5 Awesome Stretches for Swimmers
Swimming works almost every muscle in the body — and though gliding through water might look effortless, it takes a lot of work!
That’s why stretching before and after a swim is so important. Taking the extra time to tend to your body offers so many benefits. From boosting your performance to increasing flexibility and buoyancy in the water, stretching will change your swimming game.
The benefits of stretching
Stretching is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Here’s why you should consider stretching before and after your next swim:
Your arm, hips and leg movements can increase in mobility with the proper stretches. When you hit the water, this helps you move farther and faster. Tight, stiff muscles hold you back from your full potential in the water!
The last thing you want is an injury that will take you out of the pool. Stretching can help you prevent things like aching shoulder joints, torn muscles and strains. Improving flexibility in the muscles and joints reduces the stress on these areas to lower the risk of overuse injuries.
The best swimmers in the world take time to stretch. Some even incorporate a regular yoga practice into their routine. Why? Because it makes them a better swimmer all around. Their muscles are healthy, flexible and happy.
5 great stretches for swimmers
Stretching doesn’t have to be boring! There’s endless moves you can try. Below are just a few of our favorites.
Note: Remember to breathe and listen to your body throughout the duration of the stretch.
Wall Press Chest Stretch
Stretch your chest before hitting the water to help limber up your muscles and increase stroke mobility. Start by facing a wall and extend your arm until your palm can lay flat against it. Then, rotate your body away from the wall and press into it with your palm. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Reaching-Up Shoulder Stretch
This stretch helps your external rotators, and couldn’t be simpler. Stand tall, and place one hand behind your back. Reach up between your shoulder blades and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
This classic move helps loosen tight shoulders. Stand tall and reach one arm across your chest at shoulder height. Pull the arm slightly toward you with your other arm for a gentle stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Goal Post Rotation
Raise your arms to the sides to make the shape of a football goal post (elbows bent forward and in line with your shoulders). Slowly rotate the forearms forward until they’re at shoulder height, then rotate them back to starting position. This is another great stretch for your rotators, and wonderful for tight shoulders.
Hamstring Streamline Stretch
Hit the floor with this great stretch. Sit down with one leg extended and the other bent like half a butterfly stretch. Lift your arms over your head in a streamlined position. Slowly bend over your extended leg with a long spine. Make sure to keep your extended foot flexed. Hold this stretch for 10 to 20 seconds to keep the hamstrings loose and flexible. Repeat a few times before switching to the other leg.