People who want to improve their swimming strokes or who are training for open-water swimming can get a lot of benefit out of learning to use swimming paddles. They’re often used during pose swimming, which is often used during triathlon training. Pose swimming is a style of training that focuses as much on the body’s ability to float as its ability to propel itself. Some experts believe that pose swimming is the ideal training for open water swims, especially those that are held during triathlon training with things like variable water temperatures and conditions.
How to Choose Swim Paddles
It’s important to choose swim paddles that don’t put all of the work on the fingers. If the paddles are actually finger paddles, they should be avoided. It’s also important to avoid getting the biggest and widest paddles possible, whether you’re using them for exercise or training. The assumption might be that the larger paddles will provide more resistance and therefore better muscle training. But the larger designs, because of that resistance, can actually overtax the arm and shoulder muscles in the beginning and cause an injury. Advanced swimmers and those used to training with paddles might be able to use them to improve their technique, but beginners should choose smaller paddles that are just slightly bigger than their hands.
Properly Shaped Swim Hand Paddles
Another important consideration is the shape of the paddles. You can purchase these in a variety of shapes and designs, but the best ones are flat. There are a number of them on the market that have a bottom part that protrudes, but these will tend to make you change your stroke and can also contribute to shoulder injuries. Plain and flat paddles slightly bigger than your hand are the safest to start with and the most likely to benefit your swimming technique.
Strengthen Your Technique with Swimming Paddles
Using paddles on both hands can help you get a feel for your buoyancy in the water and allow you to use it in a way you might not have before. Just like swimming fins, swimming hand paddles let you better use the resistance of the water and can increase arm and shoulder strength. If you find that you have difficulty with a certain stroke, particularly if one arm is much weaker, you can use a paddle on that hand alone and work on balancing the effort and strength put out by each side of your body.
People who’ve had a shoulder injury or are prone to shoulder problems should avoid using paddles. Because of the extra resistance they offer, swimming paddles can strain the area unless used under the direct supervision of a personal trainer who’s aware of your condition.