Dry side work outs
Stretching muscles is integral to getting the most out of your exercise programme – as swimming is an all-body workout, try to stretch and activate all of the major muscle groups before you swim.
The best way to do this is to:
1.Stretch each body part in order – holding stretches for about 10 – and run through this routine three times.
2.Stretching cold muscles may relieve tension but will have very little effect on flexibility so gently swim for five minutes before undertaking your stretches.
3.If you’re stretching in the water, your body will cool down rapidly so maintain your temperature by walking, jogging on the spot or swinging your arms or legs for 20 seconds between each stretch.
4.You should also stretch after training – try doing this in a warm shower, holding each stretch for 30 – 40 seconds to help clear waste products from the muscles, improve post-exercise flexibility and stimulate the muscle receptors that promote relaxation.
Looking after your shoulders
As a swimmer there is high chance you have or will experience shoulder pain or discomfort. If this has ever prevented you from swimming, you will appreciate just how frustrating this can be. I believe it is important to look after our shoulders rather than spend hours out of the water recovering. As prevention is better than a cure!
Firstly it is important to understand the shoulder joint.
Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint, with a rim of cartilage that goes around the socket to make it deeper and more stable.
Surrounding the joint is your joint capsule, a fibrous material, with thicker parts of the capsule forming ligaments.
A number of muscles, and the tendons from these muscles, run around and over your joint. The muscles that have the most effect on your joint stability are called the rotator cuff. The ‘cuff’ is made up of four muscles which work together to help keep your shoulder centred in the socket.
What Goes Wrong in Swimmers Shoulder?
The shoulder is a very mobile joint, and being so mobile, it needs to be well controlled by the muscles and ligaments that surround the joint. Over-training, fatigue, hypermobility, poor stroke technique, weakness, tightness, previous shoulder injury or use of hand paddles can lead to your muscles and ligaments being overworked.
If this goes on, injuries such as rotator cuff impingement and tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, bursitis, capsule and ligament damage, or cartilage damage can occur
How can we prevent injuries?
To prevent injuries you need to warm up the tendons before you swim. Here are some simple exercises to do to before you swim. I recommend using an exercise band, which has a low resistance, and do each exercise between 10 and 15 times.
As well as ensuring you look after your shoulders you should try and strenghen your core. Here are a few core stability exercises you can try.