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Sharpsburger
September 14th, 2009, 06:23 PM
Back when I was swimming competitively, we never used fins. No one I knew even owned a pair.

Now, they seem to be popular. The local masters team uses them. Today I was in the gym pool and a young fellow -- looked to be maybe a high school team swimmer -- got in and started doing kick sets with fins.

Seems to me, if you want to get good at kicking with your bare legs, you practice kicking with your bare legs. In many sports, training is done with added weights, but since the fins make kicking easier, I don't see the benefit.

But then again, why would a training method be popular if it didn't work?

So what's the rationale?

Bobinator
September 14th, 2009, 06:52 PM
Check out "The Fortress" workouts on her USMS blog. She uses them and they work, she's a rocket!
I know lots of master's swimmers who wear them so they can keep up (or be faster than)with everyone on their team. Other people say they take the pressure off their pained shoulders.
I personally feel like they mess my timing up. I feel awkward doing anything except plain kicking with them.

rtodd
September 14th, 2009, 07:37 PM
IMHO

1. Develop leg strength. It's easier to go fast with fins but if you think kicking with fins is easier, do it longer and harder.

2. Can go full speed untapered to "feel" the water and perfect catch/breathing posture at race speeds.

3. Maitain body position for longer fly sets.

4. Overspeed training. In track overspeed training i.e. towing or running down hill is used. This is a swimming version.

5. Bend those ankles! It promotes flexibility.

6. Fun. It's fun to cheat once and a while. Should not be a total substitute for naked kicking.

gigi
September 14th, 2009, 07:41 PM
R Todd said everything I was going to say
Plus some other stuff I'm not smart enough to say
And he said it all better than I would have

bergsteiger
September 14th, 2009, 08:04 PM
3. Maitain body position for longer fly sets.

That is a big one for me. My butterfly wanes rapidly after about a 50 so fins help get needed yardage in.

The Fortress
September 14th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Seems to me, if you want to get good at kicking with your bare legs, you practice kicking with your bare legs. In many sports, training is done with added weights, but since the fins make kicking easier, I don't see the benefit.


That's pretty old school.

Here's an excerpt from Salo's book on the importance of kicking and kicking with fins: http://books.google.com/books?id=8k-Clk701XYC&pg=PA57&lpg=PA57&dq=salo+kicking+fins&source=bl&ots=IPgzDro_9E&sig=TDooKduySTF0c6sqTgQd3h8PTTk&hl=en&ei=SOCuSqv1B-ac8QaNpPXGCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Fins are especially great for lactate kicking sets; kicking slow with fins is worthless. You should also kick without fins, of course.

Apart from kicking, I swim a lot with fins. They build leg strength, are great for speed work and streamlining, and save my shoulders. Since I spend much of my fly-back races dolphin kicking, fins are quite invaluable to me.

Allen Stark
September 14th, 2009, 10:45 PM
I agree with the above,plus I do lots of breaststroke pull/dolphin kick with fins to work on BR timing without straining my knees.

qbrain
September 15th, 2009, 11:02 AM
6. Fun. It's fun to cheat once and a while. Should not be a total substitute for naked kicking.

Naked kicking sure sounds like more fun than it actually is.

Sharpsburger
September 15th, 2009, 11:24 AM
That's pretty old school.
Well, yeah... I'm just getting back in the water after a 29 year, uh... hiatus?

:cane:

I got lots o' catching up to do.

Did my first workout yesterday, and I was surprised how much "like riding a bicycle" it was. The thing is, I'm sure lots of advances in training and stroke have been made in 3 decades.

Heck, when I competed, you had to go all the way to the wall on your back in backstroke, and you got DQ'ed in breaststroke if your head went underwater.

ETA: Thanks, everybody, for the advice. Btw, I got a pair of Swim Stuff fins on the advice of the local team coach, and they turned out to be painfully narrow across the toe, so I can't use them. DJ Sports recommended TYR Flexfins for a wide toe. Anyone here got any experience with this?

ehoch
September 15th, 2009, 12:52 PM
Agree with most of above BUT about 90% of the swimmers on our team simply use the fins to keep up with the people in their lane, swim in a lane they do not belong any more or to avoid regular kicking (because their regular kick is terrible). It's either fins or paddles or a pullbouy or all of the above ...

qbrain
September 15th, 2009, 01:20 PM
Agree with most of above BUT about 90% of the swimmers on our team simply use the fins to keep up with the people in their lane, swim in a lane they do not belong any more or to avoid regular kicking (because their regular kick is terrible). It's either fins or paddles or a pullbouy or all of the above ...

I love fins and a pull buoy.

Lump
September 15th, 2009, 03:28 PM
I love fins and a pull buoy.

Thats a funny joke! :D

bamueller
September 15th, 2009, 03:57 PM
So what's the rationale?

Here's mine.

1. We always used them when I was a younger swimmer, I know this doesn't make it right, but I feel like our year-round program knew what it was doing.

2. Strength training. I can get more yardage done in less time, working my legs harder. For example, 15 100s, alternating free and fly, on the 1:20. I feel like this is better cardio for me as well.

3. I get a better feel for how to properly kick when using fins. To explain this, picture riding a bicycle with shoes clipped into the pedals. With this approach, you get a full revolution of cycling, meaning, your leg pushes down on the pedal while your other pulls up on it. With fins on, I feel like I can feel how my feet push down on the water, as well as pull up on the water. I then think about that when I swim. This could be totally bogus, but I have convinced myself of it.

4. Speed training. Swim sprint sets with fins and notice how your body should be positioned to take advantage of streamlining. You can feel it. The more you kick, the faster you are. I think about this when I swim as well.

Just my $0.02.

Dolphin 2
September 15th, 2009, 03:59 PM
Since FINA has opened the door to mechanically assisted swimming by approving the use of tech suits, I've always wondered why they don't go to the logical extreme and approve the use of fins in competition also? :confused:

Dolphin 2

aquageek
September 15th, 2009, 04:26 PM
I'm torn on this topic. On kick sets regular kicking works me harder. But, the point of fin sets is not the same as regular kick set and the focus should be different. I will say that a long swim set of longer distances wearing fins will slap wear me out much moreso than the same distance of regular swimming.

I don't think fin sets should replace kick sets but each type of kicking has a place in a good workout.

D2 - give it a rest on the suit and fin aided thing, that's been brought up a billion times, no one is interested in it anymore. This is a legit training discussion. If you have a training matter to add, add it.

Allen Stark
September 15th, 2009, 08:17 PM
Since FINA has opened the door to mechanically assisted swimming by approving the use of tech suits, I've always wondered why they don't go to the logical extreme and approve the use of fins in competition also? :confused:

Dolphin 2

In Europe they have monofin races.

Sharpsburger
September 16th, 2009, 12:35 AM
I'm going to see if anybody has the flexfins around here.

DJ Sports offered to exchange me a pair for the Swim Stuff fins, but I've already spent 12 bucks on shipping by ordering and returning the fins that the local masters coach recommended, which amounts to paying $12 just to try on a pair. I'm not inclined to do that again.

If anyone else out there has "duck feet" (narrow heel, wide toe) and can recommend a brand and model, please do.

Also, for folks who use fins, how do you use them in training, specifically?

Like I said, we literally never used them, so this is all new to me.

Sharpsburger
September 16th, 2009, 12:38 AM
Here's an excerpt from Salo's book on the importance of kicking and kicking with fins

Interesting. I might have to get that book. I'd have to adapt it to my purposes, of course, but it looks like it could be very useful in coordinating my strength training with swimming.

My goal is to see if I can get competitive again. It may never happen, but it's something to shoot for, and I do better when I have goals -- preferably extremely difficult ones.

The Fortress
September 16th, 2009, 09:25 AM
Interesting. I might have to get that book. I'd have to adapt it to my purposes, of course, but it looks like it could be very useful in coordinating my strength training with swimming.

My goal is to see if I can get competitive again. It may never happen, but it's something to shoot for, and I do better when I have goals -- preferably extremely difficult ones.

I just purchased the book myself. It appears to have loads of excellent advice for workouts, drylands, stretching and RC work as well. (BTW, I took 24 years off myself -- old dogs can learn new tricks!)

I use fins the following ways:

-- lactate kicking sets (example: 5 x 100 @ 4:00)
-- some endurance/tempo/fartlek kicking (I like doing Chris Stevenson's kick mountain with my monofin.)
-- underwater dolphin kicking (especially 25s or 50s, which I call "shooters," though I do this without fins as well)
-- speed work (fast 25s, 50s)
-- cardio sets -- I use fins to save my shoulders on long cardio sets. However, as noted above, I bust my ass on these sets and don't just cruise along. The cardio/strengthening effect is magnified. As Geek notes, you should be blasted after this.
-- fly -- I swim fly w/fins to save my shoulders. Fly is a leg driven stroke, and fins help builds leg strength. It doesn't seem to make a huge difference when I get in and race without fins either.
-- dolphin kicking with my monofin.

I rarely do any easy aerobic or social or recovery kicking with or without fins.

I use long blade fins and dislike zoomers. I don't have any recs on fins for wide toes ... Go to a specialty swim store and try some on. If you want ideas for specific sets with fins, you can glance through my blog.

Good luck!