As you get more serious about your swimming, you'll begin to collect more training equipment in addition to your practice suits, goggles and Speedo swim caps. Kickboards and pull buoys are commonly used products, but another item – fins – may seem strange yet familiar. Training fins provide resistance without putting too much strain on joints, ligaments and tendons.
Many recreational and world-class swimmers use fins to:
- Boost flexibility – Wearing fins will exercise the ankles, resulting in a more efficient and powerful kick.
- Elevate heart rate – Fins exercise the leg muscles— the largest in the body. When the legs are worked hard, it provides an intense cardiovascular workout.
- Improve muscle memory – Swimming with fins can make an athlete more aware of an erratic or weak kick.
- Increase leg strength – These devices can help develop the oft-ignored muscles on the back of the leg.
- Swim in race position without the extra effort - Competitive swimmers try to balance their bodies at the surface of the water. For the less experienced swimmer, fins can often give them the lift they need to maintain that position and improve their stroke without using too much energy.
Training fins look similar to flippers worn by snorkelers or divers, but they tend to be smaller. If you want to use them as a part of your training routine, make sure they are flexible and comfortable. You'll want to avoid fins that are stiff or irritate your feet.
If you want to be a faster competitor, or just an overall stronger swimmer, try out a few pairs of fins and see how they work for you.