Upper and Lower Body Stretches to Do Before Swimming
By Brandi Swieter
Swimming incorporates all of the muscle groups, particularly targeting the legs and arms. Because these areas get used the most, they also tend to experience the most swimming-related injuries. To prevent injuries while in the water, swimmers should perform some upper and lower body stretches. These stretches will help to loosen up the muscles and improve performance.
Due to the regular movement of the arms while swimming, the shoulders tend to experience injury the most. This is why it’s so important for swimmers to properly stretch out their shoulders and arms before heading into the pool. A shoulder stretch can be as simple as using the left hand to grab the right elbow and pulling that arm back until the right hand is over the left shoulder. Hold this position for 30 seconds before releasing the arm and switching to the other side.
Upper Pec Stretch
The upper pecs get used along with the shoulders. An upper pec stretch is simple and only involves placing both hands behind the back and clasping them together. Lift the arms as much as possible to feel a good stretch, but not so far that it causes pain.
Strong legs are necessary for swimmers if they want to be able to kick off of walls and propel themselves forward for a faster lap. The quads need adequate stretching in particular. The simplest stretch for this muscle group is to balance on the left leg and use the right hand to grab the right ankle. Hold the leg behind for at least 10 seconds, longer if possible. Swimmers can stand next to a wall for balance if needed. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Hip Abductor Stretch
Not too many people focus on their hips when stretching, though they should. Anyone completing a physical activity can pull their groin easily if they do not properly stretch out their hips and inner thighs. Use the butterfly stretch for this. Sit on the floor and place the feet together with both knees pointed outward. Move the knees in and out to resemble the flying motion of a butterfly to get a better stretch, or simple push down on the knees with your hands and hold.
Anyone who still experiences pain after stretching and swimming should seek help from The Joint Chiropractic. Joint restrictions may exist within the body that need to be worked out and eliminated. Spinal manipulation and other techniques performed by a doctor of chiropractic should help to lessen some of the pain and tension felt.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Cary, N.C.