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5 benefits of training with hand paddles

Swimming with paddles has an array of benefits from strength to technique. Here are 5 reasons you should add paddles to your swim session.

Wearing hand paddles during a swim session doesn’t just make swimming easier but they can also be used as a learning and technique tool or to increase strength in your stroke.

The great thing about increasing the use of hand paddles in the pool is that you can improve your technique and strength before hitting the ocean and showing off the benefits to all of your ocean swimming buddies – they’ll want to know your secret!

Here are 5 reasons why you should add hand paddles to your training session.

1. Your forced to work on your catch

When you use hand paddles it forces you to keep a high elbow and strength in your catch when swimming freestyle.

A common mistake made by swimmers is dropping their elbow and letting their arm and hand slip through the water without any pressure.

Paddles automatically make you keep pressure on your forearm allowing you to have a stronger catch, which will help propel you through the water faster and easier.

2. They help to increase your stroke rate

Hand paddles are made to be slightly bigger than your hand which creates more resistance through the water in your catch phase building more power and strength.

When sprinting with hand paddles this strength allows your forearm to move faster through the water in turn creating a faster stroke rate which can be very beneficial for both starts and finishes of ocean swims and in choppy conditions.

A swimmer working on their technique with hand paddles (Speedo Finger Paddles)

3. You’ll be a more efficient swimmer once the hand paddles come off

Because hand paddles help increase the strength and power of your catch and ensure you keep pressure on your forearm for the whole duration of the catch phase in your stroke, this makes you a more efficient swimmer.

Once the paddles come off, it is almost second nature to swim the same as when you had the paddles on meaning you will keep pressure on your forearm making you a more efficient swimmer.

Top Tip: To measure if you are becoming a more efficient swimmer in the pool, count the number of strokes before paddles, with paddles and after paddles to compare.

4. You’ll see an increase in your speed

By becoming more efficient and taking fewer strokes per lap in the pool, your distance per stroke goes up which helps to increase your speed.

Paddles also add more strength to your stroke by giving the hand a bigger surface area which propels you through the water further, ensuring you swim faster.

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5. Great for mixing up your session

Every swimmer understands swimming up and down that black line doing the same thing every session can get a little boring.

But, why not throw in a few sets with hand paddles to mix up your session and keep you fresh mentally, as well as physically?

Try adding at least one set of paddles to your swim session every time your visit the pool to keep things from getting boring and to help improve your swimming.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 20 February 2023
  • (Updated on 4 August 2023)


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