What Makes Pull Buoy a Stepping Stone for Swimmers and Triathletes

August 24, 2017 — by Richard Dawson

A lot of people prefer to stay away from pools this time of the year, but not triathletes. Experienced and aspiring triathletes and swimmers use the off season to get ahead of the curve. For most triathletes, swimming is the biggest nemesis in races. Trying to compete in three disciplines is challenging, so it’s of utmost importance to make sure when an athlete goes in the water, they make the most out of the session.

In order to do so, professional triathletes and swimmers take advantage of equipment such as the kickboard and pull buoy to improve efficiency and work on various aspects of their stroking. This helps them move through the water with less effort and swim much faster. Most pull buoys come in an eight-shape and are made of foam, however, you can find them in other configurations as well. Regardless, they’re designed to fit between your legs as you swim, forcing you to only use your upper body to move in the water.

The pull buoy helps your legs stay afloat and prevent water dragging from behind you. Without the buoy, swimming without using your legs while keeping them afloat is impossible. Using your arms to do all the work improves your upper body strength. However, improper use of the buoy can affect your form, and that might cause more harm than good.


For beginners, using the freestyle stroke with the buoy is highly advised, as the freestyle stroke is the primary stroke used with this device. Securely hold the buoy and try your best not to kick your legs. If you normally swim at a quick pace, you’ll feel extra strain as your arms are doing all the work. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overuse the buoy. Try keeping the buoyed laps to 25% of your total amount of laps.

Typically, you place the buoy just above your knees, but some swimmers place it between the ankle as that can prevent you from performing any scissoring kicks and allow you to concentrate on different parts of your technique. Moreover, training with a buoy can help you improve your breath control, the reason for this is the fact that kicking typically elevates the respiratory and heart rate.

With all that being said, there’s no doubt that investing in this affordable device can help swimmers and triathletes improve their upper body strength and stroking techniques. Using it accordingly and avoiding overuse is essential, and if taken advantage of properly, you’re bound to see progress.