Triathlon Myths - Bilateral breathing is better for swimming!
Swimming, July 24, 2023
Bilateral breathing in swimming can be beneficial for helping some swimmers in a straight line, but it may not be ideal for triathlons for several reasons....
Bilateral breathing in swimming can be beneficial for helping some swimmers in a straight line, but it may not be ideal for triathlons for several reasons:
1. You breathe less!
If you only breathe every three strokes, you become more hypoxic compared to breathing every two strokes.
2. Poor body position!
Because you need to take in more air for the extra stroke, your lungs will fill with air, causing a "buoyancy effect," lifting your chest up and consequently lowering your legs (increasing drag). An efficient swimmer who breathes every two strokes takes in less air and keeps less air in their lungs maintaining a better body position.
3. More Imbalance!
Due to the majority of triathletes lacking prior swimming experience, there's a significant difference in breathing efficiency between the sides. They are likely to keep their head out of the water longer on one side than the other, causing a zigzag motion and interfering with navigation.
Some may argue that bilateral breathing helps to see the buoys on both sides during the race. However, the truth is that you always swim toward the buoy, so you lift your head up to orient yourself! Even if you are swimming parallel to the buoy, you can't determine its depth and how close or far you are from it, so you can still swim in a zigzag pattern in this situation (swimming longer distance)!
Pick a side to breathe that you feel more comfortable and feel smoother (ask help to someone looking at you swimming) and stick to it.
Enjoy your week!