Swim Hand Paddles for Ironman Triathlon Training

Swim Hand Paddles for Ironman Triathlon Training.

They are a swim tool that you can use on either hand or both. They are generally made of plastic with one or two thick elastic bands.
Avoid over use or using them for more than 25% of any session especially in the first 4 weeks of using them. Injuries often occur from swimmers who have not used them for several months then swim almost whole session with them.

It is not that you cannot use large paddles it is all about building fitness and strength gradually, what you did last spring to build up strength in anticipation for speed your muscles heart and lungs may not be capable now until you adapt again.

Rotator soreness often can be attributed to the previous session either doing long slow powerful stokes or long repititive distance sets, the damage is done during the sets and not how much recovery you get.

They are a good tool for correcting your stoke using this swim aid but NOT recommended that you use hand paddles for intervals speed work doing any stroke.

Designed for feedback for even pressure and even similar symentary between each side of the stroke. This causes an immense amount of strain and will lead to injuries, which can take many months to heal often resulting in no swimming.
Water is very hard to swim thru adding extra resistance creates huge extra pressure.
Feel for the water is often exaggerated helping you understand how the hand enters presses catches pulls thru and finally pushes back.

The Purpose of using hand paddles is for resistance, technique and variety. They are a great piece of equipment for Ironman and Triathlon training. They are very good for swim specific power improvement. More so than weight training. Considering this they are mainly only used for drills and technique work.
Count your strokes per length before during and after using them then compare the difference usually your stroke is slower more powerful and you often swim quicker with paddles. Some swimmers notice a reduction in the number of strokes you use after using paddles.

Drills are often incorporated when using hand paddles, single arm swimming, catch up (super man position) do not pull thru with one arm until other hand is level or further forward than the hand outstretched.

Size matters years ago the bigger the better more resistance but injuries became more common. Now qualified swim coached recommend a hand paddle that is slightly larger than your hands about 1cm larger than the circumference of your own hand with fingers together as you build up strength over the years then hand paddles slightly larger than your hand opened wide can be used providing you did not have shoulder elbow problems using the smaller version.

Injury free swimmers progress from 3-4 different sizes over 3 years and still use their smallest versions.
Shape is also important to think about before your purchase a pair. Flat style is preferred because it generally gives you a better feel than the curved varieties.
There is much debate about square against round shape paddles; this will be discussed at a later time when more information has been gathered.

Swim stroke-
During the whole phase from entry to pressing down (Catch phase) and the middles part (Propulsive part) and especially the push (often known as the press) the extra resistance caused by using the hand paddles build up swim strength and good feel for the water. Points to look out for are does the hand paddle judder or try and come off your hand on both or one hand while swimming if it does you are losing the feel and catch of the water. The swim stroke can be broken down into many different parts.

The Entry and reach sets the hand up for the rest of the stroke so is very important even though little power and propulsion is generated. If your hand entry is clean (less bubbles) by using paddles if you fail due to poor technique or fatigue the hand paddle will either judder lift up or dive deeply. Aim to spend longer (Travel more distance) in this first part of the stroke gliding.

Catch and Pull phase you should feel a constant pressure throughout, if at any time you feel your hand speed up monitor this by looking at what you are doing for a few strokes. Do you change the position of your hand in the water or is your elbow dropping (incorrect). Slow down the whole movement use a float between your legs so you can just think about your arms caution though your whole stroke may change by using a pull buoy.

Push Phase make sure you push as far as you can thru to your hip, this will allow you more time with the other hand reaching and gliding forward. A common mistake is if you exit early the paddle will try and force itself off your hand this is a sign of incorrect not pushing thru enough. To improve hand exiting cleanly uses your high elbow to with flat paddle to exit cleanly and quickly.

Recovery phase is exactly that, high elbow hand and forearm swigs forward in a straight line and not in a semi circle. This should be a limp relaxed manner not a forceful throw your arm forward action.

Remember no one piece of equipment will replace consistent practice. Ironman Triathlon training is about consistent training and you should never rely on equipment.