If you’ve ever injured your shoulder, it can take a long time to heal. While swimming is a wonderful way to get in some exercise while protecting your injuries, it can also come with its own set of challenges. Whether you’ve waited until adulthood to learn how to swim or you’ve always had access to an olympic size swimming pool richmond, you shouldn’t have to deny yourself the pleasure of swimming just because you’re dealing with shoulder pain. To prevent any unnecessary suffering, here are a few tips for protecting your shoulder while you’re in the water.
Be Aware of Posture
When we swim, we’re aware of a weightless sensation that allows us to feel like we’re floating. However, that doesn’t mean that posture isn’t important while you’re in the water. Try to be aware of your body while you’re swimming. If you’re experiencing tightness or strain in any area, try to go easy and relax your body as much as you can. If you’re swimming laps, take some time to be aware of your posture and your breathing. Even swimming slow laps can lead to shoulder strain if you’re not careful. In fact, being in the water could make it easier for you to exacerbate a tear or strain since you might not feel it right away. When you’re swimming, be mindful of how you’re holding your body, and try to be as gentle as possible.
Use the Right Breathing Technique
Your neck and shoulder region already hold a lot of stress. When you’re swimming laps, it’s important to master the right breathing technique so that you don’t end up doing yourself any additional harm. There’s a reason why lap swimmers tilt their heads to the side when coming up for air. This practice is called bilateral breathing, and it doesn’t just allow for athletes to be faster in the water. It actually helps protect swimmers from straining their neck and shoulder region. Rather than bobbing up for air and having to support your neck in that uncomfortable position, use the natural, lateral position of your body to gently tilt your head up and to the side. This will help you get in more laps and make sure your shoulders don’t take on too much pressure.
Catch and Pull Position
The way swimmers angle their bodies in the water is based on a few aspects of the sport. First, it’s there for competitive reasons. Swimmers who use the “catch and pull” method, which allows the middle set of fingers to enter the water before the thumb, leads to better agility in the water and a decreased risk of shoulder injury. When your thumb is the first digit in the water, it might not seem to make a huge difference. But what actually happens if you’re not careful is that the thumb-first method causes your arm to twist internally and cause a tear or strain on your shoulder muscle. Using the catch and pull method helps you swim faster and protects your body from taking on too much “pull” from the water.