Here’s a quick review on how the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro can help you become a better swimmer.
There are a heap of different tools that you can use during your trials and tribulations towards becoming a better swimmer. Favorites include swim paddles, fins, and perhaps my personal favorite for killer technique, a swim snorkel.
But in terms of tempo, in terms of helping you maintain or improve your tempo and stroke rate there is nothing quite like the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro.
While counting your strokes over the course of each length during practice is a simple way to stay focused and improve your overall distance per stroke, the other part of the equation when it comes to fast swimming is hitting your desired stroke rate.
Stroke rate = How many strokes you are taking per minute. A stroke rate of 40-50 is a slow stroke rate, while the stroke rate for elite 50m freestylers is well over 100 strokes per minute.
How the FINIS Tempo Trainer Helps You Swim More Efficiently
The FINIS Tempo Trainer is a simple little tool that you attach to your cap or goggles, plug in a desired stroke rate, and go to town.
Here’s what this bad boy will help you do:
Improve your stroke rhythm. Like most swimmers you probably have a dominant side in your stroke. As a result, your stroke is lopsided, or favors one side. A hitched, or galloped stroke is common when we overly favor one side over the other, and you will find that getting a good rhythm going is remarkably hard in these scenarios. The Tempo Trainer will help you develop some cadence and rhythm in your stroke.
Helps lengthen out your stroke. The result of fast swimming comes via efficiency—if you can go the same speed with fewer strokes you’ve increased your ability to be efficient in the water. While stroke counts can be fudged with over-kicking or longer breakouts, tempo can’t be faked.
Or shorten it. For swimmers who are prone to over-gliding, and especially for sprint swimmers, there is a need to speed up their stroke rate to get a higher rate of propulsion happening.
Can be used as a pace clock. If you still have recurring nightmares from having to do the Beep Test in high school you might not appreciate this feature—with lap pacing you can sent an interval time (say, :20 per 25m), and it will beep every :20 to mark your sendoff. Helpful in darker pools with those sweeping old pace clocks.
How to Make the Most of the Tempo Trainer
Like any piece of swimming gear don’t let it become a crutch (ahem, pull buoys). The goal is to start the process of reconditioning your motor patterns, and then performing and hitting those desired stroke rates without it strapped to your head. After all, you aren’t going to be allowed to race with it on.
I like using the Tempo Trainer as a dryland tool—having swimmers bent over the hip, performing arm pulls with no resistance but the air at their designated tempo can help them get the feeling of how fast their arms need to be moving in the water. This is particularly helpful for sprinters.
Other things to know:
- Yes, it’s waterproof.
- It includes a clip so that you can wear it on dry land.
- It turns off automatically in order to help preserve battery life.
- The loudness of the “beeping” can be set at different levels (thankfully).
- You can use it for running or biking as well. Or eating, if that’s your thing.
- The battery (CR1620 3V) can be replaced.
How Much is the Tempo Trainer?
It costs around $40 and is available at Amazon.