Most swimmers put the pull buoy between their thighs close to their hips to keep their lower body from sinking and to isolate their arms more by minimizing their kick. However, there is a different and, in my opinion, better way to place and use the pull buoy by putting it between the ankles.
This unconventional placements helps with several key parts of your stroke. For one, it helps with your overall body awareness. Many swimmers’ lower body sways from side to side as they swim without them even knowing it. Typically, this occurs because either the swimmer’s hands are crossing over when they enter the water and/or they are not rotating to breath but rather pulling their head up or to the side.
Ideally, you want your whole body body to rotate on your central axis without any crossover by your hands, hips, or legs. By placing the pull buoy between your ankles you will build awareness of what your lower body is doing. If your legs are swaying, then you will feel it.
At the same time, you are going to be improving your rotation. As I mentioned in an earlier post, rotating from your hips and not just your shoulders is critical for efficiency, power, and distance per stroke. With your ankles and legs floating in line with the rest of your body thanks to the pull buoy between them, you can feel your whole body rotating along this central axis.
If isolating your arms and giving your legs a break is your goal, then the new position will help with that. Many swimmers still kick when using a buoy between their thighs, but it is nearly impossible to cheat with it between your ankles. For an added bonus, I recommend binding your ankles together with an old inner tube or laundry loop and placing the buoy just above the bind.
As always, the pull buoy is a toy/tool so use it sparingly. Even with this “new” position I would not recommend swimming the whole swim set with it. I like to do 3-5×100-200 with the buoy between my ankles during the warm up to wake up my arms and my overall feel for the waters. Try this technique out in your next practice and let us know how it goes.