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Why Should You Swim With Hand-Paddles? | Swim Stronger In Your Next Triathlon

Why Should You Swim With Hand-Paddles? | Swim Stronger In Your Next Triathlon

– Right Mark it is time
to whack some paddles on. – Yep, you see these
hanging around at the end of every pool nowadays,
it’s like every man and their dog has a set of these. And you might be wondering what they are and how to use them. – Yeah these bits of kit
are extremely beneficial for improving our strength and working on our technique in the pool. So today we’re gonna
discuss how to use them and crucially what we
need to use paddles for. (lively music) Now as triathletes we are well known for our love of swim toys and we generally carry
around a whole collection of paraphernalia when
we go to a swim workout. And these hand paddles
are generally always one of those things that
we add to our collection. – Yeah and on the simplest
level these hand paddles increase the surface area of
our hand and therefore meaning that we can grab a hold of
more water with each pull and therefore increasing
our momentum as we swim. Now you can use these
completely on their own as we would when we normally swim or you can incorporate
them into a pool set. Now a pool set would be when
you pop something like this, a pool buoy between your
legs that will stop you from using your legs and getting
a propulsion from your legs and really isolating the arms. – Yeah so when we’re
adding these hand paddles into a pool set we essentially
are trying to mimic a strength session in the
gym or to be more specific say an overgearing session
when we’re out on the bike. So simply put we are just trying to get more bang from our buck
from that swim session because let’s face it as triathletes we don’t usually have a
whole ton of spare time. (lively music) – So paddles can help
to improve the mechanics of our swim stroke and with
time it can also help to improve our strength and technique too, how so? I’ll hear you out as
well, you probably belong to your local swim club,
master swim session or triathlon club swim
then you’ll very often hear a coach saying something along
the lines of dropped elbow, crossing the center
line or even bad catch. – Yeah now these are all
weaknesses that I heard being talked about once upon a time and that’s where paddles
are really useful tools because by using these, well they help accentuate
all those weaknesses that can possibly be in our stroke. So with the right attention to detail and focus when we’re
swimming and good drill work in time we can become stronger and faster and that regular use of paddlework will just help us become better swimmers. – Yeah so having a high elbow well it’s kind of become
some sort of mantra in the swimming community and it has been for a long time now if you
switch to swimming on on TV any high profile event
such as the Olympics you’ll see just what we’re on about. But to really understand the
benefits of this high elbow I really believe that you
have to feel it first yourself and that’s where hand paddles
really come into their own because by the very nature
of their larger surface area they essentially accentuate
that feeling of the high elbow the benefits that you get from it and that feeling of being stronger and more efficient with your stroke. – Yeah now that is where
paddles are really good because they do help
you get more of a feel for the water when you’re swimming. And other benefits that paddles can bring are that they make you think
about crossing the center line when you enter the water
because that really isn’t a very strong type of
catch that we can get you can end up with an S-type shape pull which is just as far
weaker than a really good strong over the barrel type of catch. And another thing that
paddles can help you to do is just promote more thought
about the whole swim stroke right from your entry all
the way through to the exit where you’d come out at the hips. (lively music) – Now to really get the
most out of paddlework then you want to make sure
that it’s establishing a good technique under water. Now something that I was
taught from a young age and personally I hate but
Fraser absolutely loves doing it is removing the strap from
the bottom of the paddles that should ordinarily
go over your wrists and that just leaves
you with the top strap for your fingers. Now what this does is it forces you to catch and enter the water smoothly and then pull in a nice even fashion rather than just trying to grab the water, muscling your way down the lane and just relying on that
larger surface area. Now if you find that the paddle
is slipping away from you or moving underneath your hand,
then what might be happening is you’re breaking at the wrist and you’re losing that catch
and that purchase on the water so really try to slow things down and really try to feel the stroke cause essentially what we’re
striving for is a good catch with paddlework and always
trying to think of our hands and our arm like an anchor point that we’re trying to move ourself over whilst we hold onto the water at least that’s what we’re
trying to think of anyway. – Now there are a couple of
things worth pointing out when we’re talking
about using hand paddles in terms of how often we use them and how experienced a swimmer
we are whilst using them. Now when I finished up
racing as an athlete I’ll happily admit to having
become fairly dependent on using these hand paddles
in my swim workouts. In fact I was probably using them for as much as 3/4 of my swimming. And I’d go as far as saying that they had become a crux for me. But that was largely possible because of the amount of swimming I’d accumulated over the
years as a younger swimmer and also my fairly resilient swim stroke and good mechanics that I had. But as a newbie swimmer or triathlete that definitely is not
something that I’d recommend. A more sensible ballpark
figure would be in the region of up to 1/3 of your swimming
being done with these paddles. And on that note you might well
read or hear people talking about never going near paddles
until you’ve been swimming for as much as two years,
I disagree with this. Rather I’d go for the
option of little and often, once you’re comfortable being in the water and keep your reps nice and
low when you’re using paddles because that enforces better technique rather than hammering home poor form using these extra load
that the paddles give us and just focusing on
having better technique through using them. (lively music) So some sample sessions
that you could include in your swimming to
think about progressing with the use of hand paddles could be starting with nice and short reps like say 10 times 50
meters with the paddles and then 200 meters nice and easy swim. Repeating that set twice times through that then could build
into eight times 75 meters with paddles and 100 meters nice and easy again repeating that
set two times through. And that in itself could
lead into say something like five times 100 with 200
meters nice and easy swimming repeating that set twice
times through as well. So what you’re doing is
slowly increasing the duration of the rep that you’re
using with the hand paddle and in time once you get
more stable and comfortable using the paddles and your
stroke is coping with it you can factor in longer
reps like 200 meters and even as far as four or 500 meter reps aren’t out of the question either. (lively music) – Now for the majority of swimmers your paddles should be
just larger than your hands and the reason they’re
about 10 to 20% larger. Don’t do what I used to do as a kid and I used to just go for
the largest paddles I could thinking I was the don because actually that’s just
gonna put excessive strain on your arms and your
shoulders and also amplifying the faults within your
mechanics of your stroke. – Yeah now essentially as Mark’s saying is don’t go and whack on a set of dinner plates such as these and believe me I have seen it done and as Mark’s explaining
it happens all too often. And if your swim stroke
isn’t able to cope with it you’re just inviting the
concepts of all sorts of shoulder injuries that just
isn’t worth worrying about so please just keep the
paddle size nice and small and you’ll definitely
get lots of improvement from using paddles. – I think mine were more like dustbin lids rather than dinner plates to be honest. Now you might have got it by
now that Fraser and myself are big fans of using paddles
and hopefully today’s video has clarified and
highlighted those benefits of using paddles so maybe you
might want to include them in your next swim workout. – Yeah absolutely so if
you’ve got any thoughts or discussions or topics
about using paddles drop them down in the comments below cause we’d love to read about them and get involved in your discussions. If you’ve enjoyed this video, hit that thumb up wide button, find the globe somewhere on screen to get all the other content
that we’ve got here on GTN. And if you wanna see a video that we did about swim kit essentials, you can find that here. – Yeah and on the biking side if you wanna see something sort of related see our overgearing video
by clicking just down here.

25 thoughts on “Why Should You Swim With Hand-Paddles? | Swim Stronger In Your Next Triathlon”

  1. I was using paddles today and was thinking of watching some YouTube video on how to use it probably and here you are. Thanks for this video.

  2. My question is: What fraction of a swim session should be devoted to strokes other than freestyle? I generally mix sets of 500 (yards of meters) free with sets of 250 (yards or meters) that are a combination of breaststroke and backstroke. Is this a good idea or a terrible idea, and why? Thanks.

  3. I'm with Fraser – no wrist straps. They are a crutch and allow you to use paddles with poor technique.

  4. No, I do not, nor do I advise anyone to do so except under a coach's advice. Paddles are probably the biggest contributor to rotator cuff injuries and swimmers shoulder, and most people who use them are doing so incorrectly.

  5. Love your content. Is it possible to show a typical swimming program from off season. It would be nice to hear your thoughts on technique vs distance / endurance 🙂 And fraction of a swim session should be devoted to strokes other than freestyle? Especialy your thoughts on backstroke.

  6. I bought like the smallest paddles possible and they are great, they add just that little bit more of load and really helped with my technique

  7. I love paddles. But you have to use them correctly. I do max 100 m intervals. Great for strength. But I see a lot of people swimming the whole set along with paddles. Well, that will hurt sometime.

  8. This was great. I use my paddles for a 200 freestyle then a 200 breaststroke/backstroke combo. But now after looking at those paddles I think I need to get some slightly larger ones, since my current ones are just as big as my hands, so I’m not feeling too much extra pull.

  9. Thanks Chaps, your timing is perfect as just used paddles first time Monday. This helps me think over how I will use them in a session. For sure my experience was they slowed my rate down so I was able to focus on technique and yes I see the benefit of the added resistance. Using with the pull buoy felt like I had a wetsuit on in terms of position in water. My challenge will be not to do too much paddle work too soon, so warnings from you and comments heeded. Keep up the great work.

  10. I like that paddle's color when you guys swimming i can see your hands locus so cool and nice camera walking

  11. I'm loving this channel, and others. I have a friend in the office that just did Ironman South Africa recently, and when I said I couldn't do something like that he merely said, "sure you can. It just takes training."
    So, I took that seed he planted and have been working on it. seven sessions in the pool so far, and I'm already seeing a marked difference. I'm certainly in no condition to do even the shortest of triathlons just yet, but before long I know I can get there.

    Thanks for all the great videos and tips!

  12. man I HATE paddles. I become the slowest in the lane once the coach calls for them. Its so frustrating because it feels like it destroys my form and leaves me struggling to finish the set ._.

  13. I used to hate paddles but now I do love them! It feels right when my hands slide into the water at a right angle (that pushing furniture back feeling), and it feels extremely wrong when my arms are sloppy and slapping the water.

  14. I am a new lap swimmer and I bought a pair of paddles, short fins and a snorkle. I use all of them on and off while swimming laps. I use your videos to try and work on a perfect stroke rather than speed. I find the equipment useful and as I am new I don't have existing bad habits to unlearn. Thank you for your super videos!!

  15. I am not quite convinced if I understood correctly. Should I use paddles more often or not? I am training for 3 months and I am getting tired after 1000m of regular swimming however when I was swimming with paddles and pull buoy I could easily do 3000m. So shall I continue with paddle more often or keep training without equipment? Cheers

  16. I see many paddles with a lot of holes and some with fewer. Which is best for a great arm / back workout for a good swimmer? Thanks for the video!

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