Stretching Guide for Swimming
Physical Therapy in Corpus Christi for Swimming
Stretching is an essential part of successful swimming. A good stretching routine can help to minimize muscle imbalances, prevent injury, improve your exercise tolerance and your swimming performance. The following stretching program is designed for swimmers who do not have any current injuries or individual stretching needs. If you have an injury, or a specific mechanical imbalance that may be holding back your swimming performance, your Humpal Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers Physical Therapist can design a stretching program just for you.
General warm up (5-10 minutes). The aim of a general warm-up is to get the blood flowing to all parts of the body to be used during swimming, including the cardiovascular system. A slow speed, low intensity swim makes an ideal warm-up. You can use any stroke with the exception of butterfly (which tends to be high intensity) or a variety of strokes. If you prefer not to get in and out of the pool for a warm-up then stretch, you could warm up out of the pool using a walk or light jog, but remember to keep the upper body active by using your arms.
Dynamic stretching. Gradually the speed and intensity of your movement is increased. See below for stretches which should be performed out of the water.
Technical and speed warm up. For experienced swimmers, this includes high intensity, swimming specific skills. Drills should be kept short with recovery time between drills to ensure you are not fatigued too early. Beginners and recreational swimmers may choose to exclude this step, and instead use this time to practice turning, diving or stroke improvement.
Cool down. A cool down allows the body, in particular the cardiovascular system, to gradually return to its resting state. A cool-down reduces your chances of becoming dizzy or faint after exercise, allows any waste such as lactic acid that has built up during exercise to dissipate and may reduce your chance of having Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Cool down by gradually reducing your swimming intensity, using an easy stroke, or walking in the water for about 5-10 minutes.
Move through your range of movement, keeping control of the movement with your muscles. Do not allow momentum to control the movement by "flinging" or "throwing" your body parts around.
You may feel light resistance in your muscles, but you should never feel pain during a stretch.
Start with slow, low intensity movements, and gradually progress to full-speed, swim-like movements.
Horizontal flexion and extension
Shoulder internal rotation
Latissimus Dorsi Stretch
Rules for Static Stretching:
Hips can be moved from side to side, keeping hands firmly in place to apply extra pressure to one side at a time.
Neck and trapezius
Bend your neck sideways, keeping the opposite shoulder firmly depressed. This stretch can also be repeated with the head rotated away from the depressed shoulder.
Use your towel to gently pull the bottom arm up.