Monofin swim fins -- a large fin that takes the place of two smaller ones -- offer swimmers a total-body workout while increasing their kick efficiency. Wearing one, you can work on streamline technique while reliving your childhood mermaid fantasies. Use these fiberglass fins to tone your glutes, quads and abs as you swim through the pool.
The first step to mastering the art of competitive swimming is being able to propel yourself through the water. After all, that's why you focus on the pushoffs and dives, as well as stroke technique. Streamline dolphin kicks on your back, according to swimming master Cokie Lepinski and co-author Laurie Elizabeth Murphy, to help you achieve a fluid downward kicking motion. When you're able to successfully kick with enough force, you're able to evenly propel yourself through the water. In their book, "There's a Drill for That!," the women offer techniques for novice to master swimmers. If you're a novice, start the dolphin kick on the water's surface, moving down under the water as you advance. Stay on your back moving in fluid, dolphin-like movements.
Pablo Morales, Olympic gold medalist and competitive swimmer, notes monofins are valuable swim tools. Designed to improve your speed, trim down your lane time and develop your core, monofins are ideal in a swimmer's arsenal. However, Morales recommends a specific form when using monofins. He notes that you should thrust your hips up and forward. Push through with your legs, your feet down and your knees bent slightly. Raise your arms, clasping your hands as you round your neck and shoulders. Tuck your head into your arms, streamlining your body so it better glides through the water.
Once you've mastered propelling yourself through the water, tackle form kicks. Kicks will further work your glutes and leg muscles -- mainly your hamstrings and quads -- as well as you abs. Swim coach Dick Hannula suggests several kicks in his book "Coaching Swimming Successfully." Among his suggestions are the one-leg flutter kicks, the dolphin kick with arms at the side, rockets, vertical kicking and torpedo underwater kicks. For torpedo underwater kicks, you'll need to be completely submerged. Use the fin to make quick, burst-like kicks. Do these in deep water in a pool with sufficient distance. According to Hannula, smaller monofins work best for torpedo kicks.
As Morales notes, unlike generic swim fins, monofins require bodily control and skill to master. On the surface, these fins appear like larger versions of single swim fins, but they are not. When you begin training with monofins, start first by learning how to move in them, and then progress to training. Look for a monofin made from a durable, flexible and safe material -- such as fiberglass -- that fits your feet. Become accustomed to the snug, bound feeling the monofin places your lower body in, both in and out of the water, before engaging in a serious training session.