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Maximizing Your Iron Distance Swim Training with Fins

As you gear up for the challenging swim portion of your 70.3 or 140.6, let's delve into the incredible benefits of incorporating fins into your swim workouts. These aquatic tools offer more than just a burst of speed, and they can be an asset for your swim preparation. Here's the lowdown on why fins can be a game changer in your swim training:

🔹 Lower Body Strengthening: Fins are not just about acceleration; they are excellent for engaging and strengthening crucial muscle groups. By providing resistance against the water, they intensify the workload on your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, fostering improved lower body power.

🔹 Enhanced Core Stability: Swimming with fins challenges your core muscles by encouraging proper alignment and balance in the water. This engagement helps you maintain a streamlined posture, minimizing drag, and promoting more efficient strokes.

🔹 Refined Stroke Technique: Fins amplify the force of your kicks, which can aid in refining your stroke technique. Swimming with fins adds speed to the stroke and teaches the body how to swim faster on top of the water. You’ll be able to hold a higher body line with the added propulsion of fins. The added propulsion allows you to focus on improving your arm movement, breathing rhythm, and body roll while experiencing less fatigue.

🔹 Foot and Ankle Mobility: To achieve an effective kick you have to keep the amplitude small. Your feet should remain within a 12-inch range throughout the entire kick cycle. To attain this, it's important to maintain straight legs and have good ankle flexibility. By incorporating fins into your kick training, you can experience a significant boost in your ankles' adjustment towards a more efficient flutter and dolphin kick. The resistance offered by fins improves kick mechanics while simultaneously fostering better ankle flexibility.

🔹Improved Kick. I don’t know about you but I struggle with kicking in the water, especially with the kick board. Sometimes it feels as though I am not making much forward progress. Kicking should be done at the hips mostly, with an upkick and a downkick. The up-kick engages your hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles, and fins can definitely help you build some strength here. Foot and ankle mobility, as stated above, will always improve your kick as well.

🔹 Boosted Endurance and Cardiovascular Training: Incorporating fins into your sessions replicates the heightened cardiovascular demand of the Iron Distance swim. By enduring the augmented resistance, your cardiovascular system adapts to the challenge, enhancing your overall endurance in the water.

🔹Fins Save Time. If you’re in a time crunch and you only have 30 or 45 min to swim, fins can help you swim faster and gain more yardage in a shorter period of time. I don’t recommend this for every single swim, but sometimes situations come up and you are in a time crunch.

As you embark on your Iron Distance training, consider strategically integrating fins into your swim training. Embrace their multifaceted advantages to optimize your strength, technique, and overall swim performance. 🏊‍♂️

Have you thought about hiring an experienced coach for your next iron distance event? Click the purple button below and fill out your information for a free 15 min chat with me about your race goals!

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Trainer


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