Benefits of Aids and Accessories for Swim Training
If you’re a regular at the swimming pool, you’ve probably seen a number of swimmers armed with a mesh bag full of training aids and equipment. What’s it all for you have probably asked yourself.
Well, the fact is that training accessories can provide a number of key benefits for swimmers of every ability level. Most importantly, when used correctly they can help improve your body position, isolate muscle groups and alter the intensity of a swimming session.
But these benefits only count if the equipment is used correctly. If you’ve always wanted to try swimming aids but you’re not sure which to use and when, the team at Sharks Swim & Triathlon have come up with the following tips.
Pull buoys are placed between the legs of a swimmer to help promote an efficient body position by lifting the hips high in the water. When a swimmer’s hips are close to the surface they produce less drag and move more efficiently.
Many swimmers enjoy ‘pulling’ (using a pull buoy) as it gives them a break from kicking which uses substantial energy. Using a pull buoy also gives a swimmer an opportunity to work on water feel, which is the way they catch and pull through the water.
Other benefits of using a pull buoy include:
- Isolating the arms to work on muscular mechanics
- Allows you to focus on technique
- When combined with paddles it provides an intense arm workout.
When using a pull buoy, it’s important to be mindful of your body position. Remember to keep your core tucked in tight! Efficient swimmers are able to fly through the water because they use their body as one seamless unit, from fingertips to toes. When we isolate parts of our system when using a pull buoy, it reduces the time we spend working on being more efficient in the water.
And one final tip, avoid ‘swinging’ your legs and aim to keep the hips rolling and not flicking out to the side.
Paddles are a fantastic training aid for swimming because they can help develop strength, power and feel for the water. If you’re looking for a real upper body workout, try combining paddles with a pull buoy.
Finger paddles are particularly good for working on technique. Much smaller than regular paddles, they encourage swimmers to enter in an effective fingertip first position.
The main benefits of paddles include:
- Helps to promote fingertip entry
- Delivers an upper body workout
- Builds strength
You need to be mindful of your technique when swimming with paddles as many swimmers will try to stretch extra-long while wearing them. When your arms grow tired with the added pressure of paddles it’s important to keep the elbows high during the pull phase. Drawing the elbow back first releases power, imagine you are pushing a barrel back behind you.
When wearing paddles you should try to avoid short stroking or overreaching as well as entering in front of the face as this will impinge on the shoulder over time. You should also avoid dropping your elbows as power comes from pulling through the water with the elbow high
There are many different types of fins including long, short, open heeled or closed and they are a very popular aid for many swimmers as they can make swimming a lot easier. When used effectively fins can help to improve your body position by driving the hips up and adding propulsion. Because fins add resistance they can also increase leg strength.
When using fins you should:
- Keep the fins just under the surface and avoid ‘flapping’ on top (your heels should just be breaking the surface)
- Use for learning butterfly kicking and swimming
- Use for fast speed sets to get ‘up on top’ of the water.
Much like the pull buoy, fins can become a crutch for swimmers who become reliant on them. For less confident kickers, they’re often a go-to for every kick set. When using fins you should avoid bending the knees as an effective kick always starts at the hips.
Sharks Swim & Triathlon
Sharks Swim & Triathlon stocks a huge range of swim accessories and training aids from pull buoys, paddles and fins to kick boards, goggles and tow floats. We even have our own range of the Sharks brand of accessories which are the same quality as top brands but at a much better price.
All of these products are available to purchase at our store in Gorseinon or online at www.sharksswimshop.com