Welcome to Training Toys Tuesday! We all know training can get boring at times, so training toys are a way to spice things up, especially in the pool!
As a former age group swimmer growing up, I was all to familiar with pull buoys, kickboards, paddles, and fins. When I started swimming a few months ago, I really didn’t want to invest in these items that I thought were pure torture when I was swimming 3+ hours a day. However, a few weeks ago I decided to splurge on fins and a pull buoy because I was starting to follow the swim workouts posted on the NTC Masters Swim blog. Coach McLarty integrates these items in the workouts, and I thought a change would be good. I headed to Swim West in Encinitas, asked for the Zoomers and a TYR pull buoy, and 40 bucks later, I was ready for my afternoon swim using fins and buoys.
Wow, what a difference the fins made. The first set I did was 8 x 50s. I grabbed a kick board (supplied by the pool), pushed off the wall, and kicked my little (er, I mean big) butt off. Back in the day, Zoomers were a fairly new concept, most of my teammates were using the big scuba like fins, and a lot of people didn’t like them because they forced you to work a bit harder. It was the same with these ones. I got the newer version, the Gold, which are known for being more comfortable in the foot area than previous versions. (Read about the development process here.) They were a little bit more flexible than I remember, which was great, since I’m not quite as flexible as I used to be! Yet they really forced me to kick. Most of the kick sets I was doing, I really took it pretty easy. With the fins though, I worked my butt off! My heart rate skyrocketed! I wanted to use the fins the entire rest of the workout. And my legs got a great workout, they were tired and sore following the workout. Yet I couldn’t wait to use them again! I hope every swim workout I do has kick with fins (or swim with fins, that’s a lot of fun too!).
Fins are recommended for triathletes (and swimmers, duh!) because they can “promote proper kick, give you better body position in the water, increase ankle flexibility, and simply breakup an otherwise boring swim set.” (source) I highly recommend them, if for anything to breakup the monotony of a long workout. I really like the Zoomers, maybe because of my past experience using them. I chose the Zoomers Gold, which are shorter and probably for more experienced swimmers. They do have a new style out, called Zoomers Z2, that have a longer blade. I haven’t used those yet, but may be good for beginner swimmer. (I’m calling it new, because I haven’t seen them before! They could have been out there for years and I just didn’t know it!)
Just browsing the Internets, I found a few articles talking about using fins during your workouts:
Do you use fins during your swim workouts? How have they helped you?