I keep my fingers and thumb all together and kind of scoop the water. My swimming buddy splays her fingers out. I tried it her way and it feels like I'm raking through the water and not catching anything. She tried it my way and wasn't impressed.

Is there a 'right' and a 'wrong' way or is it just preference. Wondering if this is yet another bad habit I have to unlearn...


  • Fingers together. Did you ever see a paddle with splayed plastic?
  • image although this week's latest fad is that the fingers should be open between 20 -40% of the finger's width to increase surface area, giving an effective increase in hand size by 53% - or so the men in white coat say!

  • Yeah, that's why I'm asking. Always thought making your hand like a paddle was best for whooshing through the water then read a guide to swimming in one of the big tri magazines that said you shouldn't do it...
  • The theory is that if you open your fingers a little bit a small amount of water will get through - whilst this small amount of water is passing through, it blocks the gaps and effectively increases the size of your hand. The key is getting the gap between your fingers right - too big becomes ineffective, too small make no difference!

    Personally I have more important things to worry about whilst swimming - like breathing and not drwoning!

  • If you relax your hand, your fingers are probably a few mm apart. I think this is how it should be when you're swimming. Certainly not spread out as far as possible. Main thing is to do what's comfortable. I expect the difference to swim times will be minimal.

  • Look at this and try and copy

  • Relaxed hands for me, but there again I have slightly webbed fingers and toes and my family is from Norfolk.

  • Gary Fegan wrote (see)

    Look at this and try and copy

    Oooohhh, I want to swim like that...image

    So I went to the pool tonight and tried the 'fingers ever so slightly apart' thing. And it definitely felt like I was catching more water. First problem: my arm muscles aren't strong enough to keep it up for long. And second problem: Having one more technique thingy to concentrate on just about fried my brain!

    I'm trying to remember to roll from the hips, not cut my armstroke short, elbow out the water first, not windmill my arms, not do bloody crossovers cause that's what knackered my shoulder in the first place, remember to kick (if I don't actually think about it I forget and just let my legs sort of trail behind me) and also get my breathing right. I don't think I've ever managed to do it all correctly all at once for more than about 10 seconds yet...

    *sigh* image

  • I dont think it sways the arguement either way but I moved from a relaxed hand to a more closed hand and took over a minute off my 400 time ... that really is all I did

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    .... so you say.......

  • 15 secs per 100m meldy..... that's huge

    Esp as I am bimbling around the 1:50 to 2:00 per100m
  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    ....first Lance, then Meldy....so sad......

  • Hey !!!   All I am guilty of is caffeine overdosing   image

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    I guess it started with a small cup of Maxwell House, then just got out of control from there?

  • After she'd got his house she went for the Silver Hammer. image

  • I am now on IV espresso    image

  • After much analysis and stroke development I have managed to get my time for 100 lengths from 1h07m to 1h17m. Yup, 10 minutes extra. Coach will be really impressed.

    Fingers? I don't think that I'm qualified to detect a difference. I've got bigger challenges.

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    I think this thread has gone a bit off-course. Are you swimming tomorrow M? I'm off at the moment with a shoulder injury, but aways keen to pop over and help you indulge your caffeine habit.

  • It depends on the distance you are doing and whether it is outside or indoors.  Long swims in cod water will make your hand go numb, then shrink the tendons so that your hand forms a claw.  Once this happens it doesn't matter which technique you use as your hand won't be able to move much.

    Short swims, or in a pool, the current wisdom is to have the hand relaxed and if that means fingers slighty apart then that is best for you.  Some people will find it more natural to hold their fingers closer together.  Its the same theory as with running - a relaxed hand leads to a relaxed arm and shoulder and therefore uses less energy and reduces injury in the long term.

  • I've been recently taught to use a relaxed hand and arm recovery. Something to do with being more slippery through the water, giving less resistance. But I'm no expert swimmer so can't really say if that alone has helped as I'm also relaxing my arm more and trying to lead with my elbow rather than hand. Swimming is certainly getting less tiring though,

  • Less tiring is good, all the more energy to listen to me then!image

  • I've also been recommended to wear swim ear plugs. image

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