Nearly every swimmer has struggled with shoulder pain or injury which, in some cases, can keep you out of the water for weeks at a time. The key to preventing shoulder injury is consistent shoulder strength and mobility work. Today we’re sharing a classic shoulder stretch to try after your swim or dryland workouts!

Technique Check: Shoulder Stretch

  • Shoulder Down: As you pull your arm across your body, don’t shrug your shoulder up! This will decrease the intensity and effectiveness of the stretch. With your shoulder in the proper position, you may not be able to pull your arm as far across your body, but that’s ok! Remember, this is about feeling a good stretch in your shoulder and not how far you can pull your arm.
  • Gentle Pull: Don’t force your body to go further than it can. Gently pull your arm across your body until you feel a good stretch that is not painful. Breathe deeply to help your muscles relax deeper into the stretch.
  • Head Neutral: Be conscious of your head position. Don’t push your head forward. Instead, try to stack your neck right over your spine, and tuck your chin slightly. Working on head position out of the water will translate to better head position in the pool!

Try 30-60 seconds on each side after your workout. You can perform this stretch standing or sitting. 

While this stretch by itself won’t cure a shoulder injury, it can be beneficial when paired with dryland training that focuses on shoulder stability and health. If you think you may have a shoulder injury, seek help from a physical therapist or doctor.


If you’re feeling a really intense stretch, back off a bit and don’t pull your arm in as close. Consistent stretching will improve your flexibility and you’ll be able to pull your arm in closer over time!

For more dryland training tips and guidance, download the MySwimPro app! Our library of more than 170 technique videos includes stretches to help you improve mobility and encourage proper form while you’re in the pool.

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