How To Put On Your Wetsuit For Maximum Comfort And Speed

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As we're about half way through the open water season in the northern hemisphere, we've been getting a lot of emails and tweets asking for tips on getting more comfortable swimming in a wetsuit.

Here's a quick run through of tips (also see our full video on wetsuit fitting) :

Put a plastic bag over each foot and hand in turn to help them slide easily into the suit:

Work the wetsuit material up each leg into the crotch. Depending on the length of your legs versus the suit this often means leaving a gap of a few inches between the bottom of your suit and the ankle:

To give maximum shoulder mobility, work plenty of material up the arms into the shoulder area:

Again, the suit may sit a few inches off the wrist:

Now have a friend slide their hand onto the back of your shoulder and holding the middle of the zip area, work material round to the back of the suit:

We call this 'The Human Shoe-Horn". You should find the zip then sits straight down your spine:

Repeat on the other side and you will find the zip easily does up without squeezing your chest or shoulders.

Then attach the velcro flaps to secure the back. Adjust the position depending on the size of your neck - you want it tight enough to stop water entering the suit but not so tight you can't breathe! :

Apply some wetsuit lubricant (e.g. HUUB LUUB) to the outside of the wrists and ankles of the suit. Then peel back the suit and also apply on the skin. This allows the suit to easily slip off in transition:

Also apply lubricant to the neck area if you are susceptible to chafing (always worse in salt water).

You're now ready to enter the water and when you do so, pull the neck open slightly and let a little water in:

Yes it might be cold for a moment but the water will soon warm up in the suit and it helps lubricate the neoprene against your skin.

Last but not least, if you use a classical high elbow recovery in the pool, try a slightly more open recovery so as not to fight the neoprene. More on that here:

Swim Smooth!

1 comment:

John Langmead said...

If you are swimming in cold water, a neoprene cap will substantially improve your overall warmth. Some are designed with a very small peak at the front which can usually be cut off to reduce drag, The full hood with neck covering (usually insertable into the top of the wetsuit) might be warmer, but I have not found this design comfortable or practical for distance swimming. Also, the full hoods tend to have a small opening for the face, which can interfere with goggle fit. My cap is made of 3mm neoprene and has a polyester lining. In 12C ocean water, it keeps my head very very warm on long swims.

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