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How to Choose Swim Cords


Swim cords perform many functions, from endurance training to speed play to dryland resistance training. Swim stretch cords help swimmers, water polo players, and other water exercise enthusiasts get the most out of their time in the water.

Stretch Cords for Endurance & Static Swimming

Stretch cords for use in the water are pretty straightforward: An adjustable nylon belt, a long length of rubber tubing, and a loop for anchoring the apparatus to the side of the pool. Stretch cords can be used in the water help swimmers increase endurance. This involves anchoring the cord to one end of the pool and then swimming against the cord, trying to either swim in place or reach the other end of the pool. This style of swimming also gives swimmers the chance to concentrate on their form without the interruptions of walls or other swimmers.

Stretch cords can also be used to turn a pool that's not designed for traditional lap swimming into a great place to exercise. All a short pool requires is a stretch cord that will hold a swimmer somewhere in its middle, and the pool effectively becomes an infinitely-long body of water.

Stretch Cords for Speed Play

The second way to use swim cords in the pool is to swim with them, also known as "assisted swimming." Swimmers or coaches first stretch the cord to the fullest and then swim with it as it retracts. This added speed highlights any drag-producing issues produced by body positioning, and is used to help swimmers refine their body positioning as well as adjust to the higher turnover rate required during sprinting.

The stretch cords used for assisted swimming are exactly the same as the ones used for resistance swimming, but in this case the cord is stretched from one end of the pool to the other (with a swimmer at the non-anchored end) first.

Stretch Cords for Dryland Training

Lastly, aquatic athletes can use stretch cords while out of the water for resistance work. Because they allow athletes to mimic the movements they make in the water, dryland stretch cords are an excellent way to build up critical shoulder and back muscles. Cords come in a wide variety of resistance levels so that athletes can avoid overloading and potentially injuring themselves. Stretch cords for dryland training are designed with handles or loops on the ends for easy handholds. Dryland stretch cords can be used nearly anywhere: Looped around a post, pulled against another athlete, or used with the athlete's own body as the anchor.

Stretch Cords are Versatile

Stretch cords are an incredibly useful piece of training gear. In the water they help swimmers increase endurance and highlight technique issues, or they can turn a small backyard pool into one where swimmers can exercise for hours without touching a single wall. Dryland stretch cords offer dozens of targeted strength-building exercises that require very little setup. Individual swimmers and teams alike appreciate them for the wide variety of benefits they offer.

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