Swimming Stretching Routine

A swimming stretching routine is a critical part of any swim training program. It helps athleticism, increases flexibility and guards against the risk of injury.

by Brad Walker | First Published October 31, 2010 | Updated August 31, 2017

Swimming is a demanding sport that requires high levels of cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility. A regular stretching routine helps to prepare the body for the various actions that will be performed when you swim.

Muscles used in Swimming

Swimming stretching video routineSwimming is an activity that works just about every muscle in the body, with particular emphasis on the core muscles, as well as the muscles of the arms, shoulders and upper back.

  • In freestyle, the main muscles used are the large muscles of the thigh, and the chest, back and shoulder muscles.
  • In the butterfly stroke, the abdominals, the lower back and the shoulder muscles are used.
  • In breaststroke, the gluteal muscles, thighs and chest are used.
  • While in backstroke, the leg muscles, chest and triceps are used.

The Benefits of a Swimming Stretching Routine

Having an effective swimming stretching routine as part of your swim training is crucial, as it goes a long way in improving your overall performance. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Stretching before swimming will help to increase the flexibility of your body so that you get maximum muscle contraction. It also helps to improve your overall performance.
  • When you stretch properly, the length of the muscle increases, leading to reduced muscle tension and increased range of motion. Due to the increased range, you can increase the distance the limbs move before damage to the tendons and muscles can occurs. This means that you will be able to move your limbs more freely while swimming.
  • A regular swimming stretching routine can help prevent injuries like:
    º Rotator cuff tendinitis, a condition that causes acute irritation in the shoulder tendons and muscles.
    º Knee tendinitis, a condition that causes irritation in the knee tendons and muscles.
    º Musculotendinous overuse injuries, generally of the shoulder and elbow.
  • Finally, even the most basic swimming stretching routine can just make you feel better. Glossing over it in your regular swimming training, however, could cost you dearly.

Despite the numerous benefits, it is important to bear in mind that stretching can have detrimental effects when done incorrectly. Improperly done stretches can over time cause permanent damage to ligaments and joint. When performing the stretching routine below, be sure to warm up first and if any of the exercises cause pain or severe discomfort, discontinue immediately. Review my article on the rules for safe stretching for more information.

Watch the Swimming Stretching Routine

Click on the play button below to watch the 10 minute swimming stretching routine video.

The Stretching Handbook, DVD & CD-ROMWhile the recommendations on this page are a good starting point, you'll get a lot more benefit when you include a wider variety of stretches.

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Get back to the activities you love. Whether it’s enjoying your favorite sport, or walking the dog, or playing with the grand kids. Imagine getting out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step. Or being able to work in the garden or play your favorite sport without “paying-for-it” the next day.

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Brad Walker - AKA The Stretch CoachAbout the Author: Brad is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 100's of testimonials. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.

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