When it comes to building a training schedule, stretching is often the last thing on swimmers’ minds. We know it’s good for us, but it can be tough to stay motivated and stick to a routine!
However, proper muscle and joint mobility plays an important role in swimming performance:
- Reduces muscle imbalances to ensure proper muscle engagement while swimming
- Improves posture and body position
- Helps prevent injury
- Aids muscle recovery
Essentially, if your muscles are super tight, you could be limiting your swimming potential and making yourself more prone to injury. So, where do you start? Try these five stretches!
Top 5 Stretches for Swimmers
Whether you choose to try all these stretches as part of your mobility routine or pick 1-3 to try after your workout! We recommend at least one dedicated stretch session each week.
Stretch out your low back and open your chest with this gentle twist! Our biggest piece of advice for this stretch? Keep both shoulders flat to the ground. As you twist, one shoulder will likely want to lift up. Prop your knees up on a pillow to reduce the intensity.
Try 30-60 seconds on each side after your workout.
Combat shoulder pain and loosen tight muscles with this classic stretch! Make sure to keep your stretching shoulder down — it may begin to shrug up toward your ears, especially if your shoulder is very tight.
Try 20-30 seconds on each side for 1-2 rounds!
This yoga posture lengthens the front of your core and helps keep your spine healthy. Make sure you are not tucking your toes under, and that your shoulders are not shrugged up to your ears. If you need to reduce the intensity of the stretch, try it on your elbows instead!
Shoot for 1-2 sets of 15-30 seconds after your workout. This may feel good after sitting for a long period of time, too!
Tight hips can cause a host of problems, including poor posture, improper form in dryland exercises and lower back pain. The Figure 4 Stretch can help correct some of these imbalances when done regularly. Make sure your head is flat on the ground, and that you press the knee of the leg you’re stretching forward.
Try holding this stretch 30-60 seconds on each side after your workout.
Tight hip flexors and quads also affect your posture and can contribute to back pain. When doing the Hip Flexor Stretch, make sure your back isn’t arched. Think about tucking your tailbone under, and you may feel a good stretch from that small movement!
This stretch should be done for 30-60 seconds on each side.
Building Your Stretching Routine
To start, try incorporating short stretching sessions 2-3 times per week, either after your swim workouts or on days you don’t go to the pool. Choose 3-5 stretches and run through 2-4 rounds. You can hold stretches anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute or more.
Listen to your body and make sure to breathe deeply while you’re stretching to signal to your body that it’s ok to relax. To warm up before your swims try this dynamic warmup!
If you’re looking for more guidance on dryland training and stretching, check out the MySwimPro app! Our Guided Dryland Workouts include a dynamic warmup, main circuit and cool down to ensure your body is primed to perform and that it recovers properly.
You can also build your own Workouts in the app — try creating your very own stretching workout for your next rest day! Use code SWIM35 to save $35 on your first year of training.
What are some of your favorite stretches? Let us know in the comments!