Fins kick ass. Why? This genius bit of kit offers the best training boost for bucks, period and they can give your shoulders a break... which makes for a win win and maybe even wins.
FINIS kicked off with the monofin as its first product so are a bit one-eyed but check out the upsides for yourself...
A proper kick technique (flutter) is narrow and compact. The best kick is short and fast, rather than big and powerful. Your legs are essentially straight and power comes from the hips.
The weakest part of the kick is the bit that fins really focus on improving. It is called the up-kick. The ‘up-kick’ element of the kick is powered by the hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles. Doing something as simple as adding resistance to this part of the motion helps improve technique.
A good efficient kick has a small amplitude and achieving this requires straight legs and a high level of ankle flexibility. It generally takes time to learn to do it well and to encourage your ankles to flex but some swimmers are lucky to be naturally flexible.
Applying fins to kick training is a fast way to increase the ankle’s ability to flutter. The added resistance of the fins encourages proper kick mechanics too.
Compared to the likes of footy, running or boxing, swimming is a low-impact sport but your body will still take a beating. Clearly swimming requires repetitive movements and high stress points like shoulders are bound to grumble. Adding a strength training component to your swim program is one way to head off stress trouble.
In addition to strength training out of the water, the simple act of adding a pair of fins to your workout will lessen the impact to your shoulders. Fins provide added propulsion which lessens load on the upper body and makes it easier to focus on technique.
THE SPEED SPOT.
One factor that definitely helps boost swimmers into the fast lane is body position in the water. If you have ever watched a speedboat you will have seen how it gains speed and pops up on top of the water. Many swimmers know they need to aim to have a similar position but it’s hard to achieve. Fins can help.
Swimming with fins improves body position by adding velocity to the stroke and also making it easier for the body to swim faster and get a feel for a higher spot on top of the water.
A couple of laps with fins is all it will take to let you know you will swim faster with them. Fins deliver an undeniable feeling of speed and the ability to power through the water.
But the real magic of fins is they not only make you swim faster, they allow you to swim and kick for longer which helps build endurance and stamina. By simply adding resistance, fins build strength and power so swimming with them really is a win win win.
When it comes to choosing a pair of fins, there are two things to toss up: fin size and flex.
The size of fin you choose can dramatically impact stroke technique and speed. Shorter fins, like Zoomers are best for every day kicking and swim training. Larger fins like our Foil Monofin are better for working on dolphin kick and learning body undulation. If you want to combine the two check out the impressive Evo Monofin.
There was even a fin for those who love breaststroke. Our Positive Drive Fins are ideal for all four strokes but are next level for breaststrokers.
Shorter fins give a more realistic feeling of speed and help tune stroke technique while delivering maximum cardiovascular conditioning. Larger fins are designed to encourage you to deliver more speed at a reduced tempo.
All fins generally take a bit of getting used to but don’t get too caught up in the theory of what “should” work for you. Stiff fins can make you really fast, but some people say they feel like bricks on your feet. If fins are too soft, they will bend when power is applied to them and so the point of using them in the first place is negated. The right firmness and flexibility is a fine balance and our Long Floating Fins deliver that.
If your find your fins rub, chafe or like the idea of a little padding for comfort, check out Skinsocks and Footbooties.
THE FINIS LINE.
Using the right technical equipment will really boost your results. But, as the saying goes “good things come to those who wait”… or in the case of swimming it’s those put it the time rather than expecting instant results. Some days you will make good gains, other days, you will feel like your stroke is going backwards (and not in a good backstroke find of way). Quality technical equipment will help you simplify swimming and target weak spots but swimming to your potential still requires something that no piece of kit can provide - doing the hard yards.