Swimming flippers aren't just for SCUBA divers. They can be used in any swimming workout and add challenge to your time in the water. Wearing flippers or fins adds resistance to your legs since they cause more water to be displaced each time you kick, says the Journal of Experimental Biology. This creates more of workout for your legs and helps to burn more calories than if you swam without flippers.
Acclimating to Fins
Swimming flippers take some time to get used to. They can put a lot of strain on your ankles at first, so it's wise to take it slow. Wear them for short periods of time in the water, swimming just a few laps at a time to get acclimated. It's normal to experience soreness for the first few weeks.
Interval workouts are an excellent way to use swimming flippers. If you normally swim already, adding flippers will substantially increase the difficulty. Interval training involves swimming for a set distance within a given amount of time then repeating that distance several times. So, if you wish to swim 100 meter bursts, give yourself two minutes to complete the task. Once you swim those 100 meters, rest, wait until the two minutes are up, then swim another 100m. Wearing flippers will add to the challenge of interval training and increase your aerobic endurance with time, says the Southern Pacific Masters Association.
Shorter distance swims are best when first starting out with flippers. It's important to condition your muscles before attempting anything longer than 500 meters, says Military.com, since swimming with flippers works out your ankles, feet, and calves in ways they haven't been worked out before. Swim without the flippers for some intervals as well to give your muscles a break.
Swimming sprints will tone up your body quickly and help you to get used to the flippers. A good distance for a sprint is 50 meters, says Military.com. Try performing a sprint, resting for a minute, then repeating. Since the focus is on speed, you're demanding more of your muscles and will help to keep your workout challenging and effective.
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.