October 24, 2016

How to prevent a common swimming injury: Swimmer’s shoulder

Here are ways to prevent one of the most common swimming injuries, to help you avoid shoulder pain caused by swimming. (Swimmer's shoulder.) Swimming is pretty low-impact, but the repetition of swimming brings a risk for injury. 

While swimming is relatively low-impact compared to running or biking, that doesn’t mean that you are completely in the clear as far as getting injured from swimming goes. The repetitive nature of swimming creates an opening for a possible swimming-related injury. One of the most common swimming injuries is swimmer’s shoulder. This happens when muscles and/or tendons that are used to rotate the shoulder become irritated or inflamed.

Work to try not to be a victim of swimmer’s shoulder! Here are some ways that can help to prevent one of the most common swimming injuries so you can avoid shoulder pain caused by swimming.

Practice swimming drills for good form

Good form prevents injuries. Good running form can help to prevent some common running injuries, good biking form (through a good bike fit!) can help to prevent some common cycling injuries, and good swimming form can help to prevent common swimming injuries! The best way to work towards proper swimming form is through incorporating swimming drills into every swim session.

Affiliate note! If you are looking for ideas on drills to work on for better form to keep those injuries away (and make you a faster and more efficient swimmer while you’re at it!) you can visit TriSwimCoach.com which can provide you with many resources. The (free) 3 day e-course includes videos that can be sent straight to your inbox that covers the topics:

  • How to prevent your hips from sinking
  • How to avoid dropping your elbows with better elbow recovery
  • How to kick better

You can take actionable steps to improve your swimming right away!

Side note!
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Warm up and cool down with easy swimming

Include 5 to 10 minutes of easy swimming before getting started on any intense training session as well as after you’ve worked those muscles hard. You want to prepare your muscles for the workout that’s coming, instead of just jumping right in.

ALSO: Tips to choose a triathlon wetsuit

Pre-swim (and post-swim!) stretching

Either as part of your warm-up or cool-down (or possibly both!), you can also incorporate some stretching of your upper body muscles that you engage while swimming. This can work well following your warm-up. Remember, when you swim you use more than just your shoulder muscles. It engages many of the muscles in your upper body including muscles of your upper back and side of your back to help you power through the water. Arm circles and shoulder rolls are good as a form of active stretching too.

It would be good to stretch after your cool-down swim as well! After you’re done with your training session, spend at least a couple of minutes stretching out the upper body. (Do this as you sit in the hot tub following your swim?) Yoga poses that work to open up the shoulders and work on the back are good poses for swimmers. (Do this while you’re in the sauna following your swim?) 🙂

Gradually increase your training

For many people training for a triathlon, swimming is often the discipline that is least focused on, and the least amount of days spent on. If life gets in the way, their swimming workout may be the first to go. This can lead to people wanting to make the most of every session and making their training session an intense interval workout.

Of course, interval workouts are a great way to increase your swimming endurance. Just be sure that before jumping into such intense interval workouts, you have built up to it so that your shoulders are adequately prepared for it. A strong upper body through strength training can help with this too.

ALSO: Tips to take off your wetsuit FAST



swim injuries / bike injuriesrun injuries / triathlon injuries


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