Used Properly, Fins Can Be a Boost to Swim Strength, Technique

In general, fins have long suffered the stigma of being misunderstood as cheating tools, allowing swimmers to swim faster while requiring them to exert less energy. However, when used sparingly and correctly, fins actually serve to strengthen a swimmer's legs, improve cardiovascular endurance, and teach proper stroke technique.

What follows is a sample workout utilizing both Zoomer brand fins as well as the Hydro Training Finz, along with an explanation of the sets and what a user's goal should be with each group of repeats.

To briefly recap, the difference between Zoomers and Hydro Finz explained in the review is that Zoomers are best used for speed work and sprinting during short, explosive sets (most often during the crucial pre-race weeks known as a training taper). Using Zoomers allows modest swimmers to experience that hard-to-achieve high-in-the-water feeling that comes with world-class technique and talent.

Hydro Finz were determined (by this reviewer, anyway) to come in handy during long endurance-oriented sets, and to be used mid-season as a leg-strengthening device.

Below is a sample workout that incorporates both types of fins into several sets. As such, it's very much a leg workout, although it retains its effectiveness as an overall swim workout—demanding in a cardiovascular way while not neglecting the upper body.

Warm-up

  • 400 freestyle
  • 200 kick with Hydro Finz (alternate 50 on back, 50 on stomach)

Mini-set

  • 8x50 @ 10 sec. rest
    (second half of each repeat at 95 percent effort, getting heart rate up)

Endurance Set

  • 500 freestyle with Hydro Finz (kick steadily throughout the distance)
  • 300 backstroke with Hydro Finz (quads should be getting a good workout by this point)

Main Set

  • 400 freestyle @ 30 seconds rest, 80 percent effort
    (then put on Hydro Finz)
  • 300 freestyle with Hydro Finz @ 20 sec. rest, 90 percent effort
    (take off fins)
  • 200 freestyle easy recovery
    (now put on Zoomers)
  • 100 freestyle with Zoomers, 95 percent effort
    (take off fins)
  • 100 easy recovery
  • 100 sprint @ 100 percent effort (try to beat time from previous 95 percent-effort-100-with-Zoomers)

Recovery

  • 500 kick with Hydro Finz
  • 200 easy swim

Sprint Set

  • 6x50 sprint with Zoomers @ 1:00 rest

Cool Down

  • 200

Total: 4,200 yards/meters

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