Let’s see how your swimming can benefit from stretching!
There is plenty of writing, reading and interest in training seen as exercise in preparation for something. There is very little reading or writing and even less interest in what ought to be done before and after your main training session, something which, let’s be clear about this … is still part of your training!!!
One of these things is stretching and today I would like to explain how it can become a vital ally for all swimmers. For this to be the case it is something you obviously need to do regularly: not 1-2 hours, 2-3 times-a-week, just 15’-20’-a-day.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, stretching is not a common practice. For youngsters in particular (it really ought to be done during the developmental period), but for the less young as well, it makes your muscles more flexible and can help prevent trauma or injuries, counteracting those hours of hard work spent doing physical exercise. It also helps you improve your general body coordination and increases the blood flow, “cleaning out” your muscle tissue.
The biggest benefit of stretching for swimmers concerns the flexibility (or mobility) of your joints:
– Improving the mobility of certain joints will allow you to perform a leg kick or arm recovery without interfering too much with the alignment of your body
– Greater mobility in other joints will allow you to handle the drive coming from your arms and legs more efficiently and for longer
– A more flexible swimmer will expend less energy for the same amount of exertion compared to a less flexible swimmer.
The basic principle of stretching is that when performing any exercise you should extend until you start to feel slight muscular resistance. Extending too far can result in excessive stretching, so stop before you feel any pain!
Be very careful when performing exercises involving your shoulder joints: since they come under considerable exertion while swimming, avoid any exercises that place the top of the humerus under even more strain.
There are various different kinds of stretching. Next time we will look at the best kind to perform before training!