Mobility and stability exercises can improve your shoulder health, strength, and range of motion
The streamline is a tough position to get into under the best circumstances. Adding in the normal effects of life can make it feel nearly impossible.
But streamlining is a critical part of swimming efficiently. If you feel like you’re battling your body to get into streamlined position, chances are you’re facing a lot of resistance coming off your starts and turns. The key to maximizing your streamlined position throughout your swimming life is implementing regular mobility and stability exercises so you can get into a good streamlined position.
Range of Motion
To kick things off, focus on improving your range of motion with these simple exercises. If you’re new to these types of movements, you might feel a lot of tension at first. The great news is that the more you complete these movements, the faster the positive effect will show. With any range of motion exercise, avoid holding your breath as you complete the movement by breathing through tense points.
Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take minimal rest between exercises and rounds.
- Floor angel x 12
Think about your lower back position while doing the floor angel. Think about pressing all of the air out of the area between your lower back and the floor. As you slide, avoid shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, and remember to breathe when you feel any tension.
- Shoulder-touch angel x 12
The shoulder-touch angel challenges you to move your shoulder blades through a large range of motion. This will help free up tension you might experience from a desk-bound career or long commutes. As you complete the touch, think about driving your elbows forward as you pull your hands back. Move slowly and only go as far as you can without a forceful effort.
- Shrugs + band x 12 on each side
Adding in a band shrug will help break up the tension that might be limiting your ability to reach overhead. Before you complete this exercise, look into a mirror while reaching your arms overhead. Take note of the distance between your arms and your ears. Does one arm have more distance from your ear than the other? Now complete this exercise and reassess your overhead reach. You’ll notice a difference in your ability to reach directly overhead. Doing this exercise right before swim practice will free you up to hit a nicer streamline early on in practice.
Strength and Stability
Now that you’ve primed your shoulders for movement, the next step is to add in some strength and stability. Your shoulders do a large amount of work during swim practice. Making sure they’re strong and prepared for the task at hand will help minimize the aches and pains you experience throughout your swimming life.
Complete three rounds of the following exercises. Take one minute of rest between exercises and rounds.
The Z-press will challenge your ability to move through your mid-back while strengthening your shoulders. Think about pressing the back of your knees into the ground as you drive the weights straight overhead. Think about finishing the press with your arms in line with your ears.
- Underhand row + dumbbell x 8 on each side
The underhand row will help you drive home the skill of pulling without shrugging your shoulder toward your ear. When you shrug your shoulder during a pulling motion, you’ll eventually feel neck tension. By adding this underhand row variation, you can practice proper pulling mechanics and build strength
- Chest circles x 8 each direction
Finish out your strength and stability training with chest circles. Focus on maintaining a quarter-squat position throughout the movement. This is your base of support. As you complete the circles, focus on not falling out of position with your base of support.
- Technique and Training