Swimming for exercise... flippers or no?

I’m going to start going back to the gym and doing laps. Daily if possible.

I’d really like to get some flippers, though, because they’re more fun to swim with… but is the “cheating” effect going to negate any of the exercise aspect of things?

Also, how much do I have to spend on a pair of goggles before I get a pair that is good enough quality to not leak? $9 Speedo brand apparently aren’t up to the task.

dont bother with flippers IMO. what you want is someone to show you proper swimming techniques (i apologize if you’re already familiar with these) so you’re not grinding away in the water. it doesnt take too long to get, and you’ll find it does you the world of good. you’ll go at lot farther without tiring as easy if you’re cutting through the water correctly rather than splashing away. try and work out a varying swim routine. when i got back into training, i used the hungarian method, which is:
2 length butterfly
4 length backstroke
6 breaststroke
8 freestyle
rests inbetween each set, then do the same backwards

flippers are fun to swim with, but if its the exercise you’re after, its better to swim without.
as for goggles, try a few pairs out. they don’t have to be super expensive to work well, I always found that the pair that fit my eyes the best and were comfortable did the trick. more importantly, test them so they dont let water in. some of the top brands are absolute rubbish. mine are Zogg goggles, and i think they cost about £6.
hope this helps.

pauly t, former swimmer for Morley ASC, Leeds SC, and also representer of West Yorkshire and north eastern counties water polo squads.

I’m a good swimmer, and I don’t “grind away in the water”. I have been through lifeguard training and everything :slight_smile: I actually don’t create any splash most of the time and people who do annoy the crap out of me when they swim by.

I can’t do butterfly. The last time I tried I was about 12, mind you… but I don’t really want to start flopping around like a drowning badger in front of God and the world at age 31 trying to figure it out now, either.

I just like the extra zoom of flippers… and obviously I’d have to do more laps if I was wearing them… but do they actually reduce the effectiveness of the exercise? Say I swim just as hard and for the same amount of time as I would have without?

IMO, i think your arms would get the same amount of exercise, but your legs would get less due to the flippers propelling you along. just as a thought, maybe someone in GQ would know. theres probably studies on it.
i’m not being patronizing either, even though it sounds like it.

smiley etc


I’m going to have to disagree with paulberserker, we use flippers all the time in our workouts, and some use them all the time. Yes you will go faster, but you will also be using a lot more of your legs.

I will agree though that you should vary your workouts, if you don’t want to do fly at least do some breast and maybe back as well. You should of asked thoguh as I have work outs for beginners. You would have though that getting shaving advice for swimming from you you would have thought of it! :smiley:

Goggles are another thing, sometimes you have to adjust every little thing on them to get them right. I had a pair that always leaked, then I found the eye adjustment was off by just a little and now they work great.

I’ve always wanted to be able to do butterfly… I just don’t see how that’s ever going to happen. It’s not like I can get a video about it and practice here at home until I’m non-spastic enough to do it in public. Heh.

I like using flippers.

I feel it gives a better work out to my legs while my arms are doing their thing.

I like the half flipper thingies, instead of the long snorkle/scuba flippers. The pool I cough go to has flippers and mitt things available for free use.

Varying your routine helps to keep the monotony down. and exercise the muscles equally. You don’t want to look like you are training for the Olympics and have overdeveloped back muscles, unless, of course, you are into that kind of non-girly look.

I like doing ten laps of freestyle, breast and back stroke, and then a side crawl. If I do each three times, I think I have about 2 miles in.
As for goggles, having just perused the goggle section at a variety of stores ( all are clearanced now) I bought a good pair of speedo’s that have anti-fog, which was very important to me. I think mine were originally $24, bought for about $6. YMMV.

But, I think I might dash out and buy the kind of goggles that are more like scuba lenses ( bigger on the face) and won’t put pressure on the eyes and brow, giving the raccoon effect after about 30 seconds. I’ll probably get a snorkle too, as every long distance lap swimmer I see uses one and, frankly, I think it’s fun to breath like Darth Vader, and I might hum while swimming to scare any child who wanders into the lap lane.

Just totally imho, but I feel like I am getting a better work out when I swim with flippers. Well, in that my legs are really sore and tired the next day, so I figure suffering is good for them. Just swimming laps back and forth does nothing for me, I can swim for hours and not get tired or feel it.

I almost never use flippers because they make me really, really lazy and rely way too much on my kick (which is the exact opposite of what I’m shooting for in the water). But I love them, and I love zooming by on them. And most of the stuff I look at advocates using flippers. So I doubt that it negates the exercise. Heart rate is still elevated, etc.

Actually, my $9 pair of goggles work best for me. The $15 pair leaks, and the $12 pair gives me headaches. (And of course, goggles can’t be returned, so you don’t know how much they’re going to suck until you get in the water with them.) So I think it’s just luck of the draw and how it fits your face.

I need arm tone, but more than anything I need leg, butt, and ab toning.

One of the cruelest realities of this world is that your body doesn’t really care where you want to lose fat from–if it decides to give up fat, it gives it up from where it damn well pleases.

IIRC, women tend to lose upper body fat first, so you should see some arm toning. Unfortunately, they tend to lose fat from their butts and hips last, so those’ll probably be your least favorite spots for a long time. Abs will fall somewhere in the middle.

As far as the flippers thing goes–well, I’m not an experienced swimmer, but that seems more like a little detail than a major factor. Wear 'em or don’t; as long you’re out there busting your ass, you should be fine.

Uh… I said nothing about losing fat. I don’t need to lose any fat. I just need to tone. Strengthen and build muscles, etc.

In fact, I need to build up my butt rather than make it smaller. It’s gotten flat and my tailbone sticks out and I hate that! I need my butt muscles back!

See, this is why I really hate the word “tone”. Everyone means something different to it. The way most people use it, it’s equivalent to “lose fat”. My bad.

Ah. I meant it in the sense of “muscle tone”… of which I currently have none.