Develop Leg Strength by Kicking Fins

kicking with swim fins, slim fins

How To’s  of a Good Swim Kick

Kicking with fins is like lifting weights: the added resistance of the water on the blade of the fin increases the workload on your leg muscles. Your body adapts by increasing the strength and endurance of the muscles involved. Stronger muscles move more water making you swim faster, all other things being equal.

Force Fin,Kicking with FinsA word about specificity: It’s important to realize that muscular strength for swimming needs to be “specific.” Good runners, cyclists, roller bladers, etc. can have very strong leg muscles, but the muscles have developed for running, cycling or roller blading, not for swimming. Fins develop leg strength specifically for swimming, and in a way that few other activities can.

“Force Fin swimming fins utilize the body’s strength and put it where it’s needed. The human body is built to have more strength when kicking down (during freestyle), than when kicking up. The downward or power phase of the kick emphasizes the powerful quadriceps muscle group at the front and side of the upper leg. The upward, recovery phase uses the weaker hamstrings at the back of the thigh. While still developing both sets of muscles, our blade design assists — or helps take the load off — the upward recovery phase that uses the weaker muscles, maximizing energy efficiency.”


Flexible Ankles to Swim Better and Swim Faster

swimming, kicking with fins, slim fin

Increase Ankle Flexibility

Have you ever noticed that runners, cyclists or triathletes new to swimming who start a serious swim program have a hard time just kicking and going anywhere? In fact, they sometimes go backward! One reason is that their ankles are so inflexible that when they kick, their feet act like hooks, catching the water and pulling the frustrated swimmer in the wrong direction.

Good swimmers, on the other hand, can hyper-extend (plantar flex) their ankles, pointing their toes so that the top of the foot forms a straight line with the shin. Because of the extra load from the increased surface area that fins provide, swimming or kicking with fins forces ankle extension during the power phase (pushing down when swimming freestyle) of the kick. Repeated fin use eventually stretches the ankles, increasing their flexibility for moving in all directions and helping the kick become more propulsive and efficient.

The extra load from the increased surface area that fins provide, swimming or kicking with fins forces ankle extension during the power phase (pushing down when swimming freestyle) of the kick. Repeated fin use eventually stretches the ankles, increasing their flexibility for moving in all directions and helping the kick become more propulsive and efficient.

Ankle flexibility is one key to efficient kicking.

flexible ankles,ankle flexibility, swimmingTo measure your flexibility, sit on the floor with legs extended and place a stiff piece of paper against the side of the foot. With heels touching the floor, point your toes as far forward as you can while having someone trace this side view.

Measure the distance from the base of your big toe to the ground or floor; your goal should be from one to four inches.

Using a regular program of kicking with FORCE FIN swimming fins, re-measure and chart your progress.


Increase Fitness and Cardiovascular Conditioning

Slim Fin

Only Force Fin swimming fins are designed to concentrate the force of the blade further back on the foot, using the muscles of the whole leg, not just the lower leg.


Although swimming is considered one of the best aerobic or cardiovascular-conditioning exercises, many people forget to use their legs where the largest muscles are located. Since the greatest cardiovascular benefits come from including the highest percentage of the body’s muscles – that’s why cross-country skiing and rowing are considered two of the most demanding sports – it makes sense that swimmers who activate the large muscle mass of the legs by kicking will benefit from a more demanding workout that burns more calories and increases fitness levels.

Add fins to the equation and the increased load they add to the legs means that as long as exertion levels remain high, the cardiovascular system gets an even more intense workout with even greater fitness benefits. Unlike all other fins, even those with open toe drains, only Force Fin swimming fins are designed to concentrate the force of the blade further back on the foot, using the muscles of the whole leg, not just the lower leg.

Try this simple test to see the difference between how our fins work compared to other brands.

While seated, cross your ankle over your knee, grab your toes and pull them in the direction of the sole of your foot. Do you feel the stretch and tension running from the top of your foot up and along the shin? Those are the primary muscles that other fins work because the fin blade extends from your toes.

Now, grab the foot in both hands – one holding the heel, the other holding the top of the foot – pull again toward the sole of the foot and resist with the leg. The tension has moved up to the upper leg, hasn’t it?

Because of their unique design base don human biomechanics.Fo rce Fins and Slim Fins work the larger muscles of the upper leg in addition to the lower leg. These are the muscle groups you need to develop a strong kick and a better workout.


The First New Fin Since Fins Were Invented

The first swim fins were a lot like the one on the right – a shoe with a stiff board bolted on. Most still are. Other, more flexible fins still retain the old paddle shape, and most  split fins are simply double paddles.

Then there is Force Fin – in a league of its own.

If you’ve ever tried to raise a board flat out of the water, you know how hard it is to lift. The other fins require the same effort to up-kick when you are swimming. After a while your foot gets tired and cramps set in.

The Force Fin folds in on the up-kick to reduce water resistance and snaps open for full power on the down-stroke. Swimming with the Force Fin at first gives the impression that nothing has been attached to your foot at all. That’s because the water flows backward, rather than up and down. You don’t have to work hard to make the flexible Force Fin work.

And since there are no thick ribs on the fin, the blade moves in any direction you want and doesn’t veer to the right or left at an awkward angle, as other fins do.

The other fins have a stiff foot pocket that causes your toes and arches to cramp. The Force Fin doesn’t cause cramping because the fin is flexible and the toes are free of the pocket, so they can bend naturally, without restriction.

The Force Fin is made of high quality polyurethane instead of rubber and weighs a mere 32 ounces. Strong, adjustable nylon straps hold your foot comfortably in the pocket.

So, by wearing the Force Fin you’ll be able to swim longer and enjoy it more.

Which is a bit like re-inventing swimming.

Why Force Fins are Made In the USA

 Force Fins are made in the U.S.A.

I wish I could say this was a political decision. I am well traveled, and I sincerely believe that the U.S.A. in which I grew up is the very best place on Earth. The decision was financial.

Notwithstanding soundbites to the contrary, there are thousands of quality factories in the United States. They are competitive with offshore production, particularly when it comes to custom molding for small business or start up companies. Absent the subsidies given to the long-established, big boys, China, or any other country is hard pressed to compete with America, when the real costs of production are taken into consideration. The real cost of production includes quality, shipping, lead time, inventory control, and the control over cash flow that follows from a well-managed supply chain. Something that is best done locally.

Working in the U.S.A. is not an abstraction for me, nor is being an entrepreneur. I was born in Detroit, and transplanted to California at an early age. My parents owned a few industrial uniform companies. The smell of shop towels brings memories of my childhood, as we serviced gas stations, auto body shops, tire stores, auto industry manufacturers, and sports venues. Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium and the Forum were on our truck delivery routes.

My first job was for my parents’ company. Under the scrutinizing eye of my father I was tasked with altering uniforms to fit their wearer, and sewing patches uniquely identifying each uniform to the client’s Company brand and its wearer. My first lesson in quality control was when my father made me tear out the stitches and redo hems I had sloppily sewn in a rush to get the job done, so I could join my friends. I remember him scolding me, “Men have to wear these pants to work. You have to take as much pride in your job as they will in wearing them to theirs.

My father’s first Company was his newspaper route, or should I say newspaper delivery enterprise. He expanded outside the immigrant neighborhood in which he lived to deliver papers to the the offices of the then bustling business buildings of downtown Detroit. I co-founded Force Fin with my husband, Bob Evans in 1985, when we were just 26 and 32 years old. It was our first international manufacturing and distribution company.

The first entrepreneur was not born with the U.S.A. What is unique to America is their historic percentage level of contribution to its economy. I believe that this is born in the idea that opportunity exists to anyone who can take the experience of sewing patches as a foundation for understanding corporate brand identity, and a reprimand as a lesson in the importance of quality control.

I also believe that this is the case because the words from the Declaration of Independence are etched into the American psyche throughout our early educational years:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women by virtue of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In other countries where we might manufacture, dreaming big, if dreams of starting one’s own business exist at all, most frequently end with one’s first job sitting before a sewing, injection or any other machine.

I can visit on demand the factories where our Force Fins are made. I can see the quality of the environment in which the individuals who make Force Fins work. It appears to me that they are not slaves to their employers, and that they are doing so with the expectation that it is toward benefiting their life and that of their families.

In the future, Force Fins may very well be made offshore. I am proud to say at this time, it makes the most sense, economically, politically and ethically to make them here.

It’s The Snap!

Force Fins are made of an exclusive version of polyurethane that, besides being resistant to ultraviolet radiation, abrasion and chemicals, is heat-treated for 16 hours at temperatures that would melt other fins. Force Fins won’t wilt when exposed to tropical heat, nor will they harden when ice diving. This special heat-treating process allows the molecules to cross-link into long chains, which gives the material its remarkable resiliency and “snap” or elasticity. This adds to the performance and responsiveness of the fin as it allows it to flex and bend over and over without cracking or fatiguing.

Our manufacturing process also results in a material that has outstanding “memory” Force Fins hold their shape in all conditions. In fact, you can take a Force Fin, bend and clamp it in half, leave it for weeks, and when released, it will spring back to its original shape. Try that with any other fin!

Manufactured in the USA and backed by two decades of research and development, Force Fins don’t require any special care and should last season after season, even when used daily.