Updated: Feb 5
Do you ever find you don’t have enough time to get to the pool? Does your busy lifestyle make it difficult to fit in a swim session? Ever thought about how to improve your swimming without actually being in the water? The ZEN8 Swim Trainer might just be the answer to all those questions.
Now, you might be thinking it’s impossible to fully replicate your swimming without actually being in the water, and that’s absolutely true, nothing can match the feel of the water when you swim.
However, if you’ve been forced to have an extended amount of time out of the water, the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is a great way to keep peak muscle conditioning so you won’t feel like you’ve missed any sessions at the pool.
This is the closest thing you’ll find to imitating your swimming stroke. Of all the indoor swim trainers out there, the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is the one that forces you to activate your core and build upper body swim power; it can fit into your busy lifestyle and can save you time whilst training in the comfort of your own home.
What is the ZEN8 Swim Trainer?
We’ve tried and tested this amazing piece of equipment and it really is dryland swim training reinvented. It simulates your swimming technique and helps build up the muscles you use in your swimming quickly, as long as you put the time in of course. The ZEN8 Swim Trainer can be used by all athletes whose sport involves swimming. So that can include; swimmers, triathletes, surfers, and open water swimmers. It’s designed to improve a whole host of things such as your stamina, power, and endurance.
The ZEN8 Swim Trainer comes with a unique inflatable bench that you can pump up, with provided hand pump, and lie horizontally on. It’s super comfy and won’t cause any back pains or put you in any unnatural positions, as long as you do it correctly. It comes with swim cords that are excellent to build upper body swim power, mobility and stamina. They are designed and made from really high-quality materials, and have swim paddles attached to mimic your swimming technique. The cords resistance weight that come with the Swim Trainer is around about 3.5-11kg, which is 8-24lbs when stretched out. Obviously, the further away you are from the cords anchor point, the harder and heavier the resistance will be.
Can it improve my swimming?
From a fitness point of view, absolutely. Improving your stamina, endurance, and general fitness levels is definitely something that the ZEN8 Swim Trainer does, It uses all the same muscles in your back, arms, and shoulders as you would when your swim and can give you a really good workout. Swimmers will know that if you're out of the water for a certain amount of time, your fitness levels can drop very quickly. The ZEN8 Swim Trainer is the ideal piece of equipment and solution to maintaining your body conditioning when you're not able to swim up and down the pool.
Another thing that the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is brilliant for is improving your catch position. The bench is purposely built at such a height so that if you pull with a straight arm, you will hit the floor with your paddle. Because of this, it strongly encourages you to have an early vertical forearm and a high elbow catch. This is an important part of the freestyle stroke to give you an anchor in the water so that you’re able to push as much water as possible towards your hip when moving onto the drive phase of the stroke. When performing the catch position in the pool, your body should be flat, and so the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is perfect, especially if that’s the part of your stroke that you need to improve the most.
However, an issue with the ZEN8 Swim Trainer, like most indoor swim trainers, is that it doesn't allow your body to rotate which is vital especially when it comes to freestyle. Having and using this bench keeps your body remaining flat which means you cannot fully replicate how freestyle should be done in the pool. Body rotation is an essential part of freestyle as it helps with body positioning and more importantly, the timing of the stroke. Your stroke begins when your body is rotated onto one side and then at the end of the arm pull phase, your body should have then rotated onto the other side. It’s therefore training your body to do the stroke slightly differently to the way the timing of the stroke is supposed to be.
If you’re new to using the ZEN8 Swim Trainer, we’d recommend starting light to avoid overloading and causing potential injuries. It won’t take long for you to build up strength and gradually increase the intensity though.
Things to be aware of when using the ZEN8 Swim Trainer
One of, if not the most important thing to remember when using the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is to have your swim cords attached to a solid anchor point. The last thing you want is to be mid-workout and suddenly have the cord attachment fly back into your face. The cords can very easily and simply be attached anywhere. A place like a door, a window, or any fitting at home will work perfectly. No drilling is needed which is a huge plus point.
Another thing to be aware of is that the bench isn't very sturdy, especially if you're doing a workout on tile or wood flooring. What we found is that because of the lack of grip the bench offers, getting onto the bench is difficult and the bottom of it can slip out which may cause you to fall off. So to help with this, we put a yoga mat underneath the bench, giving it more sturdiness and therefore reducing the chance of the bench slipping or sliding during your session. On the flip side of this, having a bench that is a little unsteady forces you to activate your core more which is exactly what the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is trying to achieve. Every swimmer knows that you need a strong core to swim efficiently, and having a strong core makes the rest of your body, especially your arms and legs, strong as well. As your ability to use the ZEN8 Swim Trainer improves, you can really ramp up the intensity by doing a workout with your feet off the floor. That will really make your core work hard.
If we were to change anything about the ZEN8 Swim Trainer, we would prefer to have paddles identical to the paddles you'd use in the pool. Even though the paddles provided work perfectly well and they do absolutely nothing wrong, we think the paddles you'd use in the pool are a lot more ergonomic. If the Zen8 Swim Trainer were able to attach the paddles you'd use in the pool onto the swim trainer itself, it would then perfectly link your training in the pool to your training out of the pool.
Another thing we would like to see is a handle added to the outside of the box that it's packaged in. It's designed to be a portable swim trainer but has no handle on the box which makes moving the ZEN8 Swim Trainer from place to place slightly difficult. It just needs that added little bit of finesse to make this already amazing product even better.
Overall, the ZEN8 Swim Trainer is a brilliant product. The best thing about it is that it's incredible at the cardiovascular side of training and muscle conditioning. If stamina and endurance is something you're looking to improve, then this is the perfect piece of equipment for you. You will most definitely feel the burn in your shoulders, lats, and triceps after each session you do with it, which tells you it's hitting all the right muscles you need to improve and benefit your swimming.
Check out the video below!!