Variable Weight Swim Paddles

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post titled “Things To Consider When Shopping For New Power Training Gear” in which I described three essential properties of training gear to consider when shopping for new equipment. One of the properties described was Effectiveness, which I defined as: A training device is considered effective if it brings about the intended results while not introducing any drawbacks. Recently I came across a picture of swimming paddles that could serve as an excellent example for evaluating effectiveness:

The goal of the paddles in the picture, according to the description, is to “teach proper hand entry, relaxed recovery, and to build endurance.” At first glance, these paddles look promising and even effective. After all, the attached weight will force the hand to point down promoting proper hand entry, relaxed recovery, and will help build endurance. However, a closer examination of these paddles reveals serious drawbacks.

First, because of their physical property, these particular weights add weight not only when the swimmer’s arm is out of the water (in the air) but when it is in the water as well. Unfortunately, when the swimmer’s arm enters the water, the weights will keep pulling the arm down, preventing the swimmer from establishing proper catch. Without the proper catch, power generated during the pull phase will be reduced, consequently reducing the swimmer’s speed as well.

Second, when weights (or anything else for that matter) pull the swimmer’s arm down in the water, they inevitably hinder the swimmer’s streamlined body position and balance – two crucial ingredients for the reduction of drag. Increased drag leads to reduced speed.

There might be other drawbacks these paddles introduce, but the two described render these paddles ineffective.

If you are looking for a training tool that will teach swimmers proper hand entry, relaxed recovery, and help develop strength and endurance while not introducing any drawbacks, I invite you to consider ZB Weights:

ZB Weights are made of special material that soaks in water to create extra weight. They come in two sizes and can be stacked like pancakes for variable weights. The vital difference between ZB Weights and the weights described above lies in the fact that ZB weights create extra weight only when the swimmer’s arm is out of the water (in the air.) When the swimmer’s arm enters the water, the extra weight created by ZB Weights dissipates, water weighs nothing in the water.

ZB Weights, similar to the paddles described earlier, help swimmers develop proper hand entry, relaxed recovery, strength and endurance. In contrast to the paddles discussed above, because the weight created by ZB Weights disappears in the water, swimmer’s catch, streamline body position and balance stay unhampered. Thus, ZB Weights are effective because they bring about the intended benefits without introducing any drawbacks.

As we have just seen, the best way to make sure you are getting the right training equipment, is not only to consider the benefits that a particular training tool claims to deliver but to also carefully evaluate the potential drawbacks that it might introduce. It is important to stress that each time a training device introduces a drawback that negatively amends the swimmer’s technique, there is a danger for a swimmer to acquire a bad habit. The results of bad habits, especially related to technique, can be pernicious.