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Speedo Says...

Floats aren't just for fun by Poppy Dinsey

Lifestyle blogger Poppy Dinsey reveals why a kickboard is one of her favourite swim training aids.

If you've read my previous two posts here on the Speedo blog, you'll know I'm a relative 'newbie' to swimming, having only taken it up regularly last year. So it wasn't very long ago that the words ‘swim training aids’ meant nothing to me (if someone said 'fins' to me I'd be assuming they were talking about sharks!)

All that's changed now, and I don't think I've done a single swim sesh in the past year without using at least one training aid. My paddles are always in my swim bag and I look forward to changing up my swims throughout the week with the aid of different accessories – including a kickboard, aka 'a float'.

Kickboards – for training, not floating

In my naivety, I always assumed floats were for people who couldn't swim – an aid to prevent sinking, if you will. But on my first proper swimming lesson they were introduced straight away and I quickly realised how great they are for kicking drills. The first time I used one, I thought my thighs were going to turn to cement – kicking is really hard work! Now the kicking drills are often my favourite part of a set.

I love how different breaststroke, backstroke and front crawl all feel when limited to only using your legs (I find doing breaststroke legs with the kickboard the hardest). It really helps you focus on the individual components of each stroke.
I've recently started doing more 'dolphin kick' training with the kickboard and I find that really hard. I'm sure I look like a demented caterpillar in the water! You can feel it working throughout your core though.

And that's one of the great things about the kickboard: you can do specific drills that work your abs as well as your legs. If you lie on your back and hold the kickboard to your chest your abdominals have to work (hard!) to keep your head above water and to keep you balanced as you swim.

Creating an extra challenge

It was a recent post on the Speedo UK Instagram that introduced me to the idea of 'tombstoning' - holding a kickboard vertically in the water and pushing forward, with it being harder the further you pull the board down into the water. I'm sure there are plenty of tricks I'm yet to learn with the kickboard, but that's what makes it so fun!

If you're new to swimming for fitness, a kickboard is the first accessory I'd suggest getting your mitts on, as it’s vital for mastering your kicking technique in the water. Can’t borrow one from your local pool? You can pick one from £12, which won’t break the bank.

In my next post I'll talk about two of my other favourite accessories - the Elite Pullbuoy and BioFuse Power Paddles – and why they’re always in my swim bag.

Happy kicking! x