— by Lauren Brandon

There is always a lot of chatter about whether or not using a pull buoy is good or not for triathletes. Some people say that too many people use it as a crutch instead of a tool and therefore should be limited, while other people say that you should use it as much as you want because it helps with body position. I definitely fall somewhere in the middle of this debate.

Related: Training with a pull buoy reaps rewards

There is a time and a place for a pull buoy and paddles to be used and it certainly isn’t every day. I see too many triathletes put on a pull buoy and paddles so that they can make a certain pace time or because they are tired and don’t feel like doing the set just freestyle. Sorry to say, but if you’re putting on a buoy and paddles just so that you can say you made a faster pace time, then you are not using it for the right reason.

How to implement the pull buoy into your workouts

A buoy and paddles should be used to help build strength in your stroke and it can give people the feeling of having their hips higher in the water, just as a wetsuit would. Pull sets should definitely be implemented into your weekly swim plan, but make sure it’s for a purpose and not just to make you go faster or to use less effort.

Warm up:

  • 6 x 100 (50 swim/50 kick) – rest 10 seconds in between each

Main Set: *All of the pull is at threshold pace – hard but a pace that you can keep as the distances get longer.

  • 100 pull
  • 3x 50 free swim descend 1-3 (easy, moderate, fast) 10 seconds rest in between each
  • 200 pull
  • 3×50 free swim descend 1-3 -10 seconds between each
  • 300 pull
  • 3×50  free swim descend 1-3. 10 seconds between each
  • 400 pull
  • 3×50 free swim descend 1-3. 10 seconds rest between each
  • 500 pull
  • 3×50 descent 1-3. 10 seconds rest between each


  • 250 easy

Total: 3100

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