When you are at the pool you might see people in the water using a range of equipment, and wonder what the benefits are of using the gear. Training accessories can provide a number of key benefits. When using swim gear correctly, they can isolate muscle groups, improve body position, and alter the intensity of the swim session.

Here at AUT Millennium, we are holding a “try before you buy” week from 2-6 March in the National Aquatic Centre, where you are invited to come in and try out some of the gear to see how you can integrate it into your training. We will have a range of products available for you to try during your swim sessions, along with knowledgeable staff on pool deck to help explain how the gear can be used.

If you have wanted to try swim accessories, but you aren’t quite sure on how to correctly use them, Jacob’s put together a blog series to give you a better understanding and de-mystify swim accessories to help you be the best swimmer you can be!

When we think of which gear we like to use the most, from a young learn-to-swim level right through to adults, fins are definitely the ones that seem to be the favourite. This can be down to fins making it easier to swim, or because it makes you swim extremely fast in the water. There are other benefits of using fins, and a lot of different styles of fins to use to help you achieve your goals.

Using fins can help you work harder in the water as the added resistance means that your legs are getting a bigger workout. This makes using fins perfect for increasing overall power and conditioning of your legs.

Fins are also perfect for trying to get the upward kick stronger, as you to get into the habit of kicking both up and down with force.

What to watch out for: Much like a pull buoy, we can become too comfortable using fins which can inhibit your overall progress in the water. Just be mindful that you don’t let yourself become reliant on fins.

Things to remember:

  • Kick from the hips and not bend at your knees.
  • Have relaxed ankles when kicking. Fins can help to increase ankle flexibility.
  • Don’t let yourself over-kick with fins on. You still need to maintain small, fast feet when kicking.
  • Be mindful of keeping your fins under the water and avoid flapping on top of the water. Your heels should just be breaking the surface.

Ways to include fins in your sessions:

There are a tonne of different ways you can incorporate fins into your sessions. Whether that be for technique or for speed work.

  • Fins can be a great tool when you are working technique drills that involve body position, such as Pause 10, Pause 6 + 3 strokes, and body rotation kick for freestyle and backstroke
  • Breaststroke pull with butterfly kick is another drill which can include your fins, helping to improve propulsion in breaststroke.
  • Fins can be perfect if you are wanting to master butterfly technique, as it can be quite difficult to learn. Fins are great for making it a little easier to get the hang of.

If you are thinking of including fins for increased speed and power, then I suggest you involve them in a portion of the session dedicated to speed work. Using fins over longer distances will make it easier for you. Focus on using the fins to really work your legs to increase power and speed in the water.

Here are some things to try in the pool:

  • 8×50 swim as 4x (1x fast, 1x easy) on 1min.*
  • 8×50 swim as 2x (descending 1 – 4 to max) on 1min*
    • This means you get faster on each repetition and descend the time.
  • 12×25 swim as 3x (3x fast, 1x easy) on 40s – 45s.*
  • 4×100 swim descending 1 – 4 to max on 2min.*

*You may also like to do the same in kick with fins.

Visit New Zealand’s only Speedo concept store on site at AUT Millennium, or shop at our online store.

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Jacob is the Assistant Swim School Manager and Private Swim Coach at AUT Millennium. Jacob has been with AUT Millennium since 2015 where he became a qualified learn-to-swim instructor. He now assists in managing the Swim School as well as working with learn-to-swim students, both adults and children. As well as competitive swimmers and open-water swimmers who are trying to refine their technique in 1-on-1 sessions. His background in swimming involves representing both his club at National events, as well as New Zealand at International events.