A good stretch before or after a workout can do wonders for the body. Even though swimming is considered a low-impact sport, there is still the risk of injury. But having a solid stretching routine in place before and after a race, or even a casual dip in the pool, can help you prevent any issues. Try these swimming stretches to avoid injury and stay healthy in the water.
4 Pre-Swimming Stretches to Avoid Injury
High-level swimmers often stretch for over an hour a day before and after a workout in the pool. Without proper stretching, you can leave yourself open to injury and poor athletic performance.
To protect your back, shoulders, and neck, consider adding these pre-swimming stretches to your routine:
- Child’s Pose: Before getting in the pool, kneel on the floor with your knees together, and your big toes touching each other. Stretch your hands as far forward as possible and press down into the ground until you feel a stretch in your shoulders. Hold this pose for a good minute and repeat as needed.
- Hands Behind Your Back: Once you enter the pool, use the swimming lane lines or pool edge to hold your hands behind your back, shoulder-width apart. Slowly move your body forward until you feel a long stretch in the deltoids and biceps. To maximize the stretch, lift one leg towards the pool’s surface.
- Quadricep Stretch: Stand up straight in or out of the pool and bend one leg at the knee. Grab your foot with one or both hands and pull your foot into your back. Hold and then repeat using the other leg.
- Toes on the Wall: To stretch your calves, place your heel next to the wall, and using a swimming lane line for balance, place your toes touching the wall. Make sure your leg is stretched straight, and lean forward to feel a deep stretch. Repeat using your other foot.
4 Post-Swimming Stretches to Avoid Injury
At the end of a swim, it’s easy to head straight into the locker room to shower and change. However, when your body is warmed up and loose, it’s even easier to get deep stretches that help you reach a broader range of motion, improving your abilities for future swims.
Try the following swimming stretches at the end of your workout to continue building your range of motion in the pool and aid in muscle recovery:
- Streamline Stretch: Lift both arms over your head and place your right hand on top of your left. Push up as much as you can through your shoulders and back. Lean your torso and arms to each side and hold to feel a deep stretch.
- Calf and Foot Stretch: Stand up in the pool on your toes between racing lines. Slowly lift your body on your toes and then return to a neutral position. Repeat this a few times using both legs to relieve the pressure from swimming in a flexed position.
- Deep Back Stretch: Face the pool pace clock and hold onto the edge of the pool. Slowly walk your legs up the wall until your knees are pressed into your chest. Lower your head between your shoulders to feel a deep stretch in your upper and lower back. Release the stretch and repeat.
- Butterfly Stretch: Sitting with your back straight on the ground, bend your knees, so your calves rest gently on the floor. Place the soles of your feet together and press down on your knees for a deep stretch of your inner thighs and groin area.
Another important thing to do after your swimming competition or workout is to stay hydrated! Be sure to drink plenty of water after exiting the pool and eat a snack high in carbohydrates to refuel your body.
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