Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

Discover the many benefits of swimming with a board and flippers, and find all of our tips for enjoying a good swim training session with this kit.

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

A board and a pair of flippers... These two might form the iconic duo of swimming accessories, that you’ve all surely used to swim with at some point. However, do you really know what the benefits of swimming with a board and flippers are? So, why should you use these accessories and how will they become an essential part of your training sessions?

From benefiting your body to improving your swimming technique, in this article I’ll explain all of the advantageous points of swimming with a board and flippers!

Improve your kicking technique and body motion

A good kicking technique in swimming isn’t just key for your progression through the water, it will also make sure you can keep your balance.

Maybe you’re used to seeing swimmers whose kicking technique just creates more foam and splashes anyone nearby, rather than helping them move through the water? So, what makes a good kicking technique?

For an efficient kicking technique, the movement should start in the hips, and not in the knees. The knee will slightly and naturally flex in response to the movement of the hip, so you don't need to force any further to bend your knees. Your legs will therefore stay relatively stretched. It’s important to note that the upward movement is just as important as the downward movement. For kicking in front crawl, you’ll push a lot during the downward movement, but you’ll also need to concentrate on your leg coming back up (and the opposite applies for backstroke). Don’t let your leg just come back up on its own, thinking that the effort is already over, you’ve only done part of the work! Concentrating on the whole kicking movement enables you to optimise your propulsion and to work all of the muscles in your legs.

Working with swimming flippers will allow you to double down on your focus on your movements, whether it’s your kicking technique in front crawl, backstroke or butterfly stroke. Effectively, the resistance caused by the flippers will mean you need to apply more effort during your movements and to improve your supports and technique.

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

Improving your kick and strengthening your ankles

Working on your kicking, focusing on the movement starting in the hips... Sure, but where do the ankles come into it? Their role is essential for efficient kicking.

Have you ever had the impression that you’re kicking “against the tide” and not moving forward, despite the meticulous precision you’re focusing on your movements? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The secret is in your kick! An efficient kick is a short and quick movement, as opposed to broad and powerful. Your toes are pointed, and your feet are close to the surface, but they don't actually come out of the water. It’s quite a technique! However, once you’ve got the right movement, you’ll feel like you’re progressing quicker than ever before. ;)

Swimming with flippers will enable you to strength the “return” part of the kick, also known as the “up-kick”. This is often the weakest part of the movement. Adding resistance with the flippers will help you to feel the effort more, as there will be more water mass to move. This way, you’ll be able to perfect your technique and pay closer attention to the sensations you experience over this specific movement. Using flippers will also enable muscle strengthening in your ankles, for a kick that is more efficient, better controlled, and also to avoid injury risks. Developing the mobility and flexibility in your ankles will allow you to improve efficiency even when you take off your flippers and switch back to classic kicking movements.

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

Reducing cellulite

With flippers, you’ll swim faster. You’ll tell me that it’s not news to you! Let me explain: the quicker you swim, the more significant the lymphatic drainage generated. With each movement, it’s as if you’re being massaged by the water. This draining massage occurs whenever you swim or whenever you exercise in water, without you necessarily being aware of it. Kicking with your legs or butterfly stroke-style exercises, with flippers, will also reinforce the action of the water on your skin, and act on cellulite. Swimming with flippers also allows you to improve blood circulation and to reduce heavy leg symptoms. So, there you have it, water holds secrets and benefits, for both your body and your health! ;)

Sculpt your legs and buttocks

Swimming with flippers will allow you to focus on your lower body, which can sometimes be a little less engaged in swimming than the arms and shoulders. By using flippers, you’ll be choosing to reinforce the work for your lower body. All of the muscles in your legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, adductor) as well as the muscles in your buttocks, will need to work harder to move forward, due to the resistance of the flippers. There’s no secret miracle - the more you work your muscles, the more you’ll feel the benefits and results! Swimming with flippers is therefore an excellent way of building muscle in your legs and buttocks, sculpting your figure. You’ll also feel these benefits when you switch back to classic swimming without kit, as your leg muscles will be stronger, and you’ll be more powerful in your swimming technique.

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

For those of you with a main goal to build muscle in your lower body, I’ve got a little secret to let you in on... Okay, so you know about swimming with flippers, but what about TONIFINS flippers? They have been especially developed to ensure that the work for the hamstrings and buttocks is emphasised. Their special feature? These flippers have an innovative blade at a 38° incline, increasing resistance during the upwards movement. With each movement, your hamstrings and glute muscles are thus more engaged than if you were just using classic flippers. Believe me, after a few lengths, you’ll feel the difference!

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

Slimming your lower body and losing weight

Swimming with flippers is ideal if you want to slim down or lose weight, thanks to the energy usage it produces. Effectively, by kitting yourself out with flippers, you’ll increase the intensity of your workout. At a glance, you wouldn't think so, but I can assure you that there’s no rest in swimming with flippers - quite the opposite!

So, you’ll burn more calories per hour by swimming with flippers. Effectively, it’s estimated that you burn at least 100 calories more than if you were to swim without flippers. For a moderately intense session, you’ll approach around 600 calories during an hour of swimming. Not bad, is it? Especially when swimming with flippers has so many other benefits, that we’ll discover together.

Working your core

The bonus of a sport like swimming is that, when you’re swimming, you are sure to engage your core, without even realising. Your body tends to adopt a hydrodynamic position in order to help you glide through the water. It’s as if you’re doing a big core strength session, but with the added pleasure of being in the water!

With flippers, you’ll need to double down on the effort used in your lower body to push forward against the resistance and weight of the flippers. This way, the muscular engagement in your core will be increased.

A point to note: if you’re hesitating between kicking and a butterfly-style stroke to work your abs more, I’d advise that you go for the butterfly stroke. Besides being a higher energy movement, butterfly stroke naturally requires more of an intense core strength engagement to use the movement.

Improving your endurance

When you see swimmers working with flippers, moving at an incredible speed through a swimming lane reserved for them, you might not realise how tiring it is, and you might think they’re just being propelled along without too much effort... Try to see that it really isn't the case at all! Swimming with flippers means moving through the water with added resistance. Your muscles need to work harder and are more engaged than during a swim session without equipment. And when I say muscles, I mean all of your muscles... Including the cardiac muscle. With the increased intensity of the exercise, your heart will be working harder. You’ll improve your endurance during your swim sessions with flippers, and you’ll certainly be able to swim for longer.

Why use a board?

Now that we’ve looked at all of the benefits of swimming with flippers, you’re probably going to ask: why use a board?

The board will have a reassuring effect. It's like a little object you can hold on to for reassurance - some people don’t want to throw themselves straight in at the deep end with their new accessory, and that’s completely normal.

The board is a floating aid often a favourite for many swimmers, beginners or not. It will help you keep some balance during your kicking or butterfly-style movements with flippers.

Finally, using a board enables you to make the exercise easier. Reassuring and stabilising, it makes things easier for you by allowing you to float better.

A point to note: swimming exercises with flippers can, of course, be done without a board, which naturally makes the exercises more difficult.

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?

Our tips for swimming well with a board and flippers

First of all, I should remind you that, just like any sport session, swimming with flippers requires a warm-up before you get started. The warm-up’s role is to wake up your body and prepare it for the work it’s about to do during your session. It enables you to get into the right conditions to optimise your session, and will also reduce risk of injury. Around ten minutes of warming up will be enough to get your body ready. You can start with a warm-up out of the water to wake up your joints before getting into the pool.

Another important point: hydration. Hydration plays a huge role for your body, whether it is during or after your session. It is an essential factor in swimming as well as in every other sport. So, make sure you’re well hydrated before and after your swim training. This will also help you to avoid cramps that can occur when swimming, particularly in your calves or feet.

Swimming equipment is important in allowing you to progress in your swimming technique, but it is also important not to limit your training sessions to just using a swim accessory. Just like you wouldn't do a session only swimming with hand paddles, swimming with flippers and a board shouldn’t take up your whole session. Vary the exercises and don’t forget a comprehensive swim, so you can have an optimal session.

Finally, at the end of your training session, take the time to stretch, especially focusing on the muscles engaged during your session. For swimming with flippers and a board, focus on stretches for the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings, in order to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

So, now you know all there is to know about swimming with flippers and a board! The combination of these two swimming accessories is great on a number of levels. Versatile and high-energy, regardless of your aims, swimming with a board and flippers will become a key factor in your swimming sessions. So, go grab your flippers and we’ll see you in the pool!

Swimming: Why swim with a board and flippers?



Passionate about dance, a keen gym-goer, a big fan of the pool and a yogi apprentice, when I’m not enjoying sport, I like to write about its history and its benefits!