What are stretch cords and how do you use them?

We explain all you need to know about swim stretch cords and share some key workouts from Dave Scott


Made of surgical tubing with handles on the end, stretch cords should be an essential part of every triathlete’s kit bag. To use them, all you need is a bit of space and something sturdy to put them round. You can then use the tension to pull against, and mimic the swim stroke out of the water, as well as working on specific muscles. 


“Work to timed intervals to replicate pool-based sessions,” advises swim coach Fiona Ford. “Work in drills like single- arm, doggy paddle and broken arrow, or other strokes like butterfly and breast stroke to develop strength and technique.”

Cords are also great for a pre-race warm-up (for when we can start open-water racing again!). Swim coach Dan Bullock adds: “A race-day, open-water swim warm-up should definitely make use of the lighter versions, so that you mobilise and generate blood flow through the shoulders but don’t overload them.

“Practising the front crawl underwater movements will help you get up to race speed much more quickly, especially as you won’t get enough time to warm up in the water before your wave commences.”


Below are swim cord workout ideas from 6 x Ironman World Champ Dave Scott:

How to improve your swimming out of the water