Using Swimming Aids to Improve Technique
Various swimming aids have been created to help perfect swimming technique. Read below for a list of helpful gear that will increase your confidence in the water.
Pull buoys are placed between the legs to encourage increased activation of the arms. These buoys keep the body in a streamlined position, similar to the buoyancy that is created when wearing a wetsuit. Using a pull buoy requires you to focus on using your arms and eliminates the need to kick.
Fins help with ankle flexibility and leg strengthening. They encourage a higher, more horizontal body position and prevent your body from sinking lower into the water. Fins are often used to aid in technique - because you're not as worried about sinking, you can focus more on the actual stroke. They also help improve the kick, making it stronger and more efficient.
A strong kick will increase your swimming speed, and kick boards can be used to help strengthen your kick and improve body position in the water. They can also be used to help warm the legs up before beginning a main set.
Paddles are worn on the hands and are helpful in strengthening the catch in your stroke. They enable you to feel yourself "holding" the water and moving forward, making each stroke more efficient. Avoid using paddles that add extra resistance; these are usually too large for your hands (extend more than an inch past the fingertips) and can injure the shoulder.
Snorkels enable you to fully focus on stroke technique. Because you breathe through a mouthpiece, you don't have to rotate the body to take a breath every few strokes. The head can stay relaxed with the body in full alignment without interruption. In individuals with injuries of the back or neck, a snorkel can be extremely helpful in decreasing pain. Specific snorkel models can even be used in flip turns.
These electronic swimming aids are helpful tools that help swimmers focus on consistency. They sound out beeps at whatever rate you select. By controlling the frequency of beeps, you can concentrate on proper pacing and improved stroke rate. By changing the speed of the beeps, you can evaluate the intensity of your workout.
Swimming goggles provide full vision while in the water. Functional goggles offer a slim fit and a watertight seal, allowing you to maintain speed and avoid potential obstacles. Some models also have polarized lenses that decrease glare and reduce eye strain, as well as anti-fog and mirrored lenses with UV protection.
Specific resistance training tools can aid in improving stroke technique outside the water. Through the use of an adjustable belt with rubber cords, you can strengthen your arms by simulating different strokes with resistance. These belts encourage proper motion and require the swimmer to move through the stroke using proper technique. This will improve efficiency once back in the water.