Have you ever watched a top swimmer walk into a swimming pool with a bright coloured mesh bag in hand and wondered why they use all that extra equipment?
Are all those training accessories necessary if you’re a regular swimmer just wanting to improve fitness or prepare for an event? Are they important?
Training accessories can provide a number of key benefits for every ability level. When used correctly they can help improve body position, isolate muscle groups and alter the intensity of a swimming session. These benefits are only possible if the gear is used purposefully and correctly.
If you’ve always wanted to try swimming gear but not known how we’re here to de-mystify swimming accessories to help you be the best swimmer you can be!
Fins: Tips and benefits
Long, short, open heeled or closed- there are a lot of fin types out on the market! Fins are a much-loved training accessory for many swimmers because they can make swimming feel a lot easier. When used effectively fins help to improve a swimmer’s body position by driving the hips up and adding propulsion. Because fins add resistance they can also increase leg strength. A few tips for using fins include:
- Keep the fins just under the surface and avoid ‘flapping’ on top (your heels should just be breaking the surface)
- Great for learning butterfly kicking and swimming
- Use for fast speed sets to get ‘up on top’ of the water.
Fins: What to watch out for
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. Remain mindful of not becoming reliant on any piece of gear. When using fins stay mindful of:
- Not bending the knees. Remember, an effective kick starts from the hips
- Stiffness: If you are using a very stiff pair of fins start with small sets to ease your ankles into the movement.
- They’re addictive!