Bilateral breathing - strictly necessary?

11 messages
18/04/2012 at 16:10
Hello all.

Training for my first year of Triathlon, (SuA Sprint in May, Birmingham Olympic in July and a.n.other olympic in September). My training has gone really well so far, dropped 10kg and feel strong and fit. Have always cycled, so that is going well, run has improved with weight-loss and I am really enjoying my swimming but...

My first sprint triathlon is a 400m pool swim and I have cut my time to under 9min but I just can't take to bilateral breathing... What's your opinion, do I need to really push to change to breathing both sides? I can knock out 1000m continuous at a pace I'm happy with and have three months until the 1500m of my first olympic and feel relaxed about it.

Tom
18/04/2012 at 22:45
Hi,

Yes I would advise that you learn how to. It will make your stroke more balance and reduce a risk of shoulder injury as you rotate to both sides. Plus it is important for Open Water swimming if you need to breath on one side as the other is too washy.

Ultimately a more balance stroke will make you faster in the long run as you improve your general technique.

Cheers and good luck
DTTM
19/04/2012 at 21:25
Thanks Dan, you had me at prevent injury and not getting a mouth full of lake water! truth be told, I'm probably just being lazy...
I'll keep trying and will make a swim session at my local club (at some point) so that they can start me in the right place.
20/04/2012 at 18:07
Can I just add that getting down to your swim club 'at some point' isn't going to help you. You need to be doing it now and every time you swim from now on. It's not something you can fix in a couple of sessions before your race. If you have swum the same way for many years it's going to take a long time to un-learn your current technique as you are effectively re-learning to balance out your stroke.

That said, don't panic and feel you really really need to do it now. If your Ollys are lake based then you aren't going to get a big wave in your face - maybe the odd elbow, but no waves it is definately something you (and I mean everyone here... yes you reading this too! ) should be doing even if you think you can't - you can with INSTRUCTION FROM A COACH OR SWIM CLUB OR TRI CLUB. They are all worth their weight in gold. If you aren't in a club gleaming the tonnes of information from them and making lots of new friends - why not?

Whatever you decide to do. It's all good. Just get out there and have fun!

gavinp

http://www.trisomi.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/tri.somi.uk

19/08/2012 at 18:23
I had the same problem as yourself but I've been focusing on drills to sort out this problem and it has helped. At first it is a bit hard but practice will make it perfect.
I agree with GavinP that you have to relearn straight away, doing drills at your next session could get you started in the right directio.
14/12/2012 at 01:40
My rule of thumb is to breathe bilaterally for some of your training session, but breathe whatever is most comfortable in a race. It's good to mix it up, so you don't always need to breathe every 3. You can chop and change between 2, 3 and 4. One fo the reasons you might be finding it hard to breathe to your other side might be because:
- You looking too far forward which limits how far you can rotate your head. Breathe more towards your shoulder.
- Your hand out the front might be dropping down in the water. Keeping it higher as you take your breathe can keep you more balanced.

All the best with it!
15/12/2012 at 19:50
I disagree with most that's said in here.

I would say my swim is better than most, 18mins for 1500 and I don't bilateral breathe. The only time I breathe to the opposite side is if I need to sight something on that side which when you're not a pro is how often exactly.

Breathing every two gives me good rhythm to my stroke and fits nicely with the general kick pattern of most peoples strokes. Over long distances the additional breathing is a benefit. I can breathe comfortably on both sides but I don't think it's the holy kona everyone thinks it is. If you are comfortable on one side and really dislike bilateral then don't force it.
17/12/2012 at 13:29
Janner wrote:
I disagree with most that's said in here...


What you are forgetting Janner is that you are clearly in a different league to most who post here (18min - nice time btw ). I'm guessing you've been swimming for a long time (since a child) and you already have a very good (natural) technique born from doing it from a young age, and can freely breath either side at will and feel comfortable doing it. Correct me if i'm wrong here and you've only been swimming for two years or something!

Encouraging someone who, as an adult is coming into triathlon and may not have a swim background as yours, possibly doesn't have good technique and probably some bad habits to boot will most likely lead to injury - buggering up their season completely That is why I recomended a swimming club which will help with technique issues and also help to build the endurance to get the 1500m done and still have the energy left to do the rest of the race.

Not having a pop. I just want beginners to understand that a balanced swim, breathing bilaterally with good technique is what they need - particularly if they are going further than sprint distance (and most definately at ironman distance ). Almost anything else will lead to injury in my extremely humble opinion (and importantly, as a coach watching newbies coming to the pool wanting to improve but have overuse injuries because of bad technique etc).

So beginners - get to your local club and have fun!

gavinp

http://www.trisomi.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/tri.somi.uk

17/12/2012 at 20:54
That is fair enough, but I do believe you can have a balanced stroke breathing on one side. Personally I would think for weaker swimmers it would be easier to breathe every two just because it's more oxygen. There are also much more key areas to work on rather than this to work on.

This is obviously only my opinion and I defiantly can understand why it is important to breathe bilaterally, maybe it's because the stroke I feel naturally feels more natural on twos as I have a fairly big catch.
18/12/2012 at 00:29
Janner wrote:
That is fair enough, but I do believe you can have a balanced stroke breathing on one side. Personally I would think for weaker swimmers it would be easier to breathe every two just because it's more oxygen. There are also much more key areas to work on rather than this to work on.

This is obviously only my opinion and I defiantly can understand why it is important to breathe bilaterally, maybe it's because the stroke I feel naturally feels more natural on twos as I have a fairly big catch.


No problems having an opinion - it's all valid

For me watching new swimmers when they breath every two strokes - they often spend so much time thinking about breathing in that short space of time that their stroke becomes very messy and breathing becomes even more laboured as they are trying to breath in and out so quickly. It's a bit like strapping a one-man band to your body and being asked to play some music straight off - not pretty There will always be exceptions to this of course.

How do you define a big catch: slow(ish strokes but with lots of power or a high stroke rate that is nice and smooth? How old are you if you don't mind me asking?

(sorry to hijack the thread a little btw )

gavinp

http://www.trisomi.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/tri.somi.uk

21/12/2012 at 21:07
Just turned 21

Probably somewhere in the middle tbh, but my none breathing arm is almost like a catchup stroke to my breathing side if that makes sense. It is fluid but I dont have a huge turnover rate, just a comfortable medium pace, and about 13 strokes per 25m.

Ah i see where you are coming from, I interpreted his ability as higher than complete beginner, 9m for 400m is a decent time. I presumed he was slightly more comfortable than struggling to breathe at all more the odd feeling of breathing to the wrong side, which often leads to the head being turned higher and the stroke balance being ruined. That's where my opinion was coming from, but i get where you are coming from that it does help to calm the stroke. I think it is important to be comfortable, either way.
Your say
email image