Swim tethers and resistance belts are a convenient way to maximize your swim training. Here is a breakdown of the best swim tethers and swim belts for all types of pools and swimmers.
Swim tethers, swim harness, swim cords—whatever you wanna call them, have become exponentially popular with the closures of pools and limitations on lane space.
Swim cords and tethers are also a great way to develop power and speed in the water and are a frequent choice of tool of swim coaches and swimmers looking to improve their overall swimming strength.
Swim tethers are awesome because they allow you to make the most of limited pool space (for example, you can train in a small hotel pool, a dive tank, or even in calm open water), and for you swimmers who are lucky enough to have a small pool in the backyard, is a way to simulate longer lengths in a shorter pool.
Here is a breakdown of the best swim tethers and cords.
StretchCordz SuperStroke Swim Tether (Long Belt)
I have been using StretchCordz products since my early age group swimming days. StretchCordz, whether it’s their swim tether or stretch cords (the resistance bands frequently seen on pool decks and essential dryland workout gear)
The StretchCordz Swim Tether comes in three different levels of difficulty. Red is the “heaviest,” giving 12-30 pounds of resistance, with green (8-24), yellow (5-14), and silver (3-8 pounds) following. The range on difficulty depends on how far the cord is stretched out. These particular cords can stretch out quite a bit, so if you are looking to train in a small pool, consider the short belt StretchCordz (detailed below).
The belt is long enough that it can easily accommodate larger swimmers (I am a 36” waist and still have plenty of strap leftover). The cord itself is made of thick latex that can withstand plenty of swims and the resulting pool chemicals.
StretchCordz SuperStroke Swim Tether (Short Belt)
Swimming in a small backyard or hotel pool? The StretchCordz SuperStroke Swim Tether are your best pick. The thick rubber cords are just 4 feet in length (and can stretch up to 3x).
They are very short, and the rubber tubing doesn’t give a ton of give, so consider going with one of the easier colors to get started.
The short length of the cords also makes the StretchCrodz Short Belt Swim Tether a preferred choice for those looking at doing other forms of water-based exercise, including jogging, lunges, and so on.
TYR Aquatic Resistance Belt
Surprisingly, out of the major swimwear and swim gear companies, TYR is the only one that makes a swim tether.
The belt buckle is a simple slider set-up that can be easily adjusted and removed. The belt strap is made of heavy-duty nylon, and the cord is a thick, durable latex.
The TYR Aquatic Resistance Swim Belt is not particularly long, which makes it an excellent choice for smaller and medium-sized pools. (Of course, you can also use it in the big pools if you have access.) The only downside is that is doesn’t come in different levels of resistance.
YYST Stationary Swim Belt
Although not one of the more recognizable brands of swimming gear, YYST manufacturers low-cost alternatives for recreational and competitive swimmers.
The YYST Swim Belt is a killer option because of its durable cord and price point (around 60-70% cheaper than the name brand swim gear).
The YYST Stationary Swim Belt comes with a mesh bag for quick storage, a belt that is padded with neoprene that can accommodate up to a 44” waist, and can be easily looped to pool ladders or starting blocks.
With a cord that is two meters long, this particular swim belt is ideally suited for very small swimming pools.
Pro tips for Training with a Swim Tether
Now that you have gotten a breakdown on the best swim belts and swim tethers are out there, here some tried-and-true tips for getting the most from that fancy new swim tether of yours.
Mix up the swimming with kick, pull, and different strokes.
It’s tempting to strap up on the swim tether and bang out 10-20 minutes straight of freestyle swimming. Most swimmers ten to treat a swim tether like a treadmill—hop on, run for twenty minutes at the same pace, hop-off.
One of the perks of swimming is the myriad of ways you can challenge yourself, so don’t feel married to the thought that you need to swim straight.
Add kick, pull, different strokes, and do higher intensity reps to mix things up and target different energy zones.
Place the hooking strap higher than your hips.
If you attach the cords water-level, you will notice your feet and legs getting tangled on the cord. Place the hooking strap several feet above the surface of the water.
Use a snorkel.
If you are using a swimming harness in a backyard pool, you will notice that the water is going to be real choppy. Poking your head above the surface of the water will progressively get more challenging as the waves rattle back and forth across the pool.
Dust off your favorite swimmer’s snorkel and also benefit from the improved neck-spine line that comes with using this killer piece of swimming gear.
Rinse after use.
Although swim tethers are made with durable latex and rubber, they will degrade over time, especially if left out in the sun.
Rinse them after use and store them somewhere dark to extend the life of the cords.