Weighted Parachute

In a nutshell

  • Lace the weight onto the parachute cord, and slide the cord around to the front if doing non-backstroke stuff
  • The weight keeps the parachute cord away from your legs and allows you to do flip-turns easily
  • Use for recovery during pace sets to maintain long and powerful strokes or short powerful 25s for sprint sets
  • Kicking sets become about the kicking, not the yardage

How to assemble

1. Unlace the cord on the parachute at the belt end

2. Lace onto the cord a Two Pound Weight and slide it to the parachute end (2lbs is usually enough unless sprinting with fins or paddles)

3. Re-Lace the cord through the buckle at the belt end.

4. For any swimming on your stomach, make sure the cord is coming out the front so the weight pulls the parachute underneath you. Reverse for backstroke.

How it improves your training

The extra weight at the end of the parachute drops it below the swimmer and keeps the legs from getting tangled up. This also allows swimmers to perform flip-turns with a parachute, which really opens up the possibilities with regards to distance sets. With a weighted parachute out of the way of your legs, a more natural stroke can be maintained and without interruption when you get to a wall. 

You can see the difference in this photo. The top parachute does not have a weight and the cord sits right in between the swimmer's legs and getting in the way. The bottom swimmer has only 2lbs on the parachute, which keeps the cord away from the legs.


Now that the parachute comes out from the front, it's much easier to do flipturns with it. Also, the weight drags the shute down as you flip, getting it out of the way when you push off.    

Most people have used a parachute and the same principals apply: build feel for the water, strength in the pull, and extend the time training per 25 (instead of getting across the pool in 15 seconds, it takes 25 seconds, a big deal with fin sets). Parachutes can help focus the training on one aspect of the stroke or race by slowing things down and forcing muscle memory to be developed.

Sample sets

Distance training- building long stroke muscle memory 

Once you have built up your shoulders to handle greater yardage with the parachute, you can use the extra resistance in a couple ways. Keep it simple (20x100 on desired interval) to build general conditioning and add fins and paddles as desired, or use the parachute during the recovery portions of a set to bring the swimmer back to proper stroke technique (below).

Switch up the 50s to 25s and the 500s to 200s to work on stroke endurance. Change "Stroke count" to desired drill in order to improve weakness of each specific stroke.

Round 2 with fins, round 3 with paddles
6x50 on :50 with parachute Stroke count
500 fast Unbroken
1 min rest
6x50 on :50 with parachute Stroke count
500 fast 10s rest at 100s
1 min rest
6x50 on :50 with parachute Stroke count
500 fast 10s rest at 50s


Sprint sets- build massive power

The power tower has been around a while, but I challenge someone to convince me it is better than a parachute (a weighted parachute at that). Power towers are expensive, they only allow two swimmers a lane, then need to be reset every 25 and the cord gets wrapped around your leg. Or... you can parachute a bunch of 25s and focus on power, or get fancy and upgrade lactate sets to focus on going out fast and hanging on.

Everything is ALL OUT
4x100 on 6:00 10s rest at 50, take the shute off for 2nd 50
4x75 on 5:00 10s rest at 25, take the shute off for last 50
4x50 on 4:00 10s rest at 25, take the shute off for last 25


USRPT- Switching it up

I don't know if USRPT is against integrating toys with the training, but you might as well do it anyway. Let the parachute set up the stroke, then let the speed come alive when your swimmer is released from the leash. 

Hold race pace
16x25 on :40 with parachute
16x50 on 1:00 without parachute
16x50 on 1:00 parachute and fins
16x75 on 1:15 fins only


Kicking- Training the kick, not the yards

There is a cheating epidemic among all swimmers doing kick sets. Between pushing off in a streamline and swimming into the wall, a swimmer will be lucky if they kick more than 15 out of the 25 yards of a pool. Especially with fins, a swimmer may only kick for 15 seconds before they have to stop, turn around, and push off the wall. 

With a weighted parachute, a 15 second 25 turns into a 30 second 25. Not to mention cheaters will be forced to work their kick since their 25 yard pool is effectively doubled in size. Now we are training the kick. Who cares if you only get in a 1000 yards, at least now it was 1000 yards of kicking and not 3000 of surviving.

On top of that, the weight pulls the hips in the water, submerging the kick and producing more effective training and more proper technique. Otherwise, no specific sets here, just add the shute to your favorite kick sets and let it rip.

Dolphins- power and endurance together

Dolphin kicks need to last just as much as they need to propel you in the water. The hardest thing in swimming is kicking out to half way on the last 25 of a 200 fly, but those who master it really get to stand out among the crowd. Do normal dolphin kick sets (25s under, or 100s with a board and fins) with a parachute to build power and endurance or... get fancy:

2 rounds normal, 2 rounds with fins (add yards with the fins)
4x5 on :45 Vertical dolphins jumping off pool bottom (weight only, take the shute off by unclipping it from the cord)
30s Clip the shute back on the cord
4x50 on 1:30 Dolphin with kickboard
30s Take the shute off (all of it)
4x25s on :30 All out underwater


I hope this gives you some new tools to work with. If you come up with a new way to use our equipment please drop us a line at sales@swimsmarttoday.com