Technique Workouts

How To Learn Bilateral Breathing Swimming Technique

swimming mistakes How To Learn Bilateral Breathing Swimming Technique

What is the Bilateral breathing (RBL) ?

Bilateral breathing requires the swimmer change the side by breathing after each complete stroke cycle. The alternation can occur every 3-5 strokes. This ability will help eliminate neck fatigue, improve balance and body alignment. It also will contribute to greater energy savings. Bilateral breathing is also an essential skill if we swim in open water, it allows us to position ourselves better control and vision on both sides.

In freestyle you usually breathe every two strokes, this implies that always breathe the same late. If we try to breathe every three strokes at first difficult but it is a good way to improve performance in front crawl and also to improve our lung capacity, and it will take longer to take air. Breathing on both sides to swim front crawl is not very common but advisable.

How To learn Bilateral Breathing ?

Learning to breathe properly takes time and effort. To start breathing through your bad side you can help a table and feet while you crawl out head to breathe on your side unusual. The first sensations are strange, even seems to be learning the technique again, but when it internalizes and automates head spin across one feels freer and technical improvement.

In addition to the technical nuisance at first, a key factor is the sensation of breathlessness. It is normal when our body is accustomed to oxygen with some frequency, but like everything in the sport is a matter of adaptation. Try to swim 25 meters front crawl breathing every three strokes, if at the end of the series feel a lack of air stand about 10-15 seconds and catch your breath, then back to do another series. Do not expect the first day the miracle is done, but gradually as you’ll notice greater lung capacity.


  • During an arm recovery with breathing, you roll more on your side than during an arm recovery without breathing. This allows your face and mouth to clear the water and so you can inhale.
  • The inhalation starts at the end of the upsweep (i.e. while your hand moves from below the chest toward the hip during the propulsive phase of the arm stroke), as soon as your mouth clears the water, and continues for the first half of the arm recovery on the breathing side.


How improved Bilateral Breathing?

Bilateral breathing: In bilateral breathing you breathe in every third arm stroke. This means you alternate your breathing side. This pattern is more symmetrical and gives you better balance as it forces you to become used to breathe in on both sides. This pattern is commonly used by long distance and fitness swimmers.

Once you have mastered these two breathing patterns you will have no problem using other patterns as needed. For example you can breathe in every fourth or every fifth stroke. Or you can breathe in ten times on the left side, then ten times on the right side, and so on. Or you can change your breathing side with each pool length.

Now I am more compassionate and I usually recommend about 25 m with RBL, 50 normal meters (aside) and 25 m again with RBL. I like to see swimmers progress from 25m to about 175m in a few training sessions. Once it has progressed to 175 m you can go swimming in different series,

5 × 175 with 10 seconds rest between each of the 5 series. Just 10 seconds of rest between each set? Right! The key is to swim RBL series as quickly and comfortably as possible. If you can get this in a short time, you will see swimming with RBL 1000m or more before your next major competition.

Bilateral Breathing Technique by Bob Bowman:-

About the author

Sanuj Srivastava

Hello everyone ! myself Sanuj Srivastava, I'm a National swimmer and Computer Olympiad winner. I'm working on writing articles for competitive swimming. If you have some problem in swimming that needs some creative injection then that’s where I come in!
My aim is to bring across your message and identity in the most creative way.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.