How to Use a Pull Buoy

February 02, 2012

Using a pull buoy could be described as simply as, "put the pull buoy between your legs and start swimming." While this is the general approach, there are a few things you can do to make sure your pull buoy stays comfortable, correctly positioned, and prevent it from affecting your body positioning during your swim.

Hold Pull Buoys Between Your Upper Thighs

Pull buoys should be gripped between your thighs — closer to your crotch than your knees — as you swim. Let your legs relax and float behind you; they don't need to be stiff, and a little movement is fine. Positioning the pull buoy between your upper thighs helps keep your hips and your body flat in the water and easier to hold it in place for long periods of time. If the pull buoy is too close to your knees, your legs may start to bend or your hips may sink.

For Improved Buoyancy, Face the Large Side Down

Many pull buoys are designed with a large end and a smaller end. This large end should go under your body, facing the bottom of the pool. This provides more buoyancy under your legs and hips, and a more stable base as you pull. Of course, if it provides too much buoyancy, you can always flip it over.

Adjust Strap Length if Needed

Some pull buoys are designed with nylon straps that connect two separate buoys. This strap can be adjusted for the best possible fit. If your thighs are touching, the straps are too long. If the buoys are nearly touching and your legs are gripping the outside of the buoys, the straps are too short. Find a length that allows you to comfortably keep the buoys between your thighs as you swim.

Swap Your Buoy for a New One

You may find that you simply aren't comfortable swimming with a certain model pull buoy. If that is the case after several attempts, it may be time to try a different model. If your hips and legs are sinking, try a bigger pull buoy. If it is too wide to grip comfortably, try a smaller one. If you want a more customized fit, get a two-piece pull buoy or individual floats for your legs. The possibilities aren't exactly endless, but there are lots of options when it comes to finding the pull buoy that best fits your needs.

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