Water noodles or swim noodles are long supple cylinders made of foam that can be used as personal flotation devices, pool toys but also as workout equipment for water aerobics.

A few water noodles floating on the water surface

Common cell foam water noodles

Swimming pool noodles come in a multitude of colors which make them attractive as pool toys for children. The most popular ones are made of solid foam and are between four and five feet long and between three and four inches thick.

There exist variants with a hardened core that retain their shape and variants with their core removed. There also exist inflatable swim noodles but they are less popular.

Advantages of Water Noodles

The solid foam swim noodles are inexpensive and can take a lot of abuse by playing children. They float extremely well, which makes them very good swimming aids if you want to learn how to swim.

They are one of the best personal flotation devices you can use to float in a vertical position. A swim noodle alone is often enough to keep an adult in a vertical position with the head above the water without him or her doing any arm or leg motions.

I personally prefer to use a swim noodle rather than a kick board while I do kicking exercises because the supple swim noodle provides a more natural support in the water, for example while placed under an armpit. Holding a kick board with extended arms strains the shoulders more.

Using Water Noodles To Learn Swimming

Here are some examples on how you can use swimming noodles when you learn how to swim:

  • Place it under one armpit, around your back then under the other armpit to float in a vertical position and learn how to flutter kick, scull water or how to tread water.
  • In a horizontal prone position, place the swim noodle under your armpits and across the chest to practice the flutter kick or the breaststroke kick.
  • Place it around your neck in a supine position with arms extended or at your sides to practice the backstroke kick.
  • Lying in a horizontal side position in the water, place a water noodle under the lower arm pit to practice the scissor kick used in the sidestroke.

Other Uses For Swimming Noodles

  • At the local pool, I often see injured athletes use swim noodles to jog in the water. They place the noodle around the back and under each arm pit and then move the arms and legs as if they were running. The resistance of the water against the limbs provides an excellent workout and low-impact exercise.
  • Children (and their parents) often have a lot of uses for noodles in swimming pool games. They may tow their playmates, ride the noodles, whack themselves on the head (ugh) and so on…

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