Paddles are tools you should always have with you in your training bag. Worn on your hands in training, they help develop specific muscle groups in your arms by increasing the amount of pressure applied to the water and thereby increasing your speed. By making you concentrate more intently on performing a proper stroke, they can also:
1. Correct your swim stroke
2. Increase your upper body strength
3. Increase your aerobic capacity
Paddles are often used together with pullbuoys, and various types are now available. Let’s see how you can use them:
Elite Finger Paddles are designed to be worn on your fingers for all swim strokes and they work on your lower arm muscles without stressing your shoulder muscles. Slide all your fingers into the bigger strap except your middle finger that goes in the smaller strap; they will provide support for your fingers only and not the entire palm of your hand.
These paddles are excellent for working on your technique, try this exercise:
– 8×25 metres freestyle using the Elite Finger Paddles, taking 3 strokes with just your left arm and then 3 strokes with just your right arm. Pay careful attention to both the catch phase and final pull, taking a short break at the end of each stroke. After completing this exercise, swim 4×25 m freestyle fast without the paddles, focusing on the stroke you have just tried out.
Elite Hand Paddles are flat paddles that are perfect for improving your stroke and increasing your power. A big hole has been placed in the middle to allow you to feel the water better and the pressure applied to it. Unlike the Finger Paddles, these paddles are excellent for strength work in the water and for improving the catch phase of your stroke.
They can be worn by placing your hand inside the straps or holding them at the top using just your fingers, without slotting in your hand. In this latter case the muscles of your forearm and shoulders will work harder.
Try these exercises:
– 6×50 m freestyle with the Elite Hand Paddles. Concentrate on the range of your stroke and count the number of strokes it takes you to swim 50 metres; try and reduce the number of strokes you take to swim 50 metres.
– 8×25 m backstroke using the Elite Hand Paddles. Alternate 12.5 metres at maximum stroke rate focusing on your technique and 12.5 metres emphasising the catch phase and focusing on the length of your stroke.
Was our advice useful? Great! Make sure you do not miss our forthcoming articles, where you will find some equally interesting tips.
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