We’ve been focusing on our swim training lately and that means we’ve been doing lots of laps and lots of open water swims. One of the first things we noticed is that every time we swim in open water, it gets easier… or at least the water seems less scary according to Jess.
Another thing we noticed is that our shoulders were getting pretty tight, so we had to be more diligent about stretching and warming up before and after we swam.
*Side note: if your shoulders get tight and lose flexibility, it will alter your swim technique and hinder your stroke.
So here are 6 quick and easy stretches to do before and after your triathlon swim training:
1. Jack & Jill’s
This dynamic stretch comes from the military and since they use it before they do thousands of pushups, I think it’s good enough for us to use before we swim what feels like thousands of laps. This one’s great because it warms up your major muscles in your upper body, but also loosens up your rotator cuff muscles.
Keep your upper arms at a 90 degree angles and think about pressing backward with your palms to get a better stretch.
2. Chain Breakers
These warm up your chest and the front of your shoulders as you press towards the rear; and your lats, upper back and the back of your shoulders as you cross in the front.
Begin with your elbows bent and as you warm up more, you can extend your arms to get a deeper stretch.
3. The Swimmer Stretch
I love this stretch because it feels great and helps to pulls my shoulders back to improve my posture by stretching all the muscles in the front of the chest and shoulders. These are the muscles in the stroke phase of your swim, or when you pull your arm down after it enters the water.
This is an easy one that you can also do throughout the day while your sitting at your desk at work.
4. Shoulder Stretch
Many swimmers get tight lats after a tough swim workout, so use this stretch by pulling your arm across your body. Try different angles to target your sore spots. Start with your arm straight across your body, then try with your arm angled down and then with your arm up under your chin.
5. Arrow Stretch
Press your palms together and reach to the sky to straighten your elbows all the way. It’s important to keep your arms pressed backward to get more of a stretch in your lats (back) and triceps. Next, lean from the hip without letting your shoulders rotate and you’ll feel this stretch all the way along the side of your body.
6. Doorway Stretch
This is one of my all time favorite static shoulder stretches. It’s great for swimming because it stretches the muscles that are directly responsible for moving your through the water.
With your elbow at a 90° angle, lean your body weight forward like you’re reaching to pick something off of the floor. Then, gently rotate your body away from the tree or doorway to stretch and open up your chest.
Sometimes it’s hard to add a warmup and stretching routine to your triathlon swim training because it takes a little bit of extra time. However, stretching is so important and will not only help you have better workouts and improved swim techniques, but it will also keep your arms and shoulders feeling great. (And it will also keep you out of the doctor’s office because it helps you avoid injuries!)
So take a few minutes and warmup with these stretches before your next swim. Your shoulders will thank you!