What Are Fins?
Fins are a training aid worn on the feet that can come in hundreds of different styles, shapes and sizes.
Why Use Fins?
Fins are a training aid designed to improve your lower body strength, improve ankle flexibility and allow you to train faster. There are many benefits to using fins and styles/lengths to suit everyone’s needs.
Fins can come in all different lengths, each length of fin has a different purpose:
- Short fins – the best suited to training. These fins feel more natural to swim with and so allow your natural kick to be worked (rather than changing your stroke totally!)
- Long Fins/Split Fins – these scuba style fins aren’t great for swimming training so are best avoided. This length requires slow movements and so aren’t beneficial to swimming training or elite swimmers. They are perfect for scuba/snorkel use and are also very good if you are just using you fins for ankle flexibility.
Benefits of Using Fins
- Monofin – a one-blade fin that joins the feet together, like a mermaid tail! These fins are great for tough workouts where you are trying to seriously improve your lower body strength or also for developing your butterfly technique.
So we know that fins are great for use in developing your lower body strength but they also have a number of other benefits for swimmers.
Ankle flexibility is a real benefit of swimming with fins as the fins put extra force on your ankles. By improving the flexibility in your ankle your butterfly leg kick will be much more efficient and so can improve all strokes distance of the wall.
Fins allow you to maintain a better body position easily so you can focus on other areas of your technique that need improvement, whether this be body rotation, arm technique or breathing pattern.
Using fins makes your training much more time efficient as you will fatigue quicker and so not be able to train for as long – great if you still want to train hard but are under time pressure.
Top Tips for using Fins
- Work the distance off the wall when turning. You will really feel the difference that your fins are making and over time see those improvements in your races – at the end of the day that’s what competitive swimmers train for. Don’t forget in a race you can swim up to 15 metres under water off the wall or from the start so fins are great for working that.
- Fins are not suited for use when swimming breaststroke and are to work the lower body muscle groups only – WRONG! You can swim breaststroke with butterfly legs which really works your arms and helps to develop your technique.
- Avoid diving whilst using fins. When you dive off the side of the pool or block your toes and feet can grip the surface, with fins you can’t get that grip so you’re at risk of slipping and injuring yourself.
- When using a kickboard and working your front crawl kick, why not bring out your fins?! Your fins will work those legs and give you a great lower body work out!