How To Swim With A Pull Buoy | Improve Your Freestyle Swimming


(jazz music) – Okay, the pull buoy, believe it or not, the pull buoy is not meant
to be a lifesaving device for those sink-your-legs
swimmers out there, which is shocking, I know. – Now, we’re not saying
that you can’t use it if you really do need
to stay afloat with it, but there is another use for the pull buoy that is intended to help
and improve your swimming. – Yeah, they really are very useful. And actually, we do pull work all the time to try and isolate the arms and really focus on parts of our strength. So today, we’re going to show
you how to use a pull buoy and the benefits. – Let’s start with a few basics. And the idea of pull work is that, well, quite literally, we’re pulling ourselves through the water using our arms with no leg kick at all. And of course, for most people, if you take the leg kick away, your legs will tend to sink and that’s where the pull buoy comes in. – Most pull buoys are
buoyant to some degree, so what we wanna do is place this between our thighs and that’s gonna help
keep our legs afloat. But also what it’ll do is prevent us from kicking our legs because we have the pull
buoy between our legs. And they do sometimes come in various different shapes and sizes, although working the same way, what you might find is, one end is larger than the other. So what you do in this instance is that you’ll place the largest
part lowest in the water. So if we’re doin’ front
crawl, for instance, we’re on our front, we want that largest
part down at the bottom, so we place that that largest
part around the front, and simple as that, really. – And that stops it from slipping out from between our legs, as well, and just gets our legs
that little bit more lift that we need. So that being said, let’s go ahead and show you how to use it. – Using a pull buoy might
sound simple enough, just don’t kick your legs, right? Well, you would be surprised. He kicks all the time. But obviously, that is not the aim. We want to really keep our legs still and isolate the arms. But you can be excused if you are starting out with pull work. You wanna try and build that strength up, so you can kick a little
bit, flutter your legs. – And there really is no shame if you find it really pretty difficult. And if that is you, then
you can opt for something like a larger pull buoy that all of the stores offer
as one of their options. Or actually, something that my coach used
to give me is the option of a second pull buoy. You’d strap them together
with a band or something and that just gives you
a lot more added buoyancy when you’re swimming. – It can take people
years to get the hang of, can’t they phrase that? – Yeah, still working on that. – But as we’ve mentioned, the idea is to really isolate the arms and if possible, literally
keep your ankles dead together, so they’re locked together,
you’re not moving them at all. But again, like I say, a
tiny bit of movement is okay. – This is effectively
one of the big benefits of swimming with a pull buoy because now, for any given
speed that we’re swimming at, you’re gonna have to work a lot harder, because obviously, we don’t
have our kick to aid us. And that gives a lot of extra arm strength and that’s a real benefit to
swimming with a pull buoy. And another benefit too is also the fact that we’re constantly swimming with our arms with no kick, we can really work on the dead spots that might be present in our stroke. – So if you are relatively
new to pull work, then you may want to start
with fairly short reps. That way you can focus on
the quality of each rep with a short break to recover and reset. A simple example would be something like 12 by 25 metres with a 20-second recovery between each. You can then build from this to something like 8 by 50 metres and then to 4 by 100 metres, for example. (upbeat music) Okay, that’s all great, but what are we really
trying to focus on here with pull work? – Well, first things first
is it really makes us think about emphasising the catch part of our stroke. – And like you mentioned before, doing pull work highlights
those dead spots. And you almost wanna think
of it like a see-saw, if you don’t have that catch at the front, then your legs are gonna drop. But if you have that catch at the front, it helps to bring the feet up. The other thing is, obviously, it’s really emphasising
the pull phase, as well. – And that’s really allowing us to think about the entire mechanics of the stroke from when
our hand enters the water through the catch phase and then also right out
to exiting, as well. – And if you don’t have a strong pull, you’re not gonna move anywhere. And again, it’s really
gonna highlight that and allow you to really work on it. And it’s really important that we actually make this quite obvious, is that pull work isn’t there for those people that are learning, obviously it helps, but it’s actually a
really good training tool. We do it all the time in our training. – I can’t remember the last
time I wasn’t using a pull buoy for a substantial part of a swim session when I’ve been training
and I definitely think that goes for most of elite-level athletes that you’re talking to, really, isn’t it? – And it can be progressed
as we’ve mentioned in some of these session examples before. We can add more volume to it, and also can start adding paddles, and maybe even a band. But we will talk about
band work in another video, another point. – And other benefit of the pull buoy is that it actually does a really good job of mimicking the position that our body has when we’re
wearing a wetsuit in a race. So in that regards, it’s
really useful to practise. – However, do not fall into trap of relying on a pull buoy. I do know a lot of people that reach for a pull buoy at every opportunity. And sure, it does help
to keep your legs afloat, if maybe, you do have sink-y legs. But instead of relying on it, try to think of it more as a tool to try and improve that catch and pull to make you better. – And hopefully, in time, you’ll find that you are not actually relying on that pull buoy quite as much and you’re able to swim well without it. – And if you did like this video today, please hit that thumbs up button. If you’d like to see more from GTN and maybe see that band video that’s to come in the near future, then just click on the globe. – And if you want to see a video about 10 most common swimming mistakes, then you can find that here. – And if you’d like to
see our swim toys video, then just click up here.

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