|One of the best resistance training methods for swimming is also the simplest to use--the Drag Suit. By merely wearing a suit that provides more drag than a normal racing suit, but does not provide too much drag to overstrain the muscles, a swimmer can build up some serious strength in all the right areas! If you train for speed (and who doesn't?!) then a couple drag suits are required equipment. In case you couldn't tell, we at Gugly love drag suits! Read below to learn a little bit more about them and what you should look for when buying them.|
What are they? A drag suit is merely a bathing suit that provides an increased amount of water resistance so that it is harder to swim fast. Some people wear them over normal swimsuits and others wear them alone. Some people also wear multiple drag suits at the same time. They can be any type of suit as long as its purpose is to slow you down and make you work harder to swim fast. They are used for training purposes only.
A true drag suit is one that is nothing but a drag suit. It cannot and should not be worn all the time. They are usually baggy and much larger than a traditional racing suit. Many are like swim trunks with no pockets, and others contain multiple mesh pockets around the waist of the suit to act like a parachute in the water. The pocket drag suits are highly specific and are to be used only when looking for precise drag. Both types normally produce a much higher amount of resistance than a normal swimsuit.
Drag suits, however, can be nothing more than normal training or racing suits worn on top of each other. Many non-swimmers will often wonder why swimmers wear multiple suits when they workout. Often times they wear 5 or more normal racing suits of varying styles in order to achieve just the right amount of drag that they feel comfortable working out with. Since each suit only increases the drag coefficient slightly, they can fairly precisely dictate the amount of resistance with which they will swim.
How do they work? They work by increasing surface area, which equates to increased resistance. Due to the same basic principle that causes swimmers go faster with no hair, swimmers go slower with drag suits on. Friction slows things down, therefore it is our enemy when racing. It is caused by surfaces rubbing together. As a result, more swimsuit surface 'rubbed' through the water causes more friction and resistance, which equates to more drag, which can be our friend during training.
Pockets on drag suits are excellent for creating drag because they expand when filled with water, creating even more surface area and resultant drag than a suit without pockets. They are great for short intense training, but for most training, they produce too much drag.
Why are they good? Put simply, they help build strength in the exact places needed to swim faster. They can provide varying degrees of resistance (by wearing more of them or by using specific suits). They are convenient to use--just slide one on during practice. They always work the specific muscles needed for whatever stroke you are training. What other resistance training exercise can do that? It really is about as close to perfect resistance training as you can get!
An added benefit is that they are inexpensive compared to many other types of resistance training methods.
Lastly, think of drag suits (especially everyday drag suits) as an added layer of thick ape-like hair that will come off along with the rest of your hair when its time to shave down for the big race and will cause you to go even faster when speed needed. They are also good for those duel meets in mid-season when you need a little extra speed but don't want to shave-down yet. By taking off the drag suits, you should feel and experience a difference.
What to look for? Look for a suit that fits you right and fulfills the strength building needs that you have. If you are a sprinter and need to build serious strength, then a pocket drag suit with mega-drag might be best for you. In such a case, it would be used for short, intense distances with larger amounts of rest. If you are training for distance, usually extra race suits or light drag suits are best.
Make sure they are rugged since you will be logging thousands of miles in these suits and will be treating them like a stepchild. Check out our Gugly Drag Suits, which look good and are built to last forever. All come with a lifetime warranty!