Swimming is a sport many associate with power and strength, but flexibility can greatly help you improve technique and speed.
Being flexible not only allows you to be in the pool more as it lowers your chance of injury but it also helps you get into better body positions in the water and have a much more efficient stroke. The good news is everybody can improve on their flexibility!
So what does it mean to be flexible? Flexibility is the ability of your body to move freely around joints.
Your joints mobility is normally limited by your muscles but as you improve your flexibility, your muscles begin to lengthen out allowing for a greater range of motion. In swimming having this larger range of motion is great for your technique as you can have a more efficient and longer catch among many things.
Stretching before you swim is a great practice to have as it can help minimise fatigue and risk of injury while in the water. However, it is also good to stretch outside of the times you are at the pool as it is a great way to improve in the pool. Having a routine of stretching a few times a week can greatly improve your ability to swim with ease and pace. Some stretches that can help with your swimming mobility are listed below:
The triceps hold
Put one hand behind your head and gently pull your elbow towards your head with your other arm until you feel the stretch. Hold this for 15 seconds then repeat with your other arm. Do this 2-3 times.
Place one arm straight across your body from shoulder to shoulder and wrap the other arm around it pulling your straight arm closer to your body. Hold this for 15 seconds then repeat with your other arm. Do this 2-3 times.
Lie down length ways along a foam roller and move your arms from bent either side of your head into a streamline position slowly working your arms as far behind your head as possible. This can be done standing if you do not have a foam roller. Hold at the top and bottom for 15 seconds each and repeat 3 times.
Hip flexor stretch
Kneel and extend one leg to make a box shape underneath it. Slowly push your hips forward to create a stretch along your hip flexor. Hold this position for 15 seconds then switch legs and repeat 2-3 times.