What are hand paddles?
Hand paddles are a swimming training aid made from plastic. These are available in a number of shapes and sizes. The hand paddles will usually have small holes which allow for water to pass through them.
Swimming using a hand paddle increases the surface area of the hand and therefore increases the resistance you get as you move through the water with each stroke. You will often see competitive swimmers using these at your local pool.
Different Types of hand paddles.
There are two main types of hand paddles which you will see, these are:
The main difference between the two is basically the size. As you would imagine the “finger paddle” is a lot smaller and only covers the fingers. The surface area on these is smaller which offers less resistance than the freestyle paddles.
The freestyle swimmers paddle aka “hand paddle” is larger and covers most of the hand, it has a larger surface area than the finger paddles. These are attached to the hand using rubber tubing which can be adjusted.
Who are hand paddles for?
Great question I hear you ask… Hand paddles can be used by anyone from amateur to professional. Hey, I use them and I’m not a pro (yet). I mainly see competitive swimmers and triathletes using these in my local pool. When I do I always have a chat during their breaks and ask them for their “top tips” or “pearls of wisdom” for training with these.
10 Top Tips For Using Your Hand Paddle
– Watch some videos on YouTube that show you the correct technique and swimming drills you should be using.
– Set up and fit your hand paddles when you get into the water.
– Ensure they are done up tightly and won’t come undone midway through your drills.
– Build the use of these into your training schedule gradually and allow your body to adapt.
– Don’t rush straight in and try to do your usual workout using these straight away, this could cause you to pull a muscle.
– Overreach and point the hand paddles in the direction you wish to be moving i.e. straight on. Use the hand paddles regularly to help improve your technique overtime.
– Correct your form, the hand paddles will exaggerate any bad technique you have, use this to concentrate on the “perfect form”
– Overtime your strength and stamina will increase.
– Post swim, do some stretches for your arms & chest, as you may have DOMS the following day. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
– Rest between sessions and allow time for your body to rest & heal itself, this will ensure your on top form the next time you enter the pool.