Swim Bands – Why do coaches incorporate them into your workouts? Do they love to see your ankles bleed? The leg hair ripped out, the scars, and the mental torture?
Short answer is no, we aren’t into torture (or we won’t readily admit it), but we are into helping our athletes become stronger and faster swimmers.
How do swim bands help our swimmers?
One of the first things to notice is that the bands will quickly show the athlete how their kick is destabilizing their trunk, or somewhere above the hips they are causing their legs to move in directions that are not conducive to swimming in a linear fashion with minimal deviation. The athlete needs to be aware of where their head is turning while breathing, the timing of their stroke, and whether or not their kick is being used as a stabilizing reaction versus a propulsion force.
Bands will also help the athlete build strength, and with bands taking the legs out of the equation it helps to increase stroke turnover. Band swimming is similar to a runner running up a hill. Where the body position improves (chest and head will automatically balance the swimmer to get the legs up), and the more strokes you take to keep legs up and your body moving forward increases strength. The increased stroke rate helps the swimmer to become more aggressive in their races as well.