StrechCordz Short Resistance Training Belt

Swimming tether

The StrechCordz resistance training belt makes expensive, complex, “endless” pools obsolete. At one end of a 4-foot, black rubber tube is a nylon belt with a simple plastic snap-clip that slips around my waist. On the other end is a loop I attach to the deep-end ladder of our modest home pool. That’s it… just tether up and start swimming. Swim as hard and fast as you like yet stay in place.

I’m able to do backstroke, crawl, butterfly (well, I try to butterfly), even frog-kick with no interference. Stop swimming and the belt gently pulls me back to the ladder. And, no, my legs don’t get tangled in the line! The rubber tube is just stretchy enough to allow a good resistance for natural swimming feel, but I hardly notice the belt at all. Significantly, I even forget I’m wearing it. It’s completely comfortable for long bouts of swimming. The one I own has been in almost daily use for one swimming season in a relatively mild salt-water home pool. Not any sign of wear at all on the belt, but I do put it away out of sunlight between uses.

I wasn’t sure I’d need the belt, frankly, since our pool is big enough for actual swimming. In practice, however, even though our pool is 32 feet long, it’s not really enough to be comfortable for laps. The belt is an elegant solution. There’s no more constantly calculating the strokes left till the next turn. Swimming in place allows a steady, relaxed rhythm that would otherwise be impossible. I find I can swim longer on the belt and get more of a workout. Our pool is 18 feet from side to side. The short belt (4 ft.) is plenty long enough for me, but there’s a longer version for larger pools.

There are other products for resistance swimming, but I haven’t needed to try them. For one, the Super Swim — a suspension apparatus — is 10 times the price and needlessly complex. I can see the theory behind it, but it would entail major pool-side visual and actual clutter, and would be a bother to store away. With the StrechCordz it’d be easy to raise the point of the tether if necessary, but I hook it at the deck level and it’s fine. At only three-times the price of the Strechcordz unit, the RipTide’s a relative bargain. It’s a belt with shoes you slip on. I just don’t think I’d want shoes on in the water… just something funny about having my feet tethered. And then there’s having a size suitable for everyone. The StrechCordz belt is easily adjustable to basically any size. It’s very simple to use, safe (one snap of the belt and it’s on or off), and compact enough one could easily travel with it. Packing it really is a non-issue.

My office overlooks the pool and a swim workout is a good mid-afternoon tonic for neck and shoulders after hours of computer work. Looking forward to getting back to it now that the weather’s warming up!

-- Bill Womack 03/24/08

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