Though it’s low impact, swimming can still be hard on the shoulders
Swimming is kind to the body—its low impact and near-weightless suspension can make your joints sing with joy. However, the repetitive movements aren’t always so forgiving, particularly on the shoulders. Below are three tips to help you avoid those pesky overuse injuries that can keep you from doing what you love.
Drill Early, Drill Often
Practicing proper technique is arguably the number one measure you can take to prevent or recover from an overuse injury. To avoid technique that can aggravate an injury, be sure to warm up with three to five drills before every workout. Drilling at the beginning of a workout forces you to focus on proper technique throughout the entire practice, rather than at the end of a workout when you may have already caused damage or pain.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools on that market that can help promote proper shoulder alignment and in turn, prevent or reduce pain during a workout. For instance, kicking with a kickboard is often seen as a safe alternative for aching shoulders; however, poor alignment often occurs while using a large, foam kickboard and that in turn causes strain on the shoulders. We recommend using a smaller kickboard and a snorkel to regularly practice proper alignment. When used together, a kickboard helps stabilize the shoulders while the snorkel ensures that the rest of the body is in line with the head and neck.
Listen to Your Body
Last, but certainly not least, always listen to your body. The best athletes in the world know when to push their bodies in times of discomfort, but they are also wise enough to know when to hold back. If you have persistent shoulder pain that doesn't go away after warm-up or stretching, play it safe and focus on other skills that give your arms a break such as kicking or dryland exercises.
When following the three tips above, be sure to select training tools that help promote elements such as shoulder alignment and proper stroke technique. The FINIS Alignment Kickboard is an example of such a product. The Alignment Kickboard has a hydrodynamic design that improves streamline and body position. With the stabilizing hand strap, you can control the board without gripping, creating a perfect alignment and less pressure on the shoulders. You can also use it with one arm, allowing the other arm to remain at your side, which is especially helpful if you need to take some stress off of an injured shoulder. Additionally, the FINIS Agility Paddles are a valuable tool for promoting proper technique on all four strokes. Maintaining proper technique is essential to completing a shoulder-safe workout.
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