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Power Wellness Blog Archive

  • Swimming Safety for Your Shoulders

    Posted on 3/24/2016 by Corinne Meisel, P.T., DPT, SCS

    SwimmingSwimming has many health benefits and can be a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness in a low-impact setting throughout the year. As with any sports, however, injuries can occur. Swimmers most frequently reported injuries in one area of their bodies: the shoulder. In fact, shoulder injuries are so common the term “swimmers shoulder” has been coined to describe the group of anterior shoulder pain symptoms reported by swimmers during and after their time in the water.

    Swimmers shoulder is frequently the result of high volume and unbalanced training, but practicing the following tips can significantly reduce the risk of sustaining an injury.

    • Limit the amount of time you spend in the water swimming. Experts have determined that swimming more than 35,000 meters per week can increase your risk of developing a shoulder injury. Keep a daily log for an accurate description of when it’s time scale back on your distance.
    • Slowly ramp up you training program. Large jumps in training and pushing your body too much or too fast can result in an injury. If you haven’t been swimming much lately or are just beginning a swimming program, a general rule of practice is to increase your distance, time and intensity by 10 percent each week.
    • Like every sport, stretching before and after spending time in the water plays a vital role in preventing an injury. The best stretch for a tight posterior shoulder is known as the sleeper stretch. Lay on your back with your head supported, your bottom arm perpendicular to your body and your elbow bent 90 degrees. Use your top hand to gently push your bottom forearm toward the table until you feel a slight stretch or resistance by your shoulder blade. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times.  

     Sleeper Stretch

    • Practice perfect posture. The high demands swimming places on your shoulders can lead to rounding of the shoulders. Chin tucks and foam-rolling stretching can help in stretching your chest muscles and reducing swimmers shoulder symptoms. To practice a chin tuck, lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands resting on your stomach or to the side. Tuck your chin toward your neck to create a “double-chin.” Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times. 

     Chin Tuck

    • Strengthen your muscles on dry land by incorporating a strengthening program for your posterior shoulder muscles into your fitness routine. Common exercises such as “I’s,” “Y’s and “T’s” are three stretches which are commonly used to help strengthen shoulder muscles. Begin this series of stretches by placing your chest on a physio ball, focus your eyes on a spot just in front of the ball and raise your arms straight ahead until you feel tension in your upper back. Repeat by stretching your arms to reflect a “T” and “Y” shape. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat each stretch two to three times.

     T's Y's

    Before you take your mark and get ready to set your next personal record, remember these helpful tips and to include a warm-up and warm down. Now, take the plunge and happy swimming!

    Corrine Meisel By: Corinne Meisel, P.T., DPT, SCS. Corinne is a physical therapist and board certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy. Corinne works at our on-campus center located on St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, where she works with athletes of all ages and skill levels.


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    5/30/2017 6:36:44 AM by Fitness accountability app
    Great to share the information. Thank you for sharing. Fitness accountability app