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3 alternative exercises for developing strong shoulders

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 4 April '17 0
You are reading: 3 alternative exercises for developing strong shoulders

This article describes three alternative exercises useful for all four swim strokes, which will help you strengthen your shoulders (and not just your shoulders).

Statistically speaking, shoulder injuries are the most common among swimmers. This is due to the strain swimming places on your shoulder joints. This kind of injury has two causes: poor swimming technique (wrong shoulder movement) or a lack of strength in the water.

In a previous article Protect your shoulders, we looked at how many strokes a swimmer makes on average and, hence, the constant stress and strain on his/her joints. Obviously, the best way to prevent this kind of injury is to strengthen your shoulders.

This article describes three alternative exercises useful for all four swim strokes, which will help you strengthen your shoulders (and not just your shoulders)

1. Lateral raises in three directions

 

This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or elastic bands. As usual, the choice depends on how physically fit you are.

In a standing position with your elbows slightly bent, raise both your arms out in front of you simultaneously until they reach shoulder level. After returning to the start position, raise both your arms laterally; after returning to the start position again, raise your arms behind you up to an angle of 45°

Do 10 reps in each direction. Complete at least three sets.

  • This exercise works on three separate muscle groups in your deltoids, so it is perfect for strengthening all the muscles in your shoulders. This exercise is ideal at the beginning of the season or when recovering from an injury.

2. Shoulder blade squeeze.

In a front plank position with your body weight resting on your elbows, big toes and front of your feet.

While attempting to keep your body straight, lower your chest bringing your shoulder blades together. After completing the movement, return to the start position.

Perform this movement 10 times. Do at least 3 sets.

  • This exercise works on the serratus anterior that attaches your shoulder blade to your rib cage. This prevents injuries to the “winged scapula” and helps your shoulder blade rotate upwards lengthening your arm stroke.

3. Crab walk.

 

Sit on the floor with your hands on the ground. Perform a “bridge”, raising your hips off the ground and making sure your thighs, stomach and shoulders are aligned. Begin moving first your hands and then your feet, as if you were a crab. Make short movements, so as not to overload your shoulders.

Perform this exercise the 15 seconds. Do at least 3 sets.

  • This exercise works almost your entire body. Shoulders, rotator cuffs and triceps. Muscles you use when swimming all four strokes. Working on your shoulders will improve your arm recovery, concentrating on your rotator cuffs will increase your shoulder stability and, lastly, strengthening your triceps will improve your forward propulsion.
Sources
Swimming Anatomy – Ian McLeod, Calzetti Mariucci Editori
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