To pull or not to pull… that is the question?

A must-have piece of equipment in the pool is a large peanut shaped foamy-thing called a pull buoy. This piece of equipment is used to improve power by isolating the legs so the swimmer can concentrate more on strength in the upper body. It will also help to balance out hip rotation and give the swimmer a stronger core minus the legs. That’s right…no kicking with a pull buoy! Don’t worry you won’t drown you just need to use your arms more efficiently which helps you to get stronger and a better feel for the water. Not to mention it has a tendency to highlight all those gym sessions you missed….oops!


The pull buoy is placed between your thighs to keep your hips and legs raised to the surface of the water. A bit like a wetsuit does except only on the lower half of your body. Using this wonderful piece of kit means you don’t kick, and for all of those swimmers out there who don’t like kicking, I include me in that, it is heaven! However, if you do find yourself kicking when your pull buoy is in, try tying your legs together at the ankles with a piece of cord or old inner tubes, no I’m not kidding! Then you can start seeing what a true weakling you really are!

Sounds a bit masochistic doesn’t it, but by taking out your legs, which consume a lot of oxygen, the swimmer can work even harder when training and a tough hypoxic set for example, can be more easily accomplished.


As triathletes we can also use our hand paddles in conjunction with the pull buoy, my other must-have item in the pool! Combining the two will work on upper body strength, technique as well as replicating your position and body rotation in a wetsuit. So many pros this little peanut has!

I love my pull buoy and that’s just what it is, even the tying up bit is kind of fun! But having such an array of swim toys to choose from just makes swimming, for me at least, much more interesting and fun. As I have said before, using them correctly and not relying on them is part of the equation that ultimately will help you to become a more efficient and stronger swimmer.


Twitter @Marsha_RGA

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