As we work towards the Winter, now is the time to start looking at ways to improve your technique and strength in the pool. One of those ways is through the use of swim paddles
Written by Sara McLarty
Swimming with paddles is a great way to build upper-body strength for a more powerful underwater catch, pull and finish. A paddle with a surface area that is larger than your hand will provide an increase in resistance through the water. Hand paddles can teach you how to use swim-specific muscles more effectively.
It’s important to have a technically proficient stroke before using paddles to prevent shoulder or elbow issues. Many athletes do not use the wrist strap on paddles to encourage the continuation of good stroke technique. You can discover small inefficiencies if your paddle starts to slide sideways or off the hand.
Just like lifting weights, paddles should not be used every day or all the time. Two key sets per week with paddles are sufficient for most triathletes. Use them in combination with pull buoys and/or bands to overemphasise the upper body.
Drills with paddles can be utilised as often as necessary to improve technique. Small finger paddles are a great tool to practise sculling. Larger paddles help with wrist and elbow position similar to the drill explained below.