Swimming QUICKGuide

Technique matters

Technique is essential in swimming when we are dealing with such repetitive motion, specifically in the shoulders.  Improper technique is a leading cause of injury.  Take the time to learn the correct technique, and focus on maintaining it while swimming.  A couple examples of poor technique causing injury are:

  • Crossing over midline in freestyle, when pulling in the shoulders.
  • Over rotating the shoulders from reaching beyond normal range.

USA Swimming has some great resources on technique that may be of benefit to you: http://www.usaswimming.org/

Eventually you’ll have to be a fish out of water

Swimming may be your preferred mode of exercise, but it’s important that you mix in dry-land, weight-bearing exercise as well.  For long-term bone health, weight-bearing exercise is essential, which unfortunately, you can’t get in the pool.  If you can, choose something that does not put heavy strain on the shoulders, to give those muscles a chance to rest and rebuild.

Protect those shoulders

When weight training, choose strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff, shoulder blade muscles and the deltoids on top of the shoulders.  Building strength in these areas will help protect the other structures in the shoulder from strain and overuse.   Examples include sitting press ups, prone horizontal abduction, scaption, side lying external rotation, and internal rotation.  You can Google any of these to see pictures of how to perform them.

Mix up the strokes

You don’t want to be doing the same stroke workout after workout.  This can increase your chances of overuse injury.  Integrating several different strokes into your swimming will create better muscle balance.

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  • Amy Beacom, M.D

    Amy Beacom, M.D.

    “Staying active has always been important to me — in and out of the water. That’s why I’ve dedicated my practice to treating running and swimming orthopedic injuries. So my patients are able to stay active too.”

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  • Kristen Holmen, PT, MPT

    “Posture is key to normal movement and function. I work to restore normal movement patterns and function so patients can continue to live the life they envision, whether that’s caring for their grandchildren or being a triathlete.”

    More about this expert

  • Naomi Krueger, PA-C

    “Acute injuries and chronic conditions can disrupt our plans and future goals. I enjoy working with patients of all ages in determining the best treatment plan to return them back to activities they enjoy.”

    More about this expert

  • Caroline Stommes, DPT

    “It is exciting to find out what is most important to each patient then developing a plan to help them
    return to those activities.”

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