Exercises and Tips to Prevent Swimmer’s
Shoulder Developing shoulder strength will reduce your chance of injury
In training, a competitive swimmer may swim six to eight kilometers per day and easily accumulate one million strokes per year in the pool. These figures frequently indicate another issue: shoulder pain.
An estimated 65 percent of swimmers suffer from a shoulder injury at some stage. What’s the reason? Overuse. Rotating shoulder joints over and over again may be taxing for even the most athletic athlete.
So, other than restricting your laps, how can you avoid the swimmer’s shoulder? Let’s talk about it with physical therapist Kelly Kinsey, DPT.
What exactly is a swimmer’s shoulder?
Your shoulders function as a complex and unstable network of tendons, muscles, and bones. These ball-and-socket joints have a remarkable range of motion thanks to their many moving components. In fact, no other joint in your body can equal the mobility of the shoulder.
Swimming, on the other hand, may strain your shoulders to their physical limits.
Repeated arm motions against water resistance can cause shoulder tendons to become irritated and swollen, according to Kinsey. This swelling can put pressure on other tendons as well as adjacent bones and muscles, resulting in shoulder impingement.
Tiny rips in tendons and muscles are possible. The injury clogs the joints in your shoulders, making simple movement difficult.
Swimmer’s shoulder symptoms include:
- Muscle tiredness or weakness
- Limited range of motion.
- Instability of the shoulders.
- Shoulder ache.
Suggestions for avoiding swimmer’s shoulder
If you swim a million strokes in a pool every year, it’s reasonable to assume you’re at risk for an overuse injury, according to Kinsey. However, there are strategies to reduce that danger when training.
Conditioning that is focused
Do you want to avoid the swimmer’s shoulder? Then, focus on developing strength and stability in your shoulder girdle, or the muscles that surround and within your shoulder.
A poor swimming stroke might be exacerbated by shoulder girdle weakness. A breakdown in form can place additional strain on your rotator cuff and biceps, setting off a chain reaction that can lead to injury.
The exercises listed below can help you gain shoulder strength and improve your posture:
External rotational wall slides
This exercise will assist in the improvement of scapular alignment and shoulder rotation.
1. Place your back against a wall. Bend your arms 90 degrees so that your elbows, forearm sides, and pinky fingers are against the wall. (Your thumb will be pointed in your direction.) Your arms should be shoulder-width apart and shoulder-width apart.
2. Slide your arms up the wall slowly, then return to the 90-degree angle. As you travel up and down, keep your arms in touch with the wall. Your arms should move parallel to each other. (Another option is to wrap an exercise band over your forearms to hold them in place.)
3. Repeat the action five times per set while keeping your back straight. Don’t take a step forward. Finish three sets.
Lat pulldown when lying down (with a towel)
This exercise improves your upper back muscles and shoulder girdle, which are neglected.
1. Place your face down on the floor. Extend your arms like Superman is flying. Hold the towel in both hands, which should be somewhat broader than shoulder width. Hold the cloth taut.
2. Bend your arms and bring the towel toward (and beneath) your chest, maintaining them parallel. During the action, arch your back slightly, enabling the towel to glide beneath you.
3. Repeat five times for a total of three sets.
V-shaped arm lift
This exercise will work the majority of the muscles in your shoulder girdle.
1. Start from a standing position. Extend your arms and bring your hands together to form a V shape. Keep your thumbs pointing upward.
2. Maintaining the V form, slowly lift your arms to the ceiling. (At first, simply raising your arms is sufficient. Feel free to add a 1- or 2-pound weight or a can from the pantry later.)
3. Return to your starting point. Rep five times more.
According to Kinsey, most swimmers are not just flexible but also hypermobile. The key to stretching is to not overdo it.
A simple upper extremity warm-up of five to ten minutes should be sufficient to stimulate blood flow and prepare your muscles for an exercise. Try to avoid partner stretching, which can be overly harsh.
Do not train through the discomfort
Muscle weariness and pains are common side effects of training. However, there is a distinction between “healthy” discomfort and early indicators of significant damage, which may include:
- Reduced range of motion.
If the symptoms appear unusual, attempt to identify any possible causes. Was the intensity of your training, for example, higher? Or did you increase your training mileage or alter your stroke mechanics?
If there are no other reasons for the symptoms, take a few days off from exercise to rest your shoulder and allow the joint to recover. If a pause in exercise does not help, consult your doctor, sports trainer, or physical therapist.
Ignoring the discomfort will not make it go away. Your inflammatory reaction will worsen if you continue to swim to work through the injury. This will make it more difficult to evaluate and treat the injury, as well as make healing more difficult.
“Pay attention to your body,” Kinsey suggests. “The earlier a possible problem is detected and handled, the higher the chances of a faster and healthier recovery.”