When it comes to swimming training, there are different training aids that can be used for specific exercises in technique training, but also to build up swimming-specific conditional skills. Technique training is the first priority for many beginners. The first discipline in triathlon is the most demanding from a motor point of view. In swimming, compared to running or cycling, progress in performance cannot be achieved as easily by continuously rewinding circumferences. A lack of water position or inefficient swimming technique can only be compensated poorly with endurance. Through the targeted use of swimming-specific training aids, the complex technique can be practiced in a simplified manner and learned more effectively. In addition, various swimming accessories also offer a significantly greater variety of training methods. We'll show you which swimming accessories definitely belong on the edge of the pool and how best to use them.
Use of swimming accessories - you should know that
The purpose of the various training aids is primarily to focus and reduce the complex overall technique to individual partial movements. They (the swimming aids) support the body in certain areas (water position, propulsion), so that the focus of the exercise can be placed on a single movement and practiced in isolation.
This is important :
- only the correct use of the swimming accessories will deliver the desired results (technical rule: cleanliness before speed)
- Do not rely solely on PullBuoy, Paddles & Co and always combine the individual movements to form the overall situation.
Now we will introduce you to various swimming-specific training aids in detail:
The pull buoy is the most popular training tool, especially for beginners, because when it is clamped between the legs, it unfolds its effect as a buoyant body in the hips and thighs.
The position in the water is thus stabilized even without kicking your legs, you can fully concentrate on your arm movements. It often makes it easier for beginners to learn the arm stroke, so that you can also complete longer stretches in the crawl arm stroke. Furthermore, it also gives the swimmer feedback on how straight and stable one actually swims, since the legs are now shut down as balancing instruments. Tip: increase the level of difficulty by first clamping the pullbuoy between your thighs, then between your knees and finally between your ankles. Body tension guaranteed! Caution: do not rely too much on the pull buoy - it is only an auxiliary instrument for individual exercise sections.
For advanced swimmers, the pull buoy is used more as an endurance instrument for the arms, also in combination with paddles.
- Beginners: 8-10x 50m / 3-5x 100m crawl pull buoy with different focal points of the arm pull or the overall position (high elbow, body extension/gliding phase, underwater pull, breathing variations, etc.).
- Advanced: 5x 200m Kr arms in different intensities / with speed changes
Swimming board / kickboard
The swimming board is mainly used for the isolated leg kick for crawl and breaststroke. The arms are placed on the board, so you can fully concentrate on the footwork.
The board can also be used to improve arm pull by placing one arm on the board and using the other to perform the pulling motion. The shape or size of the swimming board can vary in order to adapt the contact surface or buoyancy of the board to the body weight.
- 6-8x 25m / 4x 50m crawl legs with board, the intensity can be varied
- Leg pyramid 25-50-75-50-25m Kr legs
- 3-5x100m Kr legs (also possible in combination with fins)
Kickbuoy / pull kick board
The pull-kick board or kickbuoy is the practical combination of pull-buoy and kickboard and can therefore be used for both types of use (isolated leg kick and arm pull). It combines the properties of a swimming board and pullbuoy already described, but due to this combination it offers a little less buoyancy than the two special swimming aids. So if you want to save space in your swimming backpack, the kickbuoy is a good choice.
- isolated arm pull/leg kick exercises (see plank and pullbuoy
- Combination exercise, e.g. 5x100m (25m Kr legs + 75m Kr arms) / 4x150m (50m + 150m)
Paddles can be used moderately in the beginner area to learn and improve the arm pull. Advanced swimmers use them primarily to train their endurance. A prerequisite for this, however, is a technically good design.
Paddles primarily increase the footprint area, which means that more water can be "pushed away". More pressure on the water means more propulsion, but it also requires greater power potential. Here is the core: as a technique exercise, exactly this pressure on the water should be conveyed: how do I have to guide my arm or hold my hand in order to displace as much water as possible? Therefore only short series with paddles for beginners, since the clean execution and the strength potential must be developed successively (danger: overloading the shoulder). Advanced swimmers use this increased resistance through the paddles for their strength endurance training. However, too long series should be avoided: paddles reduce the number of arm pulls due to the greater propulsion. Long series can therefore have a negative effect on motor skills.
- Beginners: 4x 50 meter freestyle paddles, technique-oriented, powerful, then 4x50m without paddles, build up the same pressure with the palm of your hand
- Advanced: Strength endurance training 8x 50 meters GA2 with a short break (10-15s) / 4-8x 100 meters, break 20-30s
The kick is not so much about propulsion as it is about stabilizing the position in the water. An efficient kick can generate a consistently high effect of buoyancy with little effort.
(Short) fins are a valuable training aid for practicing, consolidating and training leg kicks both in isolation and in the complex overall crawl movement. Thanks to their enlarged, flexible pressure surface, they make buoyancy and propulsion much easier. Thereby they generate a natural movement feedback about the efficiency, frequency and amplitude of the kick. You can clearly feel differences in the execution of the movement in the propulsion behavior and can thus also find out the "sweet spot", i.e. the point of optimal buoyancy and propulsion for swimming without fins. In addition, the fins make it possible to implement the isolated leg movement not only over short distances (25 or 50 meters), but also over longer distances and thus also an improvement in endurance performance, rhythmization and harmonization of the leg kick. But the same applies here: limited use of swimming aids.
- 5x 150m legs (50m backstroke, 50m lateral position, 50m freestyle)
- 6 x 100m (50m crawl legs with fins + 50m crawl total)
- 1-2x 400m freestyle total GA1, every 3rd lane speed
Swimming accessories are used both in the beginner's area for targeted technique training, but also for advanced swimmers for further technique, strength and endurance training. Therefore, always include specific exercises with different objects in your training in order to further develop your swimming-specific skills and to swim more effectively in the long term.
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