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View Full Version : Pull buoys and kick boards-I just hate them SO much!



Willow
August 11th, 2007, 01:44 PM
Am I all alone in this?

I am a newer swimmer, aspiring to join our local masters group, however, I loathe pull buoys and kick boards! I love doing kick drills with no board, it feels purer and more ergonomic. Kick drills with a board torque my neck up and shoulders out of line and make me feel like a slow barge to nowhere. As for pull buoys, I just don't get the benefit. They throw me way off balance and are so distracting that I can't really focus on just my arms. Wouldn't using fins for the arm-focused drills be equally beneficial?

I ask because these crutches I mean tools seem to be an intrinsic part of the masters workout, and I'm worried that if I eschew them, I will throw off the timing of my lanemates, or somehow not fit in to the group flow.

Am I a budding purist or an inflexible whiner? Should I just get over it and use the board and buoy? Or is it acceptable to adapt the workout without these items?

Willow

gufyduck
August 11th, 2007, 02:16 PM
I'm not in a masters program, but i often do stroke clinics with the local age group coach. In those, i never use a kick board (hurts my shoulders) and the coach has NEVER had a problem with me just kicking without one. I asked the first few times, but now I just start without one, and he has never said anything to me.

Unfortunately, I can't help you with the pull bouy part.

Have you tried talking to the coach of the group to see what he says about pull bouys and kick boards?

aquageek
August 11th, 2007, 02:17 PM
You are a master's swimmer, you can do or not do whatever you want. Just don't disrupt your lane mates who might be following coach's directions.

geochuck
August 11th, 2007, 02:52 PM
I quit using devices of any type 60 years ago. Go natural...

The Fortress
August 11th, 2007, 03:42 PM
I'm not a purist, but I hate pull buoys and kickboards too. They hurt my shoulders, and I feel like I'm going backward with pull buoys. When my lanemates use paddles and pullbuoys, I use fins. Just make sure you're in the right place in your lane. I'm sure no one will mind if you don't use these devices. And if they do, too bad. You are a masters swimmer, after all, do what works best for you, not others.

islandsox
August 11th, 2007, 08:27 PM
I've always liked pull buoys but not a fond friend of kick boards; hurts my neck/shoulders/etc due to body position. Plus, kicking without a board places a swimmer lower in the water thus having to work a bit harder. I suppose it is preference.

blainesapprentice
August 11th, 2007, 10:59 PM
I don't use a kick board most of the time--in really long kick sets when I feel like being social I'll mix it up 100 with board 100with out, but thats rare even so since they also hurt my neck and shoulders.

As for pull buoys, I rarely use them for swimming (but i do use them for sculling drills). When my teammates are pulling with the buoys, I put on zoomers and my snorkel and concentrate on my body roll and hand placement. I do use paddles along with the fins and snorkel occasionally to get a better feel of the water and my placements correctness.

ThomasK
August 12th, 2007, 05:44 AM
I agree about the kick boards. The pull buoys though work for me. Glad to see that others don't like the boards too for the same reasons, and I just don't see the benefit either.
My coach and others like the boards as for them kicking is easier (?).
- Thomas

elliec
August 12th, 2007, 09:10 AM
I've found that I can use kickboard if I turn my head to the side. My shoulders aren't as flexible as they once were and if I look straight ahead I can't breathe very well. Newer pull buoys are much easier to use and don't cause all of the chafing like the ones I grew up with. However, I would have to say that I do not care for breaststroke with a pull buoy.

smontanaro
August 12th, 2007, 01:43 PM
I also gave up using a kickboard a year or so ago. I find the flexibility issue is one factor. Another is that without a kickboard I can kick a number of different ways (back, side, front, etc). Also, my body position in the water is more like the position while swimming (except for dolphin kick on my back of course). As for keeping up I'm such a sh**ty kicker that I frequently use zoomers.

I do like using a pull buoy. I think I plane better. I also use it to try and focus on my arm position and to roll better when doing free. It's a bit of a challenge doing back and very tough doing breast, but still provides a good alternative to straight swimming at times.

Skip Montanaro

JennyS
August 13th, 2007, 01:09 PM
Am I all alone in this?

I am a newer swimmer, aspiring to join our local masters group, however, I loathe pull buoys and kick boards! I love doing kick drills with no board, it feels purer and more ergonomic. Kick drills with a board torque my neck up and shoulders out of line and make me feel like a slow barge to nowhere. As for pull buoys, I just don't get the benefit. They throw me way off balance and are so distracting that I can't really focus on just my arms. Wouldn't using fins for the arm-focused drills be equally beneficial?

I ask because these crutches I mean tools seem to be an intrinsic part of the masters workout, and I'm worried that if I eschew them, I will throw off the timing of my lanemates, or somehow not fit in to the group flow.

Am I a budding purist or an inflexible whiner? Should I just get over it and use the board and buoy? Or is it acceptable to adapt the workout without these items?

Willow

Kicking without a board is much better for your swimming. Not only do you avoid shoulder and neck pain, you are able to work on your body position- streamlining, hip rotation, etc.- when you kick without one. Using a kickboard does not help your swimming (other than working your legs), however it gives you the benefit of being able to socialize a little while you swim!
As far as pull buoys go, they are a much more useful tool for working on your stroke. They force you to work on balance as you rotate in freestyle and backstroke, and they also help you focus on what your arms are doing. As uncomfortable as they might seem, pull buoys are a good tool for working on body position.
But if you don't want to use these tools, don't. I really don't think people will mind, especially if you are conscientious about where you should go in the lineup.

Allen Stark
August 14th, 2007, 11:40 AM
Pull Buoys are OK occasionally to help isolate the pull and focus on body position. They are also good as a drill in helping keep your knees from getting too wide in breaststroke.Otherwise their primary purpose seems to be for the coach to give the illusion of variety to a workout.
Kickboards do put one in an unnatural position and I avoid them for workouts.Their main advantage seems to be that you can talk while using them. What a kickboard is really great for,is that it makes it much easier to catch little waves when bodysurfing.

david.margrave
August 16th, 2007, 12:17 AM
I agree on the kick boards, they hurt my shoulders now (they didn't when I was younger).

I vaguely recall that kickboards were a lot bigger 20+ years ago, and I don't think it's just that I was smaller and thinner then. They'd keep my whole upper body out of the water practically, and we'd swim tandem in the lanes chatting rather than working. The kickboards I've tried now barely keep my head out of the water and I just prefer going without them.

Pull buoys I do like though.

MAC swimmer
August 16th, 2007, 07:52 AM
I love pull buoys. I can relax and, or course, I get less winded. I can;t stand kicking on my back. My kick is so weak that I feel like I am dragging a manhole cover along the bottom of the pool. At least with the kickboard, I have the illusion that I am going faster.

Using the kickboard hurts my neck.

bud
August 16th, 2007, 10:50 AM
i shun the regular use of swimming aids. in certain situations, especially in learning, i think swim aids are useful. but in the final analysis i'm in the same camp as geochuck on this one, leave them alone. then again i don't swim with a group, so i can see how that would be awkward (which is one of the primary reasons i don't swim w/ a group). :-o

personally i've almost never used swim aids/tools (like pull buoys and kick boards). like some other folks here i feel they disrupt the flow and balance of my stroke. but i think the best thing to do is what feels good for you.

in a related thought: there have been a number of threads on shoulder problems here, and i wonder how many of these folks use paddles, which i would think would way over torque the shoulders and lead to injury. hummmmmmm....

i've had very little coaching and instruction in my many years of swimming. i was doing front quadrant swimming before i knew it existed as a specific term/technique (it just seemed like the natural thing to do). i've done a lot of personal study, especially in recent years with all the info on the web (including this forum), but mostly i've just tried to get a feel for the water. i must be doing something right because a 3 time olympic gold swimmer who has made a career out of swimming/coaching recently complimented my front crawl.

don't forget to have fun with your swimming.

swimr4life
August 16th, 2007, 11:01 AM
in a related thought: there have been a number of threads on shoulder problems here, and i wonder how many of these folks use paddles, which i would think would way over torque the shoulders and lead to injury. hummmmmmm....


I don't beleive in paddles either! I have bad shoulders and have not used paddles for about 20 years. They are hell on your shoulders and I don't think they contribute anything to perfecting your stroke. I rarley even use a pull buoy. I've noticed that the swimmers that excell in practice on pulling sets are not necessarily the faster swimmers. The faster swimmers are usually the ones that have a strong kick.

knelson
August 16th, 2007, 11:19 AM
in a related thought: there have been a number of threads on shoulder problems here, and i wonder how many of these folks use paddles, which i would think would way over torque the shoulders and lead to injury.

I use BIG paddles quite a bit and haven't had shoulder problems. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I really don't think paddles contribute to shoulder injuries. Another guy I swim with uses paddles constantly in practice--we're talking way more than 50% of out total yardage--and to my knowledge he's never had shoulder problems, either. He uses the largest size (green) Strokemaker paddles.

In general I've found men prefer paddles to women.

imspoiled
August 16th, 2007, 11:31 AM
In general I've found men prefer paddles to women.

Kirk-
I'm assuming that you're generally referring to men preferring paddles for swimming more than women prefer paddles? The alternative (men preferring paddles to women) would be a discussion for another forum. :censor:

matysekj
August 16th, 2007, 11:35 AM
In general I've found men prefer paddles to women.

Speak for yourself, Kirk. I prefer women.:banana:

The Fortress
August 16th, 2007, 11:57 AM
I use BIG paddles quite a bit and haven't had shoulder problems.

In general I've found men prefer paddles to women.

You get on with your own bad self.

More women have shoulder problems than men. If you do have shoulder problems, you definitely shouldn't use paddles.

Willow
August 16th, 2007, 12:26 PM
My swim teacher again tried to get me to use a pull buoy last night, and I gave it a whirl, trying to be open to it. Immediately after my lesson, my shoulders were ACHING and still ache today. The tendon that runs down the center of the medial deltoid keeps twanging in my left arm. Yuck.

I've noticed that among the teachers I have worked with as a swim student, many if not most have a strong attachment to/dependance on the board and buoy. I say I don't want to use those tools and prefer to do drills without or with fins, and they seem unconvinced that I know what I'm talking about, and try to coax me to "get used to it". I'm frustrated. I'm a big girl, but I feel like I'm taking on an institution here, like there are more people than not that can't imagine life without the kick board and the pull buoy.

On a happy note, though, I did my first real flip turn last night!

ALM
August 16th, 2007, 12:39 PM
If you know that something hurts your shoulder, DO NOT do it. Be firm about it. Better to skip the pull buoys than to be injured and not be able to swim at all.

Anna Lea

gufyduck
August 16th, 2007, 01:11 PM
Congrats on your first flip turn!

If your shoulders are sore after you work out, tell your instructor. Shoulder problems is a HUGE reason to not use a pull buoy or paddles. If they try to make you, find somewhere else to swim. Using a pull buoy for 10 minutes is not worth the rehab time you will spend later.

The Fortress
August 16th, 2007, 01:55 PM
My swim teacher again tried to get me to use a pull buoy last night, and I gave it a whirl, trying to be open to it. Immediately after my lesson, my shoulders were ACHING and still ache today. The tendon that runs down the center of the medial deltoid keeps twanging in my left arm. Yuck.

I've noticed that among the teachers I have worked with as a swim student, many if not most have a strong attachment to/dependance on the board and buoy. I say I don't want to use those tools and prefer to do drills without or with fins, and they seem unconvinced that I know what I'm talking about, and try to coax me to "get used to it". I'm frustrated. I'm a big girl, but I feel like I'm taking on an institution here, like there are more people than not that can't imagine life without the kick board and the pull buoy.

On a happy note, though, I did my first real flip turn last night!

Chances are if they're pushing pull buoys and paddles, they don't have shoulder problems. Make sure you tell them about yours! Fins are a decent substitute for pull buoys on certain drills and sculling. I also use fins on long sets because of cranky shoulders. When I first joined a masters team, I got a lot of sh*t for it. It bothered me somehat at first. But now, if jibbed, I just rag on the offenders when they have to resort to pull buoys when they're tired. :thhbbb: People who do not have shoulder problems should count themselves lucky and be more tolerant. We're not all cookie cutter swimmers, and we can't -- and shouldn't -- train the same. :2cents: If the devices hurt, don't use them!

knelson
August 16th, 2007, 02:10 PM
You get on with your own bad self.

More women have shoulder problems than men. If you do have shoulder problems, you definitely shouldn't use paddles.

Probably true. And I don't want to come across as if I think I'm some kind of ironman who's immune to injury. I just haven't seen any evidence that paddles actually cause injury. Sure, if you have bad shoulders and find that paddles hurt, don't use them.

The Fortress
August 16th, 2007, 02:14 PM
I just haven't seen any evidence that paddles actually cause injury. Sure, if you have bad shoulders and find that paddles hurt, don't use them.

I have teammates who frequently use paddles and pull buoys. No evidence of shoulder strain whatsoever. Either bionic boy shoulders or they're just lucky so far. Probably quite good for building upper body strength if you can use them!

inklaire
August 16th, 2007, 08:06 PM
It seems to me that it's a mistake to use paddles the way so many young and inexperienced instructors want to use them: as a way to improve technique because they can't think up a better way to teach what a pull should feel like.

Less than great technique + added resistance looks like an excellent formula for injury.

On the other hand, if technique is fine, then I don't see a problem with paddles unless there's some underlying problem that only really shows up when extra resistance is added to the stroke.

I NEVER use paddles for both reasons. I never use fins either because they hurt my right knee. I hate kickboards with a passion that is difficult to verbalize. And pullbuoys just seem kinda pointless.

I do wish there were coaches out there that weren't dependent on these items, but alas, actually swimming a full stroke sans any kind of extra equipment seems to be really unpopular.