In previous articles we have already talked about swimming paddles in general. We know they help build your upper body and push off your arms. Paddles are one of the favorite accessories of coaches and swimmers and are very useful for increasing power, but they must be used with care with Lifeguard Training.
Although for experienced swimmers these are all advantages, others should use them sparingly and take precautions.
For starters, if you swim with paddles for too long, or the wrong way, you may actually be worsening your technique. The most difficult thing is to control the stroke and the position of the body. When the stroke is technically poor, you lose efficiency and swim lurching like a snake.
To avoid this, you can start by practicing some very simple exercises:
First, put on fins to float better. Then put on your blades and try the “zip-up freestyle” technique. With your arms out in front of you, begin a one-armed swim, carefully marking the pull and push phases. At this point, when you have your arm close to your body, focus on the recovery trying to get your elbow up and extend your arm forward again.
Practice the exercise by alternating 25m freestyle with your left arm and 25m with your right. When you execute it with ease, you can take off the fins or increase to a distance.
A second problem is shoulder injuries caused by excessive use of the rackets. This accessory subjects the shoulder and back muscles to overexertion which, in the long run, can cause serious injuries.
If you want to learn how to reduce trunk workload, try the following:
– Use a pullbuoy to keep your body horizontal so your upper body muscles move more easily. The pullbuoy keeps the hips on the surface of the water and thus the stroke is more agile and the resistance caused by the loss of efficiency in the lower body is reduced.
Try this for warm-up: 10x50m freestyle with pullbuoy and swim paddles with 20” recovery, swimming 1 x technique focus (see above) 1 x hypoxia breath every 3/5 strokes changing every 25m
– Alternate swimming with and without paddles during training. Depending on your level, the duration of the paddle sessions varies. This is a complete sport and to practice it it is essential to balance the muscles of the upper and lower body. Focusing only on improving your paddle stroke can even backfire.
Get the balance you are looking for with combined exercises:
6 x 100m freestyle with 20” recovery swimming 1 x 50 with pullbuoy + paddles/ 50 full breaststroke 1 x 50 with pullbuoy + paddles / 50 legs with pullbuoy ahead
Remember that no exercise helps you improve if you don't execute it properly. Learn the correct technique and combine arm work with leg work so that your training is varied and effective.