Snorkels aren’t just for those looking to explore tropical waters.
Swim snorkels have become one of the most popular training tools in a swimmer’s bag in recent years, and it’s no secret as to why.
Swim snorkels help with a variety of swimming mechanics, including promoting better head position, evening out stroke balance, and even increasing a swimmer’s overall velocity.
Still not convinced? Let’s explore some of the top benefits of using a swim snorkel in training.
Strengthen Your Non-Dominant Side
Most swimmers have a strong, or dominant, side that they tend to breathe toward, especially while swimming freestyle. Favoring a particular side can introduce a variety of issues, including an uneven buildup of muscular development and endurance on one side.
Swim snorkels remove the inclination to breathe to a certain side. While wearing a swim snorkel, you keep your head down, which allows you to focus on developing that endurance and power in both sides of your stroke. Unsurprisingly, swim snorkels will also reduce injuries that are associated with muscle imbalances.
Enhance Drill Work
Some drills are more effective when paired with a swim snorkel. While drill work is intended to help swimmers correct and improve the weaker parts of their stroke, some drills can actually introduce new issues that can detract from the lesson at hand.
For instance, the single-arm freestyle drill, which focuses on balance, rotation, and a smooth catch and recovery, requires a lot of patience and concentration. While these are the areas of intended focus, it can be easy for swimmers to forget to concentrate on these areas as they struggle to stay afloat and rotates correctly while swimming with a single arm. Introducing the swim snorkel to this drill allows swimmers to swim the single-arm freestyle without over-rotating in order to breathe. The swim snorkel makes it possible for them to keep their head in the water and work on improving the focus areas of the drill.
Focus on Technique
Like in drill work, swim snorkels make it easier for swimmers to really focus in on particular aspects of their workouts, without accommodating for breathing. By eliminating the need to turn their head to breathe, or having the breathing motion interrupt the flow of their stroke, swimmers can better focus on the technical elements of their stroke.
In freestyle, a majority of the power generated by the stroke happens in the pulling motion, specifically the front quadrant of the pull. Consequently, this is typically the first part of the stroke to suffer when swimmers become fatigued. Freestylers must keep a high elbow to maintain the power in their pull, and wearing a swim snorkel allows swimmers to place more focus and attention on improving these technical points that are normally forgotten when they’re worried about their next breath.
Amplify Kick Work
Most swimmers will, at some point, encounter swimmer’s shoulder. In a sport that requires a lot of overhead movements, an aggravated shoulder is bound to happen. Using a kickboard during kick sets is a sure way to further irritate a case of swimmer’s shoulder. Instead, swimmers can kick with their arms in a streamline, or even down at their sides. Even without the presence of a shoulder injury, some swimmers just prefer to swim kick sets without a kickboard.
Without a kickboard, many swimmers will do kick sets on their side, where body alignment tends to suffer as they try to breathe with awkward head positioning and without the use of their arms. Hips will then drop as they turn to breathe, which then interrupts kick flow. Using a swim snorkel during kick sets can help restore focus on the kick, promote better body alignment and higher hip position, and help swimmers to increase their speed overall.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to add a swim snorkel to your training equipment. You’ll be amazed by the advancements you can make in your stroke when you don’t have to factor breathing into your training!