Post-training static stretching should be part of every workout, but has been known to ‘slip through the net’ for some of us. Swimming pools, particularly when a lot of clubs are training, can be hectic environments. Finding the space after to perform your static stretches may prove difficult.
Expert swim coach Glenn Shepherd has put together a short routine that can be done anywhere, and incorporates just 5 simple stretches.
The stretches target the large muscles used in competitive swimming, and areas that are prone to injury and each stretch should be performed for a minimum of 30 seconds and repeated twice on every body part!
But before you begin your post-session stretch routine, allow your tendons and muscles to relax with an all-body shake down by lightly swinging and rotating your arms, trunk, and legs. Providing you didn’t experience any pain in the shake down, you are now ready to stretch:
The Pectorals, Anterior Deltoid & Serratus Anterior Stretch
There are many variations of this type of stretch but keeping it simple is what it’s all about.
To perform correctly, stand with your chosen arm extended to the side or rear of your body, parallel to the ground. Hold onto a stable object and turn your shoulders and body away from the outstretched arm.
You should feel this stretch in the upper corner of the chest, which connects to the front of your shoulder.
The Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major Stretch
Similar to the chest stretch above, there are many variations to the back stretch. The image shown here represents a safe and effective way to stretch out those big muscles in your back.
Simply stand and raise your arms above your head. Cross your arms at the wrist and hold in a semi-streamlined position. Reach up as high as you can and then over to one side. Make sure you lean to the side and not forward as this will reduce the stretch acting on the muscles in your back.
You should feel this stretch from the side of your upper torso, just underneath your shoulder, right through to the top of your arm.
The Triceps Bracii Stretch
This exercise tends to isolate the triceps brachii so be careful not to overdo it. To perform this stretch correctly, stand tall, with your head looking forward. Raise the arm you want to stretch up above your head and bend it at the elbow, placing your palm just below your neck. With the opposite arm, place your hand on the bent elbow and gently force the stretching arm downwards.
You should feel this stretch on the back of your upper arm.
The Hamstrings Stretch
One of the most prone areas to injury and definitely an area you will want to avoid muscle stiffness. As mentioned with the tricep brachii stretch, this exercise will isolate the hamstrings so pay close attention to your pain threshold during this stretch!
To perform, Sit on the floor with one leg outstretched in front of you and the other leg bent with the sole of the foot placed against the thigh of the outstretched leg. Slowly slide one arm down the outstretched leg and try to touch your toes. Change legs when necessary. You should feel this stretch down the back of your outstretched leg.
To increase this stretch, raise your outstretched leg up off the floor supported by a pillow or step underneath your heel.
The Iliopsoas and Quadriceps Stretch
This stretch requires some balance so to start stay close to a wall or chair for support. Kneel down on one foot and the other knee. Make sure your forward leg creates a 90˚ angle and that your torso is perpendicular to the ground to start. Once in the position, gently push your hips forward stretching your iliopsoas, shown in Part 1. Gently maneuver into Part 2 by raising your foot up to your hip and hold the position with your hands, stretching the quadriceps.
You should feel this stretch along the front of your hip and thigh.
So there you go! It’s easy, it’s important, and it’s beneficial not just for your posture but also your performance. Be sure to let us know how you are enjoying the new found flexibility for the season ahead.
For more expert advice, whether you are a beginner or aiming to become a winning competitor, you can contact Glenn to arrange a training session here.
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