If you do, great. If you don’t, this post is for you.
Today I am not going to bore you with why you should stretch, but rather give you one stretch to incorporate into your busy life that will dramatically improve your swimming, posture, and overall happiness. You’re welcome.
I’m a big believer in specific cross training for swimmers. Running and biking, as related to this post are not considered cross training for over-used swim muscles. If you had any difficulty getting into a tight streamline as discussed in last weeks blog, you should consider adding some form of consistent stretching to your training program or workout schedule.
When forming a new habit, it is important to not over do it in the beginning. Keep it simple. An approach I adhere to is making my new endeavor so easy I can’t say no to doing it.
Here’s the challenge: 1 stretch for 1 minute for 2 weeks. You in?
If I had to pick ONLY one stretch for swimmers I would pick this chest stretch. Daily life has us in a constant state of rounded shoulders and poor posture. Whether you are sitting at a computer, texting, or driving, rarely are you demonstrating good posture. Swimming freestyle will also add to this rounding of the shoulders. Let’s get started.
Bend your elbow at a 90 degree angle and keep your head up in a neutral position. Slowly turn your body away from your arm to get a nice safe stretch in the chest. No need to over do it. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. (60 seconds and you’re done!)
A stretch you should NEVER do is this straight arm version often seen in swim practices worldwide. This places your shoulder in a precarious position and should be avoided.
Of course there are many stretches that are wonderful for swimmers, but today I am concerned with developing the habit of just one. And this one will make a major impact on your posture and shoulder flexibility.