetera. Or, say you’re concentrating
on doing drills or form or you’re doing pull away,
you’re not gonna need quite as much oxygen and you might find that you’re happy to
breathe every five strokes. – So that’s enough discussing
why to do bilateral breathing. Let us have a look at the how. Now the key to being able
to breathe comfortably when swimming is very closely linked to how we rotate our body when we’re swimming
the front crawl stroke. For more information on
this check out the video where we focus purely on rotation and find that in the description below. You’re going to need good
mobility through your trunk and your shoulder and your neck regions but having said that, once
you’ve mastered the art of the rotatio, you really
shouldn’t need to move your head that much, just a
subtle tilt to both sides. (upbeat music) – Okay, well I think
it’s time we took a look at the drills that will get you feeling comfortable breathing on either side. (soft music) All right, for this first
one we’re gonna strip it right back and we’re gonna
take our arms out all together. But, don’t worry you are gonna
be allowed to use some fins. So, this is gonna be
over-exaggerating the amount of rotation that you’d actually need in your normal stroke, but it should at least
help to give you the feel. So, it’s gonna be kicking only and you’re gonna have
one arm fully extended and the other arm by your side. Now, the extended arm needs to be the one that’s the lower side,
and the arm by your side is gonna rest on top. So, if you imagine you’re parallel to the wall or the lane rope and then your underneath
arm is gonna be extended as a long underneath
your other arm on top, and you can really focus
purely on that rotation for one length in one direction, swap over, and come
back on the other side. (upbeat music) – So, for this single arm
drill you can leave the fins on if you want as it’s gonna
make it a lot easier to focus on you’re form
because you’re only gonna be using the one arm. Your speed arm needs to
be kept beside your side, and that’ll help encourage
the rotation because without that you’re gonna be really struggling to create the power in your stroke. This is when breathing gets harder unless you’ve got enough rotation. You’re gonna be breathing
to the opposite side of your pulling arm, so as
you’re pulling your arm through the water think about your body. You’re rotating the opposite
direction which should mean that your head doesn’t
have to move that much to get the air required
to take your breath. – Right, now, we’re going to incorporate both arms but it’s not yet full stroke. This is still very much a drill. You’re gonna pause between
every stroke so when your one arm is extended,
one arm is by your side. You’re gonna hold that
position for six kicks. So, your body will be full
rotated so you’re parallel to the wall and then you
turn over to the other side having done a stroke and
hold for six kicks again. If you want you can use
fins, but they are optional. (upbeat music) – So now is the time to put
the stroke back together without having to focus on
the timing of your breathing. And, that’s where the snorkel
comes in really useful as it allows you to keep
your head completely still while swimming but without
actually having to worry about your breathing. And if you do this following
the previous drills that we’ve talked about, you
don’t really have to think about the rotation so much because you’d over-exaggerating
it before-hand. Now, we should hopefully
find that the correct amount should really feel like your new normal. – All right this one is
a generic breathing drill that will help you to relax. So once you’ve taken your breath in, you’re going to slowly
trickle your breath out until you need to take another breath in. And, the idea of this
it’ll help you to relax and for your stroke to be nice and smooth and you can actually
incorporate this drill into any of your other drills as well. – So once you’ve practised
breathing on both your sides and you’ve reconstructed
your stroke back together, it’s really easy to still
favour your more dominate side for breathing. Don’t forget about your weaker
side and in your training, try and incorporate
breathing solely to that side be it your right or your
left just to make sure that you’re comfortable doing
that if you need to in a race. – This drill actually
doubles as hypoxic breathing, because you’re forced to
hold your breath naturally than you would do normally. So you breathe three strokes then you hold your breath for five strokes
and then up to seven. So you’re automatically
breathing on either side, once you get to seven go back
to three and build back up. If you find this really easy or you want to push
yourself a little bit more, you can add in nine strokes at the end. And it’s great for just
helping you to stay smooth and forcing you to breathe on your side that you’re least comfortable
when you’re starting to feel a little bit desperate for air. There are a few things to be
aware of if you’re introducing bilateral breathing to your stroke. Excessive and unnecessary head movement can start to creep in, so just make sure between breaths you always bring your head back to the midline just as you would if you
were breathing to one side. And the same goes for body
snaking because if you start to move your head side to
side as opposed rotating it, the rest of your body will
follow in a snaking type action. – And of course if you want
to get the full benefit of bilateral breathing
you really must keep practising in swimming
regularly so in a race situation it just becomes second nature. For more videos click the globe here. And that rotation video
I discussed earlier, find that here. – And if you want to see
the video that we made specifically on breathing,
that is just here.

Comments 13

  • Do you breathe on both sides? Let us know in the comments below 👇

  • 1st comment

  • Goodie…😊😊😊

  • so i am struggling as a new swimmer being out of breathe i have even been using a double sided snorkel but i just cant get further than 25 meters with out a break when crawling and even when i am not using the snorkel i am trickle breathing but i just seem to run out of air. so is it worth me going for some standard breast strokes till i get my air efficiency in my arms or do you have any tips that could help me improve faster and love all of your videos

  • yeah… my friends call me Zoolander, cause I cant breath to the left 🙁

  • Heather, does it make much difference trickle breathing through mouth instead of nose, apart from water getting in your mouth?

  • Off topic but those shots are gorgeous what kind of camera are you using to get such great definition underwater ?

  • I am having ear problems when I breathe both sides, any tips?

  • I think both of you look forward too much. A small glitch in your stroke. Look straight down and your lower body comes up and creates less drag, then you just have to roll your body to get a breath. If you look forward you have to use several muscles that don't need to be used. I've only been teaching swimming for 40 years, but what do I know.

  • I did some open water training and the instructor corrected my stroke where I was putting hands in to the water thumbs first explaining it'd correct my cross over, and therefore use larger muscles. I notice early in the video Heather doing this a lot. Does it cause you any shoulder issues or was the fix more for my specific stroke rather than a general guide?

  • Varying my breathing pattern in a set sequence helps me keep track of my laps. I have a five lap sequence. Laps one and three are breathing every second stroke on my right only. Laps two and four are breathing every third stroke on alternating sides. Lap five is breathing on my right outbound and on my left inbound. I repeat this sequence eight times for a total of forty laps, which is 2000 meters in my local pool.

  • Learning to breathe on both sides was fairly easy. Learning to come out of a flip turn breathing on my left rather than on my right was much more difficult. I've been doing that every fifth lap for years and still find it awkward.

  • 9 strokes without breathing? You must be doplhins.

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