In order to prevent a plateau and ensure continual progression within an athlete’s training, It’s important for the athlete to remain open to new training methods and devices.
Swimming can sometimes feel monotonous in nature, the addition of various training equipment not only spices things up, but it can also provide some very tangible benefits for your technique, speed, and endurance in the water. Equipment in swimming can include hand paddles, kickboards, fins, and snorkels. All of which help develop different areas of your swimming.
The Benefits of Using a Kickboard
Training with a kickboard is the best way to improve the power and endurance of your legs for use in your kick. Isolating the legs from the rest of the stroke allows you to focus solely on the movement and rhythm of your legs. Practicing proper kicking mechanics will allow you to incorporate this into your strokes and ultimately leads to a more fluid swimmer.
To use a kickboard, hold it from the sides and lay flat on your stomach, kicking your legs behind you to advance through the water. Place emphasis on keeping your hips high in the water, and remember to initiate the kick from the hips, not the knees.
The Benefits of Using a Snorkel
A snorkel is a unique piece of training equipment as it allows you to keep your head under the water for an extended amount of time, letting you focus on things such as your pull and hip rotation without having to take a breath. Swimming with a snorkel can improve your body position in the water, and it can help lengthen your stroke as well.
To use a snorkel, bite the mouthpiece and make sure the strap is fastened securely around your head. Push off and keep the spout of the snorkel above the water. Now that you don’t have to move your head to take a breath, focus on maintaining a level body line, an efficient catch, and try to really feel the water you’re pulling. You can also use a snorkel and kickboard together!
The Benefits of Using Hand Paddles
Hand Paddles attach to your hand and increase the surface area you use to pull water. They can help develop a swimmer's upper body strength and lead to a more powerful pull across all strokes. Since you’re moving more water with every arm stroke, you’ll travel much faster and your distance per stroke will increase greatly. It’s important to incorporate paddles into your routine if you want to build the necessary strength to have an efficient pull within your swimming.
To use hand paddles, strap your hands into them and make sure they’re securely fastened. When swimming, you’ll find it much harder to pull. This is simply because you’re not accustomed to the increased surface area your hand is wielding. Over time, you’ll find it easier to swim with the paddles, this means your strength is increasing and your pull is getting stronger.
The Benefits of Using Fins
Fins are a phenomenal way to assist you in developing your kick, underwater, and your overall stroke. Your fins will allow you to kick and swim much faster, this can help you understand how to adjust your stroke to be efficient at higher speeds. Fins can also improve your ankle flexibility, leg endurance, and well…they’re fun to use!
To use fins, slip your feet into the right size and begin swimming or kicking. You’ll find that you travel much further and faster. Use the boost the fins give you to work on keeping a good body line, and stroke rhythm. If shoulder pain is something you struggle with, fins can even help to lighten the load on your shoulders when swimming.