Fins are one of the most useful tools in a swimmer’s arsenal. Incorporating fins into your swim workout can be especially helpful if you’re looking to improve, tweak, or even develop parts of your technique.
Tweak Your Technique
Using swim fins in your swim training actually has little to do with working or focusing on your legs. Swimmers use fins to amplify their kick so they can spend less time concentrating on the kick and more time dedicated to the limited aspects of the pull.
Most swimmers utilize fins while working on various drills during their training sessions. Fins increase speed with little effort on the swimmer’s part, while improving posture by keeping the swimmer’s hips high in the water.
The increased speed and propulsion achieved by using the fins reduces the number of strokes needed, and actually allows the swimmer to slow their arms down in order to really focus on technique. For example, while your legs and the fins are doing the majority of the propelling through the water, you can really concentrate on something like hand position in your stroke.
Boost Your Cardio
Technique isn’t the only area that benefits from using fins. Adding fins to your training session can help improve cardiovascular conditioning, fitness, and muscle strength.
Swimming is a demanding sport, as it uses more muscles in the body at the same time than many other popular workouts. The more muscles you use, the more cardiovascular benefits are felt. So while swimming on its own is already a great way to boost your cardio, using fins in your workouts can amplify your results.
Although some consider it cheating to use fins in swim training, they can actually add to the load and resistance in the water. This is where the increased cardio benefits come into play. While your stroke is faster and may feel easier when using fins, the change in load and resistance creates a more challenging workout with greater fitness benefits. And don’t forget the improved core strength!
It’s All in the...Ankle
Flexibility in the ankle is essential to any swim technique. Beginner swimmers or seasoned swimmers who are out of practice may struggle with ankle flexibility, preventing them from achieving the proper amount of flex needed for their kick. Most adults tend to keep their ankles flexed in the water and can't figure out how to properly kick. Fins help train the body to keep the toes pointed which can improve the effectiveness of a kick.
Using fins regularly in your swim training can improve flexibility in your ankles. According to swimming.org, good technique involves hyper-extending your ankles to keep your toes aligned with your shin--this increases resistance in the water while also increasing propulsion.
If you’re just beginning, or trying to get back to a swimming routine, fins can help guide your feet and ankles in this part of the technique.
While using fins in your swim training can assist you in improving several aspects of your technique, it’s important to remember to only use them for portions of your workouts. As a general rule, the overuse of something can be detrimental, and the same can be said for overusing fins in your swim training.
Be mindful of when and where you use fins in your swim workouts, and be sure to check out the selection of fins available from BornToSwim!