Like you need an added excuse to wear fins—Here’s why wearing fins on during warm-up will help ease shoulder pain and prepare you for faster swimming later in practice.
When it comes to pieces of swimming gear, nothing gets swimmers excited quite like getting to wear swim fins.
After all, the joys of ripping across the pool at Mach-1 are universal. It doesn’t matter what stroke you specialize in, getting to strap up the fins ranks as a highlight during those long swim practices.
Besides getting to go super duper fast, wearing fins also helps to serve some other sneaky little benefits. Although a lot of swimmers use them as a crutch, or lean on them to make the intervals during tough kick sets, using fins during warm-up will:
1. Loosen up your hips and ankles. Your legs, those big, muscular and oxygen-thirsty stems that they are tend to take longer to warm-up. There are lots of benefits to wearing swim fins beyond the ability to go really, really fast: they help to increase ankle flexibility, develop overall leg power and capacity, and teach you how to kick efficiently. Added speed means your body is more sensitive to drag and resistance in the water.
2. Takes it easy on your shoulders. As a competitive swimmer one of the “perks” of the hilarious amounts of mileage done during training is the wear and tear on our shoulders. At some point, we all run head-on into the dreaded swimmer’s shoulder. For some it’s a career-long epidemic, while for others it’s the random acute injury. Whatever the case, it sucks. And one of the ways that you can help to lessen the load on your money makers is to warm up with fins on. When you consider that most warm-ups are in the 1-1.5k range, and that they often involve cold muscles in your shoulders, chest and back, strapping fins on can be an easy to get things warmed up while slowly introducing your shoulders to the workout.
3. Gives your breakouts some TLC. The break-out makes up a stunning proportion of short course races. It’s your baseline speed—at no point (except for the dive) are you going faster when swimming than in the moments that you are pushing off the wall and breaking out. Wearing fins, and getting your target number of underwater dolphin kicks, will help reinforce a more streamlined, drag-free breakout experience.
4. Leg endurance + warm-up. Most swimmers, when swimming, don’t kick. Okay, maybe they are freestyle kicking, but let’s be honest, a 1-beat kick isn’t really kicking. Sure, the same could happen when putting on fins, but whole fun in wearing fins is going fast, and the only way you can do that is with some measure of kick.