Swim paddles are training aids for swimmers that are specifically designed to help develop shoulder and arm strength. Because they add resistance in the water, they can place quite a strain on the shoulders, and can also be somewhat intimidating for first time users. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can follow to make sure you wear your swim paddles properly and avoid injury while using them.
Adjust Paddle Straps
Many swim paddles will attach to your hands with rubber tubing or straps. Before starting a paddle session, make sure that the straps over your wrists and fingers are snug, but not too tight. You want to make sure the paddles stay on even when you push off the wall, but you don't want to cut off circulation to your hands. Adjusting them is usually as simple as tugging on one end of the strap.
Straps are often designed to go over the wrist and fingers. Different configurations exist, so be sure to look at the packaging for directions, and always center your hand on the paddle as much as possible.
Put Paddles on the Correct Hand
Many paddles can be used on either hand, but some models are right- and left-specific. You can tell if your paddles need to be on a certain hand if they are curved to the right or left, have a section for the thumb, or have a silhouette that clearly mimics one hand. Paddles should always curve in towards your body, not away.
Push Paddles to Your Wrist
Swim paddles should go all the way to your wrist, but not past it (unless the model is specifically designed to keep wrists and forearms on an even plane). You should be able to easily flex your wrist up and down as you swim.
You Are the Final Judge
Ultimately, it's your comfort that should determine the fit of your swim paddles. Tighten or loosen the straps, and play around somewhat with the positioning to find the best possible way to wear your swim paddles. If one type of swim paddle simply isn't comfortable, try a new pair in a different style.