The Benefits of Hand Paddles for Swimming Training

Hand PaddlesHand paddles are most commonly used for swimmers looking to develop their upper body strength as they work the muscles in the back, chest, arms and shoulders. They do this by stopping the water from flowing through your fingers, allowing you to perform your arm pull with more power.

Using hand paddles when training comes with huge benefits. They can help you to develop your swimming technique as you become much more aware of your arm pull and general swimming stroke. So, if you feel a lot of resistance when you pull, then your hand is positioned correctly, and you are pushing the maximum amount of water under your body to help you move.

If you have a first stroke that could do with slowing down, then hand paddles will do this for you too as you have to work harder for each arm pull. If your stroke is slowed down then you can concentrate on areas of your body such as your head position or leg kick, so benefiting more than just your upper body.

Your stroke lengthens when you wear hand paddles which means that you reach further with your leading arm and you are able to pull more water. A longer stroke means that you get a better distance per stroke, so each arm pull becomes much more efficient.

Training with hand paddles is even more time efficient than normal swimming as you work harder, so tire sooner and don’t need to swim for so long. These can be a great training aid for those that are up against the clock.

Advice for Using Hand Paddles

Hand PaddlesIt’s best not to do too much too quickly when you start to use hand paddles. You need to build up your hand paddle use gradually to avoid the risk of injury.  If you’re a first-time user, aim for smaller sized hand paddles to start with. When swimming with your hand paddle on, keep the palm of your hand open and flat as you would when swimming normally. This will make it feel more natural and so when you take your paddles off you continue to swim in this good position.

Experienced swimmers who are looking to increase their training should try using a larger, wider hand paddle as it gives more resistance than a finger paddle or smaller hand paddle. You could also try adding in a pull buoy so it puts your body into a better position and prevents any leg kick, making your upper body work harder.

If you experience any muscle pain then you should stop using your hand paddles; tey are designed to push you but it shouldn’t hurt.

Choosing the Right-Hand Paddles

It’s important to choose the correct hand paddles so you don’t damage your upper body muscles and get the most effective workout possible.  There are a variety of different types and sizes of hand paddles which we stock at Sharks Swim Shop including:

  • Finger paddles: these are designed to fit your fingers and will help to improve your catch and feel of your stroke in the water. They can be a great help for someone looking to improve their technique.
  • Holed paddles: these are the most popular hand paddles and are possibly the most flexible to swim with. These paddles have holes to allow a small amount of water through and often come with moveable straps to keep your hand in place.

Sharks Swim Shop

At Sharks Swim Shop we stock a range of hand paddles including Speedo Biofuse Finger Paddle, and Maru, Finis and Zero D hand paddles.  These are available from our Shop in Sketty or from our online shop


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