FLIP TURNS: Do I need to do them?

The use of flip or tumble turns by triathletes training in the pool has been a topic of debate. While some swear by them, others are hesitant to embrace this technique. In this post, we will explore the concept of flip turns, their benefits, and provide guidance on whether or not you should incorporate them into your training routine.

What is a Flip Turn?

A flip turn, also known as a tumble turn, is a technique that allows swimmers to change direction at the end of a lane without stopping. It involves performing a forward roll, twisting underwater, and pushing off the wall with your feet to continue swimming in the opposite direction. The purpose is obviously to turn around and get onto the next lap as fast as possible. 

Should You Incorporate Flip Turns into Your Training?

Rather than providing a definitive answer, it's important to consider various factors before deciding whether to incorporate flip turns into your training routine.

Achieving Your Goals: If you are making progress and achieving your swimming goals without using flip turns, there may not be a compelling reason to change your technique, especially if you primarily participate in open-water racing where flip turns are not required.

Personal Preference: If you simply do not want to perform flip turns, especially in open-water triathlons where they are not a competitive skill, it is acceptable to continue with traditional turns that align with your preferences and bring you joy.

Pool Triathlons: For individuals participating in pool triathlons, learning flip turns may be beneficial as they can contribute to faster race times and improved competitiveness against other athletes who utilize this technique.

Breathing Challenges: If you struggle with breathing during swimming, particularly in choppy open-water conditions, incorporating flip turns into your training can help improve breath management and overall swimming performance.

Performance Enhancement: Flip turns present a physical and technical challenge that can elevate your training and provide a competitive edge by improving breath control and overall swimming efficiency.

Competitive Swimming Aspirations: If you aspire to compete in swimming events, learning flip turns early on is advisable, as they are essential for maximizing performance in competitive swimming and require time to master.

The decision to incorporate flip turns into your training routine should be based on your individual goals, preferences, and aspirations as a triathlete. While flip turns offer various benefits, they can be challenging (even frustrating) to learn how to do this and do it regularly. It is important to consider the specific context of your swimming activities before making a decision. Whether you choose to embrace flip turns or not, the most important factor is to ensure that your training brings you joy and enriches your overall triathlon experience.