Swimming is a highly repetitive sport that requires continuous reciprocal movement in the same patterns over and over again. This is how the best swimmers remain efficient and fast, but this is also what increases injury rates in swimmers. And due to the time requirements to practice stroke efficiency and form, many swimmers spend an extensive time in the pool. Prolonged time out of gravity actually begins to decrease the tensile force and strength within our body’s structures like bone, connective tissue and muscles. This is very similar to what happens to astronauts in space, which is why they have an intensive strengthening and prehabilitation program to decrease rates of degeneration when on earth or in space.
Swimmers require much of the same in terms of programming. Creating a routine to adjunct your current training plan does not need to be complex or require a bunch of equipment. Try these three exercises to work on shoulder, low back, and hip stability and strength as these are common areas of injury in swimmers. All you need is a long resistance band with or without handles!
Tabletop Heel Taps
- Keep core tension throughout this exercise. Low back should remain flush with the ground.
Quadruped Hip Extension
- Movement should be isolated at the hip joint. Low back should remain neutral and not extend during this exercise. This will limit the range of motion BUT will increase activation at your glute.
Short Seated Alternating Rows
- Be sure to sit fully onto your sit bones in this exercise and slightly lean your torso back to engage your core. You should feel one shoulder blade push away from midline as the other pulls back towards your spine, keeping your eyes gaze forward.
These three prehabilitation exercises will help you avoid injury and that will keep you improve your swimming.