Buoyancy shorts

I enjoy cycling, I even enjoy running but since venturing into the world of triathlon over the last few months I've really struggled with the swimming.

I have no technique and probably annoy other swimmers with my mad splashing but I have tried to improve over the last month or so ready for the new season next year. I get frustrated being constantly overtaken by little old ladies and I struggle getting a few lengths going whilst I try to concentrate on everything.

A friend of mine reckoned that I would find swimming in open water easier because of the buoyancy of a wetsuit and that with my legs and body in a flatter position I would find my technique improving. 

I wanted to work hard on my swimming over the dark winter months but realised that wearing a wetsuit in a pool is impracticable so was intrigued when I read a few items on Zone 3's buoyancy shorts. I decided to take the plunge and bought a pair which arrived this week. They have the cut of swimming shorts but are made of rubber, just like a wetsuit that has been cut in half. I was a bit unsure of wearing them for the first time because of the rubber look but once your in the water nobody can tell. I started my swim slowly and found that the shorts really do lift the legs and body allowing you to get a much better body shape and meaning your swim becomes more consistent. Usually I get about 4 lengths done before I need to stop for a rest but today I was swimming 16 to 20 lengths in one go before taking a quick breather.

Hopefully this means I can start to enjoy my swims and see some improvements (even if they are only small) . I was wandering if anybody else has had positive results with the shorts   


  • But surely these will only mask the problems that you were previously having, meaning improvements may actually be a lot less if you were to ever have to swim without the shorts?


    Haven't used them myself, and wouldnt be against trying them in training for certain things... but using them to correct a problem during all of your training surely cannot be a good thing?

  • Agree with GB. Definitely could have a place for drills and focused efforts, but hiding technique problems behind buoyancy shorts probably isn't the ideal fix. If you're swimming a couple of times a week i'd do at least one swim without the shorts and include plenty of kicking sets.. if you can get to a stage that you're comfortably able to kick with a float for 100m you might find your legs naturally sitting a bit higher in the water.

  • Come and join the "Crap Swimmers are Us"  thread, lots of advice and info over there and you'll find there's plenty of others struggling with swimming.

    I agree with the comments re not using the shorts all the time, you may find it tougher to swim without them if you use them too much. Like most coaches and good swimmers say, you shouldn't rely much on swimming aids, just use them now and again for specific drills.

  • I had already thought that if they were worn all the time they would end up masking the bad technique I have.

    I have noticed that whilst wearing them I can concentrate on my breathing and arm placement allowing me to swim further faster and longer thus giving me more confidence in the water. I will limit their use to a couple of sessions a week and see what improvements i make over a month or so.

    One thing they have done is take some of the dread out of open water swimming because I am amazed just how much buoyancy a wet suit gives 

  • Also bear in mind that buoyancy shorts are banned in non-wetsuit swims, so if you do all your swimming in them you might be in for a few problems at one or two of the summer tris.

  • you could have saved yourself some money and do what i do and swim with  a pullbuoy between your legs.........

    but it means that i cannot enter pool based tris and can't enter a race abroad where there is a chance of a non wetsuit swim as I am still crap at swimming......

    but i hate swimming  in a pool and can't afford to pay for swimming lessons........and around here there is no masters swimming or decent places to get swimming lessons......

  • I read your posts on swimming in the Taff earlier Seren, who knows if I knuckle down and see some improvements I might be tempted to join you. The river looks fairly calm at the Whitchurch end if that is where you swim 

  • it can be still like a millpond on some days.on others it can be like an endless pool.......

    like all water you have to respect it and change your plans accordingly.....but its great.......i am willing to go there with you in spring whatever your ability.one friend goes and breaststrokes.......I just love swimming openwaterimage

  • I used to swim like a brick (captain splashy) but I knew I had to find a technique before my first sprint tri (400m). With only weeks to go to the event  I scoured YouTube and discovered total immersion swimming and within a few weeks I was swimming further than I ever imagined with the minimum of effort. I then worked on breathing out of both sides and finally exhaling under water. I now swim 1K four times a week and actually enjoy it. YouTube is a great place to start but make sure you look at lots of different references. It will help more than super trunks. Trust me if I can do it anyone can.  image

  • I have been wearing buoyancy shorts for 18 months. I found they really improved my confidence and did get me swimming much better. However, I did an early season club triathlon which had an 800m pool swim and it was a nightmare. I then came to realise I was reliant on the shorts.

    I now use them occasionally. Swimming with a pull buoy as mentioned earlier is very different to swimming with buoyancy shorts. Buoyancy shorts don't give you nearly as much buoyancy as a pull buoy but they allow you to kick normally. They help you get the feel of being in the right body position while doing the full stroke. They are definitely similar to swimming in a wetsuit.

    Just think of them as another training tool like a pull buoy or paddles. At the end of the day they don't beat a good coach or swimming regularly.

  • tricoops wrote (see)

    I have been wearing buoyancy shorts for 18 months.

    They must stink! image

  • TheEngineer wrote (see)
    tricoops wrote (see)

    I have been wearing buoyancy shorts for 18 months.

    They must stink! image

    No, I've dipped them in water every week! image

  • Challenge yourself to swim without being reliant on such aids...surely that's what it's all about or maybe it's just me?

  • Swimming is certainly a challenge, I wish I'd kept up the swimming lessons as a kid now image

  • I've just got a pair of these. Only turned up yesterday, tried them on and now afraid I'll get arrested wearing them when I turn up for a swim!!


    Will give them a test next week, hopefully when there are very few people about.



  • I find very early morning swims are best

    me, the shorts and a few old ladies with bemused looks image 

  • macuk wrote (see)

    Swimming is certainly a challenge, I wish I'd kept up the swimming lessons as a kid now image

    me and you both....

  • Thanks for these comments - I'm trying to learn freestyle and struggling. I've started looking at buoyancy shorts to help me improve quicker, and to build confidence. Having read your comments i'm going to try a pull buoy and simply train harder and frequently. I agree that learning from scratch seems the best long term solution and aids will mask technique issues.

  • Training smarter, rather than harder is better 

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