Hand paddles are commonly used in swimming pools around the world.
In fact, you hardly ever see a pool deck or the infamous Lost and Found basket (yes, they do exist) without a pair of them laying around.
They are either loved or hated.
The main rudimentary idea behind the original hand paddles was to increase the surface of your hand to pull more water, however, apart from the 100s of different paddle types, there are many other ways to utilize this piece of swim equipment.
So without further ado, here is a list of top 8+1 ways you can use hand paddles
Note: I will not focus on the different types of paddles, just different ways to use the regular hand paddle:
1) Strappless paddles
Even though paddles are used on your hands to make you stronger, they serve an additional purpose.
By taking the wrist straps off or using the strapless paddles (ex: Agility paddles from Finis) you basically are more inclined to lose them from your hands if your underwater stroke has some unexpected deviations form the straight pull.
The paddle only attaches to the tops of your middle finger(s) forcing you to think about what your hands do.
Just hold onto one paddle with your outstretched arms and voila.
Many swimmers press down on the kickboard when they kick which is not good. You need to be gentle and relax in your shoulders, so the water can carry you.
The kickboard is there just to guide you, so using hand paddles instead of it, is a great practice to steady those front arms.
Keep your face in the water and when you breathe, keep the paddle without going down.
3) Lopsided swim
This one is a lot of fun. For this, you don’t need to put your paddles on different appendages, but you will only use one paddle on the hand of your choosing.
By using a single paddle, you are basically offsetting the balance in your core body, so one side of your core is forced to work that much harder to keep your body from snaking around the swim lane.
You can also make it more interesting and add one flipper to the opposite leg :).
Put the paddles on the normal way or just grab them between your thumb and your fingers and utilize their surface to make your sculling efforts a bit more challenging.
Remember, sculling movement is not a breaststroke movement, just do very narrow figure eights from side to side and feel the water pressure on your skin.
The pressure is the same the entire time, refrain from putting a lot of pressure pushing out to the sides and easy bringing your hands back together.
5) Hand holding
Since we mentioned earlier removing straps from your paddles, why not just grab the paddle with your fingers in the front, thus allowing the paddle to extend further into your forearm and therefore, forcing you to swim more with your forearm ores rather than just your hands.
It will create a very similar effect as the Tech Paddles
6) Catch up swim
There is no need to put on your paddles for this exercise, but you can definitely utilize them in a different matter. (or at least one of them)
As with the kickboard paddle exercise, just hold one or both paddles in front of your body in one hand and every time you bring your moving arm forward, just replace your grip.
This catch-up drill is great for working on your underwater catch.