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Shoulder Stretches for Swimmers

Shoulder Stretches for Swimmers

If you’re a swimmer or triathlete, you’re probably familiar with shoulder pain.

With thousands of shoulder rotations in a single training session, it’s no surprise your shoulders can take a beating.

Unfortunately, shoulder issues have a habit of getting worse over time if we don’t address them proactively.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few simple exercises that can help loosen up and strengthen your shoulders.

These are quick to perform and ideally you’ll do them daily. They also make for a great pre-swim warmup.

Shoulder PAILs /RAILs

These isometric exercises can be extremely effective for shoulder mobility. You can also do a standing variation where you press into a wall right on the pool deck rather than pressing into a bench.

Shoulder CARs

This mobility exercise is great as you can do it in varying levels of tension as you get comfortable with them.

Open Books

While this is technically a spine rotation exercise and not a shoulder exercise, having limited rotation through your spine creates unwanted tension in your shoulders when swimming. This exacerbates any shoulder issues as you have to stretch them even further if your spine rotation is limited.

This can be a great stretch to start with before moving into the PAILs/RAILs and CARs exercises shown above.

Fun Facts

  • PAILS/RAILS is an acronym for Progressive Angular Isometric Loading and Regressive Angular Isometric Loading
  • CARs is short for Controlled Articular Rotations.

Extra Homework

In addition to your shoulder exercises, making sure your chest and back aren’t tight as that can “pull” on your shoulder and create shoulder issues with repetitive use.

Consider adding at least one chest stretch and back stretch to your regular program.

Better yet, mix in mobility exercises for your whole body, which can be found in our Mobility Drills playlist

Need Some Help With Your Shoulders?

Our therapy team is here to help and get you on the right track. For acute shoulder issues you’ll want to see a Massage Therapist or Physiotherapist. For proactive shoulder strength, stretching & mobility, come visit one of our Certified Athletic Therapists.