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Developing Strong Shoulders for Swimming

Swimming for fitness enhancement or competition involves a repetitive or cyclic action, which over time, can expose the athlete to overuse in the shoulder – sometimes referred to as “swimmer’s shoulder.” The causes range from shoulder strength imbalances, reduced endurance (over training and fatigue), muscle imbalances, prior injury history, and a detrimental shoulder range of motion – impingement. The most common swimming stroke is the freestyle or crawl technique.

Functional shoulder exercises for swimming should simulate movement in the upper torso— which propels the body—along with the trunk and legs, which stabilize and align the body in the water.

Step-in & Pull-back (Train in Reverse)

Anchor resistance tubing or stretch cord in front of the body at knee level. Face the anchor. Raise one arm above the head (reverse swimming stroke), while simultaneously lowering the opposite arm into extension (close to butt), as you take a controlled, small step (hip extension) away from the anchor – with the opposite leg from the extended hand above the head.

Keep the body uptight, with no twisting of the body during the arm movements.

Try a set of 15-20 repetitions.

Mackie and April share exercises every Wednesday on WWL-TV