4 Lower Body Stretches That Help You Swim Better
By Brandi Swieter
Rather than dive right into the water, swimmers are much better off stretching before they step foot into a pool. The lower body, in particular, receives a vigorous workout while people swim. The glutes and quads especially get used as swimmers kick and propel themselves through the water. With a few lower body stretches, people can become much better swimmers and avoid injury.
The quadriceps need to be strong if swimmers want to have the power they need to kick through the water. A quad stretch will help to warm up this muscle group and give them the flexibility they need to swim well. It’s easiest to stand next to a wall and place one hand on it for support. Extend the right leg backward and use the right hand to grasp the shin. A tug is felt throughout the thigh.
The shins are rarely thought about when swimming, but strength in this area is vital for proper form when kicking and moving through the water. A shin stretch is essentially the same as the quad stretch, except the person stretching holds their foot rather than their leg while completing it. This helps to feel the pull throughout the shin and into the foot rather than in the quadriceps.
The hamstrings require stretching before swimming. A simple hamstring stretch involves sitting on the ground and extending one leg out in front, toes pointed upward. The other leg should be bent with the foot touching the inner thigh of the extended leg. Reach forward to touch the toes and a tug will be felt throughout a portion of the leg. Repeat on the other side. It’s best to complete these stretches a few times on each side for improved flexibility.
Hip Abductor Stretch
People “pull a groin” easily, usually because this area of the body is not well stretched. The hip abductors involve the groin area and should be stretched well before swimming or other physical activity. Sit on the floor with both feet together so the knees are bent and facing away from the body. Hold the ankles and push down on the knees to really feel the pull in this stretch. Hold for a good 15 seconds or longer. The butterfly works well for this also.
Swimmers can get injured just as any other athlete who is working out or performing a sport. Swimmer’s injuries sometimes occur in the shoulders, but can also involve the legs since they receive the most vigorous workout. Try these lower body stretches first to swim better, or visit The Joint Chiropractic to eliminate joint restrictions and see improvement because of that as well.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.