For beginners and more experienced triathletes finding the best swimming fins can be tricky. First of all though we explore 6 benefits of swimming fins.
What are fins?
Well, putting on a pair of swim fins on the ends of your legs is equivalent to putting a 25 h.p. motor onto your rowing boat – you suddenly find you are super fast - powerful. But unfortunately you’d be disqualified for wearing them in a competition as well as having very tired legs for the bike and run disciplines. So what are the benefits of wearing fins when swim training? When incorporated into your training, fins can be used to develop flexibility, correct body position, and improve your overall technique.
Reduced Shoulder Stress
Swimming is classified as a low-impact workout, but the stroke is repetitive. The constant movements of each stroke can lead to shoulder damage. Using swim fins lessen the impact of your workout on your shoulders. Without fins, your leg kick generates at best 10%-12% of your propulsion forward. Adding swimming paddles adds further load on the arm stroking muscles.
Improve your Kick
When swimming, a proper kick technique is both, narrow and compact rather than big and powerful. Using flippers to swim laps helps improve the up-kick by adding resistance to this motion. It’s the up-kick portion of the kick which engages your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles, swim fins provide positive muscle development, improving your kick technique and making you faster and more efficient.
Correct body positioning in the water looks a little like a windsurfer, skimming across the surface of the water. Your body and legs should be high in the water, but most swimmers find this body position difficult to hold and you see sinking hips and legs as the swim progresses. Swimming with fins adds speed to each stroke and improves your body position in the water.
Improve Ankle Position
A compact yet efficient kick requires great ankle flexibility. Some swimmers are naturally flexible. Others need to work on this skill (running back ground). Swim fins reinforce proper kick mechanics, allowing you to develop ankle flexibility faster than training without fins.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Another advantage of fins is that they allow you to swim for longer periods of time, increasing your muscle strength and endurance. When first using fins, limit the time you spend in them. They can cause injuries in lower legs if you are not use to them. Take your time and develop it gradually.
By adding stability and propulsion to your swim training sessions, fins allow you to focus on specific elements of the stroke (assuming front crawl or butterfly). The added speed will help you practice drills, 6/1/6 (kick/stroke/kick), breathing rotation, kicking on side