“I love my pull buoy”
I’ve heard this many times before. Sometimes as an admission of guilt, othertimes a proud statement of fact. It doesn’t matter if you feel it’s a guilty pleasure or if you would never deny your undying love for a toy that can make swimming so easy and enjoyable…pull buoys can be an very useful tool in your workouts. Here’s why:
1. A pull buoy can teach correct posture
One of the very first things we teach in our freestyle clinics and online videos is the importance of correct posture. For the body to be balanced and controlled it needs to be firm. A strong connection from the head to feet by having a ‘tall and proud’ posture. Drawing your shoulders down and back, your belly button towards your spine and activating your glutes is the foundation of correct posture. Gerry Rodrigues of Tower26 calls this ‘body taughtness’. A pull buoy with a narrow bridge between each buoy (like an Eney Buoy2) can help you ‘switch on’ your glutes and draw your belly button to your spine.
2. A pull buoy can correct alignment
The goal in swimming is to move forward at the fastest speed for the least possible effort. Poor alignment in freestyle leads to wasted energy that isn’t moving you forward. When using a pull buoy you can focus on what your doing at the front of your stroke:
– Your entry and extension
– The catch phase
– The line of your pull
This allows you to concentrate on having the correct entry point of each hand (aligned with the ear) and extension under the water (directly forward). The can eliminate the root cause of many freestyle stroke errors rather than simply treating the symptom.
3. A pull buoy can build strength
For many triathletes and master’s swimmers time is a very limited resource. You’re only given a few hours a week to swim so what you do in those sessions is important. Swim fitness and strength will mostly come from being the pool. There’s only so much you can do out of the water. For triathletes, using pull buoy and paddles within most of your workouts can develop your swim strength much quicker than any other type of swimming. It takes your legs out of it so you’re mostly using your upper body for propulsion.
Next time somebody asks you about using a pull buoy, proudly tell them you love your pull buoy!
Our favourite pull buoy is the Eney Buoy2. It provides the most flotation among any other buoys we’ve tried and it has a narrow bridge between each buoy that makes it easy to keep between your legs (and positions your legs more naturally than most pull buoys). The Eney Buoy 2 is available here.