Swimming is without doubt one of the best things you can do for your body. Water has a natural buoyancy that decompresses the joints and enables smooth, pain-free movement. Swimming also improves core strength and is one of the safest ways to maintain your cardiovascular fitness.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
Like any other physical activity, repeated movement patterns over time can lead to muscle imbalances. As a Physiotherapist working with swimmers, the most common area I see problems are in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
In the clinic, I find myself repeating the same set of exercises to my patients, so I thought I’d write this blog post to share with you in the hope you can avoid future issues.
The majority of swimming injuries are from overuse, relating to a gradual tightness that builds up over the years. Once the muscles have developed significant restrictions in flexibility, pressure starts to build in the spine and shoulder joint.
If you are consistent with your stretches and a few simple exercises, you can counter-act the typical muscle imbalances and stay pain-free in the water.
The foam roller is without doubt the best way to maintain your tissue quality, improve flexibility and maintain your muscle balance. Consistency is the key and the best time to do these exercises is straight after you swim.