Another Use for the Snorkel – Head Position in Breaststroke

Swimmers and coaches use the Swimmer’s Snorkel in all facets of training. Many use it for warm-up and technique work, others use it for aerobic test sets, and we have even seen triathletes use the snorkel for a good cardio-vascular workout on the bike. Bottom line is that the snorkel is amazingly versatile and can be used for all four strokes (yes backstroke too).

Now here is a new way to use your snorkel for breaststroke. Instead of donning it normally, wear the snorkel backwards and upside-down. The goal is for the snorkel to act as a brace, connecting the back of your head with your spine. If you try bending your neck and lifting your head up, the snorkel will dig into your back, forcing your head and neck to stay connected while you swim. To see the benefits, I have created two simple animations.

This first animation below shows a swimmer initiating their breaststroke timing with the head. They lift their head up first and then the body follows. As a result the breaststroke is more vertical than it needs to be.

Notice how the first action the swimmer takes is with the head. As the swimmer pulls their head up, their body sinks further in the water. The result is a straight-up and straight-down motion that creates a lot of drag in the water.

The next animation below shows the swimmer with the snorkel strapped to the back of their head. When the swimmer lifts the head to breath, they are forced to keep the back in alignment. The result is a more efficient horizontal and undulating stroke.

Not only is the swimmer creating less drag with their body and knees underneath the water, but they are also using their energy systems to drive forward in the water (and not up/down). Try it out with your snorkel and let me know your feedback.

- Mark


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