The breaststroke relies on a strong kick to propel you forward.
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Saggy, flabby arms are the bane of many folks, and are a common trouble area that can be stubbornly resistant to toning. The breaststroke, as a full-body exercise will help you tone and lose fat throughout your body, including your arms. However, the breaststroke exercises your legs more than your arms, so it may not be the best stroke choice if you are looking to target that area.
The breaststroke requires your to swim face-down in the water. As you do the вЂњfrog kick,вЂќ sometimes called the whip kick, you extend your arms forward and pull them through the water in a Y-shaped movement. For those who have difficulty bending their knees that deeply, the flutter kick can be substituted for the whip kick. As a full-body workout, the breaststroke builds cardiovascular endurance.
The Muscles Targeted
Because of its distinctive kick, much of the power for the breaststroke comes from your legs, not your arms. Because of this, the stroke works your leg muscles more than it does your arm muscles; your legs push you through the water, not your arms. The breaststroke targets your hamstring and inner thigh muscles. However, because it does require upper body movement, your shoulders, chest and triceps muscles will also get a decent workout.
Speed and Calories Burned
The breaststroke is one of the slower racing strokes, and also burns fewer calories than more intensive strokes, such as the butterfly. A 30-minute breaststroke workout will burn only 367 calories, while the a 30-minute butterfly workout will burn 404. However, the slower pace and lower intensity of the breaststroke means it is well-suited for a long-distance or endurance exercise. You can swim for longer doing the breaststroke than you would the butterfly, helping you burn more calories during a longer workout.
Arm Toning Strokes
While the breaststroke does exercise your entire body, other swim strokes will provide a better arm toning workout. The butterfly stroke is the best for toning your arms, but the stroke is one of the most difficult to master and requires a lot of energy. The butterfly stroke requires your to partially lift your body out of the water, using primarily your upper body to fuel the stroke. The front crawl -- also known as freestyle -- is easier to execute than the butterfly, and is excellent for toning your back and arm muscles.