6 Key Stretches for Swimmers

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Stretching is important for all kinds of sports, and swimming is no exception. Swimmers should stretch before jumping in the water to avoid injuries and improve performance.

Stretching after workouts may help reduce tension in tight muscles and hence lessen soreness afterwards.

Swimming is a full body activity. Therefore, it is important to stretch almost every muscle group in the body before going for a swim.

With that in mind, here are 6 key stretches for swimmers who want to do their best in the water.

1) Standing Tricep Stretch

Swimmers use the upper arms and shoulder joints a lot. A good exercise to stretch muscles in those areas of the body is the standing tricep stretch. Here is how to do a standing tricep stretch:

  1. Take your right hand and place it behind the head such that the elbow will remain bent and pointing upward.
  2. Reaching overhead with the other arm, place the palm of your left hand on the right elbow.
  3. Pull the right elbow toward your ear and hold that position for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Switch arms and complete about 2-3 reps.

2) Shoulder Wall Stretch

This stretching exercise is performed while standing. It is a great routine to stretch those hard to reach muscles located in the front part of your shoulder. Follow these steps to do a shoulder wall stretch.

  1. Stand close to a wall and place one of your hands on the wall at shoulder height.
  2. Press your palm to ensure that it remains firmly planted on the wall.
  3. Slowly turn away from the wall by moving the legs and hips.
  4. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds then switch arms and repeat.

3) Arm circles

Arm circles are good dynamic stretches for muscles in the upper arm, chest, and shoulder. In addition, arm circles will spread synovial fluid at the shoulder joint. Steps for this routine are as follows:

  1. Stand up with feet spread shoulder width apart and stretch out both arms at shoulder height.
  2. Move your arms in a circular pattern with palms facing down for 30 seconds to a minute to complete one set.
  3. Rest briefly before repeating this stretching exercise but for the second set, reverse the circular motion in the opposite direction.

4) Dead Bug

Swimming requires core strength and coordination. The dead bug stretch improves both of these aspects. It will also boost balance and flexibility. Here’s how to perform a dead bug stretch.

  1. Lie flat on your back and lift the arms and legs so that they are pointing upward or toward the ceiling. This will be your starting position.
  2. Lower your left leg until it almost touches the ground. At the same time, extend your right arm behind the head.
  3. Get back into the starting position and repeat the stretch using your right leg and left arm. Perform 6-12 reps to complete one set and ensure to keep your back flat on the ground throughout the routine.

5) Child Pose

The child pose is a great post training stretch for swimmers. It helps to relax tense muscles in your lower back and hips. Follow these steps to perform the routine.

  1. Get into a kneeling position with your thighs resting on the calves.
  2. Lean forward and lay your forehead on the ground. Make sure both hands remain stretched out in front of you with palms facing down.
  3. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds and return to the kneeling position.
  4. Rest for a brief moment then repeat the child pose stretch, but this time bringing your arms backward alongside the thighs with palms facing up.

6) Pretzel Stretch

Gluteal muscles support movement when swimming. You use them during breaststroke or freestyle movements and every time when pushing off the wall when you turn.

To lengthen your glutes, simply perform a pretzel stretch by following these steps.

Sit down on the ground and bend your left leg at a 45-degree angle.

Use one hand to place your right ankle on the left thigh. Use the other hand for support by placing your palm on the floor. If you are not feeling the stretch, use the free hand push your right knee away from you.

Hold this position for about 10-30 seconds then switch and repeat to stretch glutes on the other leg.

Remember that there are many other stretching exercises for swimmers other than those described above.

Whatever routine you decide to try, keep in mind that static stretches (those perfumed in a standstill position) are best after training. On the other hand, fitness experts suggest dynamic (done in motion) stretching before workouts.

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