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More Swimming 101…

(Apologies in advance for the weird spacing on this post.  No idea what is up with that!)

Welcome to Part 3 of Swimming 101.  If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, go here and/or here.

 Once you get the basics of swimming, like knowing how to not drown…the next important step is learning how to swim effectively.  It is one thing to get from point A to point B, but if you really want to be a better swimmer, you have to learn to swim with purpose.  Adding toys will not only help to build strength but also keep your workouts exciting.  Yeah, that’s what she said (figured I would beat you to it!).


Kickboard- (These come with or without a strap.  I can only speak for non-strap kickboards as I do not use the strap.)


How it is effective:  Kickboards allow you to give your arms a rest and exclusively work your legs while you swim.


How to use it:  Kick your legs to propel yourself through laps while your upper body floats on the water.  They are most productive when done with the face out of the water and the arms on top, gripping more towards the front.

Pull Buoy- (There are adjustable and non-adjustable, but I can only speak for non-adjustable as it is the only kind I use.)


How it is effective:  It is a training device for developing endurance and upper body strength.  It provides resistance because it prohibits the legs from kicking.  Using a pull buoy gives the arms a workout by providing flotational support for hips and legs. Additionally, a bilateral breathing rhythm can be refined.


How to use it:  Place the buoy between your legs (the higher up, the better) and begin to swim.  It takes a few laps to get used to the first time, but is generally very easy to use.   



How they are effective:  Fins will work to increase ankle flexibility and overall leg muscle strength.  Additionally, they help increase your speed and help build your endurance.


How to use them:  Alternate kick sets between freestyle and backstroke to build uniform leg muscle strength.   


Gloves- (Hand paddles are an alternative to gloves, however I have never used them.)

How they are effective:  Enhances workout by adding resistance and builds upper body strength.

How to use them:  Put them on.  I know, things are getting tough- haha.

Aqua Jogger-

 How it is effective:  Impact-free workout, especially good for those in recovery.  Also helps strengthen and support lower back and tone abdominal muscles. 

How to use it:  It is honestly very tricky and takes some getting used to.  At first, it is best to try walking motions, followed by jogging in place.  It took me a few tries to actually move while jogging in the water.  But once you get going you can really work up a sweat.  You will be amazed at the workout!!

For me, a typical workout includes a warm-up, free swim, drills (with and without equipment) and a cool-down.  I try not to exceed 400 meters using equipment.  There are different schools of belief when it comes to how often to use this equipment, so I recommend doing what works best for you personally.  The only suggestion I will make, and I have said this before, is have a plan.  Don’t bring all your toys to the pool on the same day. 


Stay tuned for part 4 of Swimming 101:  pool drills and open water swimming 

7 thoughts on “More Swimming 101…

  1. I haven’t tried any swim toys yet . . . but I’m thinking I should try the kickboard. I’ve noticed that my legs feel tired by the end of my swim workout – need to strengthen those kickers!

  2. This stuff is great for me because I am a “want to be” swimmer:) I enjoy reading swimming tips because I secretly wish that I could do it! I could do the Aqua jogging! Happy Friday Jill!

  3. I’m going to print this out and give it to my hubbs. He is taking up swimming for the first time as a way to break up his exercise routine. Thanks!
    Hope your hip is feeling better and I think you should totally do the 5K – goals are good!!

  4. Seeing the section on the aqua jogger made me laugh and reminded me when I had stress fractures, went out and bought an aqua jogger and hit my pool’s gym for the first time. First time in THAT pool too, completely unknowing that it was 4ft. deep. EVERYWHERE! I feel like such an idiot with this stupid thing around my waist in water shallow enough to stand in!! Ooops. Happy friday!

  5. Gee, we used the kickboard last on Tuesday morning’s practice for 8×75. Do you know how long that takes? I thought we were doing those for FOREVER! We would do 25 graveyard with the kickboard facing up (looking like a headstone…hence the name), and then 50 kick of choice.

    Have you every used the parachute? Now that’s fun! Nothing like giving yourself a little extra drag!

  6. Pingback: Swimming 101- Questions Answered « Finishing is Winning

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