nageuse en respiration de crawl


A complex gesture, breathing is of crucial importance in swimming. Let yourself be guided by these educational exercises [...]


For the question, “How can you improve your breathing in front crawl?”, one response continues to be unanimous amongst all swim coaches.

I would be grateful if you would ask me: “Which?!”

Well... educational swimming exercises obviously! (thank you from me)


Repetition is synonymous with automation. And this is definitely what educational swimming exercises focus on, in order to improve or refine your swimming quickly. In addition to their technical contribution, the educational exercises will be a great help to diversify your swimming sessions and make them enjoyable.

As you might have guessed, there are plenty of educational swimming exercises. Therefore, let us highlight today the best breathing exercises for front crawl!


Swimmers, let’s perfect our breathing training!



Far more simple than they appear, these exercises will enable you to quickly integrate the rotational movement of your head and the principle of brief inhalation and slow expiration, for impeccable breathing!

Exercice numéro 1 : respiration crawl



First, grab your swimming kickboard. Flat on your stomach, stretched out on the water, place the board in front of you (one arm must be positioned in line with your body). The other arm must be resting alongside your chest.


You then need to kick your legs, face in the water, taking your time to exhale slowly. Every 3 seconds or every 6 leg kicks (as you prefer), tilt your head to the side to take a short breath.


Alternate between a length breathing on the right side, another length focusing on the left side.

Exercice numéro 2 : respiration crawl



Here, the exercise is nearly the same as the previous one, but with one particularity: the addition of the insweep of your arms!


Do you have the board in your hand? Again, flat on your stomach, opposite arms, head in the water? P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

Now, whilst kicking your legs, and again at your own pace, include your arm stroke whilst exhaling slowly. You will be able to inhale briefly from the end of the insweep.


Focus on your right side moving forwards and the left side on your return.


TIP: if you want to add a little more difficulty and effectiveness to these exercises, put your swimming kickboard to one side. By doing these educational swimming exercises with less buoyancy, they will only be more productive!



Have no fear, there’s no need to know how to blink to carry out this exercise! ;-)


The purpose of this educational exercise may seem simple, and yet... whether your aim is swimming comfort or speed, breathing with one eye in the water will help you achieve it.

The exercise involves swimming front crawl, taking care, when breathing, to turn your head moderately so that only one eye leaves the water.

Alternate your breathing between the right side and left side by positioning your face  “half in the air / half in the water”!



Music lovers will be disappointed to hear that we won't be discussing big brass instruments... That said, we will be discussing breathing!


A popular tool, the swimming snorkel is nonetheless a very effective accessory to improve your breathing capacity and your swimming technique.

With your snorkel in place, swim normally in front crawl, taking great care not to shake your head (subject to your swimming strokes) in all directions and remain perfectly aligned.

The swimming snorkel will help you to work on your inhalation/exhalation synchronisation and to improve your breathing capacity by playing on its rhythm.


TIP: to avoid water going up your nose whilst swimming, like me, you’ll need a nose clip!



A term which, at first glance, may be frightening, I understand! But don’t run away so quickly...


Completely different from holding your breath, hypoxia involves significantly reducing the number of breaths whilst swimming. In that sense, you will only take a breath every 5, 7 or 9 (or more) strokes.

An educational exercise historically used by competition swimmers to recreate the constraints of swimming in altitude, the benefits of hypoxia on the body have been discussed.


So, is it really useful or not?


In all cases, and even if the aim is not to adapt your body to blood pressure, hypoxia remains effective to integrate slow exhalation. Therefore, hypoxia will be effective for increasing your endurance and swimming comfort.


CAUTION: hypoxia focuses on playing with breathing constraints. If you don’t feel comfortable with the lack of oxygen, do not force yourself! You can also focus on short distances with reduced intensity.



So let’s jump from one thing to another!


After having talked about hypoxia, let’s talk about another sexy topic, hyperventilation!

As you will have understood, this educational exercise involves taking a breath during each insweep. The aim is to successfully keep your body in line, despite the constant rotations of your head.

Alternating between inhalation and exhalation must also be carefully adapted in order to make the exercise as beneficial as possible. Unlike swimming normal front crawl, full exhalation must be brief to avoid messing up your coordination.


CAUTION: this exercise focuses on playing with breathing constraints. If you don’t feel comfortable with the surplus of oxygen, do not force yourself! You can also focus on short distances with reduced intensity.

To make the most of your educational exercises, focus on your strokes so that the technical aspect is assimilated correctly.

There is no need to spend your entire swimming training sessions doing educational exercises. It is also important to alternate these exercises and normal swimming to integrate the movements in real situations. One or two educational exercises per training session is enough.


Happy swimming!



Swim drills are essential if you want to perfect your technique. So let's "drill" these arm movements into ourselves [...]