How to Use a Pull Buoy to Swim Faster and Stronger How to Use a Pull Buoy to Swim Faster and Stronger

How to Use a Pull Buoy to Swim Faster and Stronger

There’s a lot going on when you’re learning to swim. And it doesn’t get any simpler when you’re pushing your training – perfecting your form and mastering your technique to be the best swimmer you can be.

No matter where you are on your swimming journey, you need a body and a mind that’s focused and together – to co-ordinate your breathing, your posture, and every part of your body that’s in motion.

So to make things simple, most swimmers like to break things up – using a pull buoy and a kickboard to isolate their movements, to give their full focus and attention to one single thing.

Here’s everything you need to know about swimming with a pull buoy:

How does a swimming pull buoy work?

A pull buoy works by supporting your legs and lower body in the water – keeping you straight and streamlined while you focus on your arm technique.

When you’re swimming normally using your full body, the kicking motion of your legs usually keeps your lower body afloat. Between your arms and your legs working in tandem, you can keep an efficient and streamlined form across your entire body.

With a pull buoy, you’re able to compensate for the lack of leg motion – using its buoyancy to keep your lower half sitting high up in the water, and in line with your upper body.

If you tried to swim using only your arms (without a pull buoy) your lower body and legs would sink in the water, creating extra drag that would slow you down – and encourage the wrong kind of posture and form.

So in other words:

Pull buoys are used to replace the effect of kicking as you swim – helping you to keep the same form and position, but without using your legs at all.

What does a pull buoy do for your swimming?

Pull buoys are great for learners and younger swimmers. With a swim float between your legs, you can ignore what your lower half is doing, and devote your full attention to learning a new arm technique.

But they’re not just for beginners.

Pull buoys are an essential everyday training aid for swimmers of all ages and levels. With a pull buoy swim float isolating your upper body, you’ll be able to:

  • Build strength in your arms faster – using your arms to propel your full body weight, without the help of your legs
  • Master your stroke techniques – by placing your full attention on your arms, you can work on the precise movements and positions you need for the perfect arm stroke
  • Improve yourstability and breathing techniques – with a higher focus on how you turn and breathe, as well as becoming more aware of how the forces of your arms affect the rotation of your core and legs
  • Swim further, and train for longer – when your legs get tired or they need a break, you can switch to a pull buoy and keep training your arm technique.

How to use a pull buoy for learning and training

The basics of using a pull buoy seem straightforward – just place it between your legs and don’t kick!

But in practice, there are a few details to think about to help you get the most out of it. Here’s what you need to know when you’re using a pull buoy:

Place the pull buoy between your upper thighs

We see a lot of new swimmers and learners making the same mistake – and that’s placing the pull buoy too low down.

If you place you pull buoy close to your knees, you’re encouraging your legs to bend. And when your legs are bent, you’re not straight and streamlined, and you’re creating extra drag in the water.

On top of that, most of the weight in our lower bodies will be centred closer to the hips, not the knees! With a pull buoy at your knees, your body will naturally dip at the hips and bend your back into a U-shape – which isn’t streamlined, and isn’t comfortable.

So when you’re using a pull buoy, keep it as high up between your legs as possible (tucked up against the groin) – to make sure you’re getting the full effect of the buoyant force in the place where your body needs the support.

Trust the pull buoy and relax your legs

If you’re still getting used to your pull buoy – or you’re still getting used to swimming in general – it can feel unnatural to completely let go of your legs.

But you’re using a pull buoy for a reason. And that’s to isolate your upper body, and take your legs out of the equation.

So once you’ve got that pull buoy securely in place, resist the urge to start kicking as you swim. Keep the pull buoy in place between your thighs, and let your lower legs relax and get carried along – so you can give your full focus to your arms and your breathing technique.

Flip the pull buoy to find the right buoyancy

Some pull buoys are made with a symmetrical shape, which means it doesn’t matter which way round you use them.

But some pull buoys – like our own SOUL CAP Pull Buoy – are specially designed with one side bigger than the other.

It’s not just a cosmetic feature. It’s designed to give you greater control over how you float in the water, to suit different body types and people of different sizes.

If you feel like you’re floating a little low in the water, you can flip the pull buoy around so the wider end is underneath you – creating more of the upwards buoyant force that helps to lift you higher in the water.

And if you feel like you’re floating a little too high up, you can use it the other way: with the thinner side of the pull buoy below you, to reduce the amount of upwards force.

Ready to perfect your arm technique?

Whether you’re a learner or a pro, swimming can be complicated. But with the right tools and training aids to help you on your journey, you can get the focused training and targeted strength you need to succeed.

So if you’re looking to improve your upper body technique and keep training for longer (or get a helping hand as you take your first steps in the pool), check out our new SOUL CAP Pull Buoy in our online shop – or take a look at our SOUL CAP Kickboard to help you train your lower body.

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