Last Updated on April 19, 2017

How and Why To Use Swim Paddles


Acquiring skills to swim fast can be challenging for many people since, without great technique in water, you cannot move forward quickly. You must focus on stroke and strength techniques. Plenty of drills and tools are available to help you improve your swimming. Swimming tools or ‘toys’ are valuable assets in any swimmer’s assemble. Top on the list of popular toys are swimming paddles.

Reasons to Use Swim Paddles

They are often used by swimmers who want to develop the strength in the upper part of the body. Swim paddles do this by preventing water from passing through your fingers, thus allowing you to do your arm pull with extra power. Using swim paddles does not just benefit your upper body strength. These tools can also help improve your swimming techniques as you get more conscious of your arm pull and standard swimming stroke. Any time you experience a lot of resistance as you pull, it is a sign that your hand is in the correct position. Swim paddles also help in slowing down a fast stroke since you have to put in extra effort for every arm pull. Doing this allows you to concentrate on other body areas.

Swim paddles also lengthen your stroke and hence allows you to stretch more with your leading arm. As a result, you get to pull more water and thus achieve better distance with each stroke. Additionally, swimming with the aid of hand paddles is more time efficient compared to the common swimming. When you use swim paddles, you get more tired and thus do not need to swim for a long time. They are therefore an ideal training aid for people who are working against the clock.

Here are some important considerations worth making before swimming with hand paddles:

The Swimmer’s Mechanical Proficiency It is never a great idea for a swimmer with the following technical issues to use hand paddles:

  • Dropped elbows
  • Inability to feel and anchor a catch
  • Imbalance in hand entry
  • Imbalance in crossing the center line


The Right Swimming Paddle

Choosing the right swimming paddle can be confusing. Take a look at some incredible tips you can use to settle for the best paddle:

  • Ensure your paddle size is roughly 10% larger compared to your hand
  • Settle for a specifically-designed paddle
  • Do not use your paddles for more than 25% of your workout time

How To Use Paddles

To a swimmer, hand paddles are the equivalent of a weight lifter’s dumbbells. The main idea is to use regularly them, which in turn makes your shoulder stronger thus allowing you to swim faster. However, you should not use paddles as strengthening tools but as learning tools to help you improve correct stroke mechanics. For instance, in the freestyle stroke, one can utilize them to focus on these focal points:

  • To feel how to pierce the water correctly using a flat hand during recovery
  • To feel how to anchor your hands properly in water as well as how to pull your body above them
  • To extend to the front with a relaxed and long stroke in order to drill front quadrant swimming

If you must use paddles, ensure you use smaller variants with holes. Doing so puts less strain on your shoulders. It also makes sure you have a better feel of the water. As you use them, concentrate on feeling the water as well as correct stroke mechanics compared to force exertion.