When using training equipment to enhance your performance there are 5 main items that are used for training: Kickboard, Pull Buoy, Fins, Hand Paddles and Snorkel. Each of these can be used at different points in training as an aid to improve different strokes.
The Kickboard is the most commonly used and the one item that most are familiar with. The kickboard comes in a variety of different styles, including some with hand holes, curved, pointed, big or small but the purpose of the kickboard is the same.
Using the kickboard allows for you to focus on your technique. This can be used across many aspects of your training. Body position and lower body training is most common, giving you the opportunity to focus on your leg kick technique, hip alignment and core stability. You may also choose to work on developing the power within your kick by combining the kickboard with some fins.
You could also use your kickboard in training to focus on your breathing technique. By holding your kickboard you can time your breaths and rotations.
Pull Buoys are used to isolate your upper body whilst keeping your legs still and streamlined at the correct position in the water. Using a pull buoy allows you to practise your arm pull by feeling the water and exerting more force through your upper body for a better and more efficient stroke.
Pull buoys are also used for working your core muscles to increase stability. For example, with front crawl, as you rotate your shoulders on each arm pull it is common for your body position to move. By using your pull buoy you can focus on keeping the lower body under control, ensuring that your body stays streamlined as opposed to wobbling with each arm pull.
You may also use your pull buoy for developing your breathing technique, to work on your timing with each arm pull and corresponding breath. Using a pull buoy will allow you to stop kicking without your legs sinking, slowing down your stroke to keep you focuses on your rotations and timings.
Fins and Hand paddles
Both are designed to increase resistance in the water. By adding fins or hand paddles to your training sessions you will have a greater surface area to pull the water, helping with stamina and building muscular endurance.
Using fins or hand paddles will make your swim more efficient and will increase your speed and ankle flexibility. Adding either of these to your training will help to improve your pull or kick for each stroke, even once the added resistance have been removed.
Using a snorkel in training can benefit in many ways. Most importantly, it allows you to keep your head in the water as you practice your strokes. For example, if you were to be swimming front crawl then you could keep your face down in the water to focus on your shoulder rotations, eliminating the need to rotate your head to breath, therefore allowing you to swim for a longer with your face in the water..
Snorkels, unlike the type that you would use at the beach, are generally designed to sit in the centre of your face, following along the shape of your face and supported by a head strap and bridge. They are designed to stay central and streamlined as to not hinder your performance.
What Training Equipment will you be adding to your next session?