10 stretching exercises for swimmers during and after swimming

10 post swimming workout stretching exercises

Stretching exercises for swimmers who learn how to swim,working on their swimming technique, from masters swimming, triathlon, open water , swimming beginners and more….

Most swimmers forget to stretch at the end of a swimming workout and don’t fully understand the importance of stretching.

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At the end of a workout, the body is much stiffer; there is lactic acid buildup in the muscle and pressure on the joints. High-level swimmers stretch for over an hour each day, both before and after the workout. On the other hand, an amateur swimmer, swimming between two to four workouts a week, wishes to be as productive as possible in a short period of time, or as they say “less is more” – tell me what to do, and make it short and clear!


Many swimmers do not stretch before a workout, and 50% of them are wrong to do so! Without proper stretching, especially after the age of 21, this may cause muscle fibers to pull or tear and induce pains.


The purpose of stretching is to protect the swimmer’s body, especially the neck, shoulders and lower back.
Only 7 minutes of stretching can create the right balance and allow a correct muscle build up (along with a proper diet of course).


At the end of the swimming workout and loosening exercises, the body is warmed up and therefore easier to stretch and achieve wider motion ranges that we couldn’t even come close to before the workout. When the motion range increases, so does our swimming becomes longer, our buoyancy is better, and most importantly – we prevent shoulders and back injuries.
Each stretch is done 4 times for 10 seconds per each arm or leg.
We recommend consulting WEST coaches to learn which of the 10 stretching exercises are more important for you, or join the WEST swimming technique program.

**the stretching swimming exercises are for for all swimming workouts, triathlon training, swimming lessons for adults or people who want to learn who to swim.


Video + exercise objective
1.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Arm on chest
In WEST swimming technique we believe in stretching during the swimming workout and at the end.
We place our arm on our chest at shoulder height, keep our head straight and back steady. Using the other arm we gently stretch the arm on the chest until we can feel the stretch, and keep stretching for about 10 seconds. We then shake the arm and stretch the other one. We can also turn our body towards the non-stretching arm (as in the video), to stretch our back as well. This stretch is relatively easy and suits almost everyone.

Exercise objective:
Stretching the triceps and posterior deltoid muscles, but no less important - when stretching properly and correctly, we also mildly stretch the gap between the spinal vertebrae and the shoulder blades. This area tends to cramp and accumulate all the pressure. Loosening the same area also enables a higher and easier elbow lift when swimming.
When learning how to swim or improving our swimming technique it is important to elongate your muscles especially next to the neck and lower back
2.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Hands behind our back holding the wall
In WEST swimming technique we believe in stretching during the swimming workout and at the end.
We place our hands on the wall behind our back, shoulder width apart and very slowly advance our body forward until we feel a strong stretch in the deltoid and biceps area. We hold for 10 seconds, shake our arms and repeat the stretch. Once we've reached the maximal stretch, we can then gently lift our leg towards the water surface and hold for another 10 seconds. Pointing our feet stretches the same muscles from a different angle.

Exercise objective:
In addition to stretching the anterior deltoid, the biceps and the chest muscles (three muscles that are under huge pressure when swimming), entering the shoulder blade in the water is particularly helpful for those who are not flexible, in painlessly lifting the elbow high above the water and releasing tension and stress.
3.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Standing with arms behind our back
In WEST swimming technique we believe in stretching during the swimming workout and at the end.
We stand with our back straight; one hand is wrapped around and holding the other, with both hands behind our back. We then slowly lift our arms up to 90 degrees relative to the body or as far as our flexibility allows us, keeping our arms straight. We hold for about 10 seconds with our arms stretched out, then shake the arms and repeat the stretch again, this time, grabbing with the other hand. It's important to know that this stretch is suitable for flexible swimmers, so if you experience difficulty or you feel that flexibility is not your strong feature, you might want to first practice exercise #2 with hands on the wall behind your back.

Exercise objective:
In addition to stretching the anterior deltoid and the biceps (two muscles that are under huge pressure when swimming), entering the shoulder blade in the water is particularly helpful for those who are not flexible, in painlessly lifting the elbow high above the water and releasing tension and stress.
When working on swimming techniques we try to think WEST, which means swimming in the grater angle we can but without pressure on our neck and lower back.
4.Stretching exercises for swimmers-- Fin stretch
In WEST swimming technique we believe in stretching during the swimming workout and at the end.
We lean on the wall, slowly lift our leg towards us and grab the fin. It's not important with which hand, but to grab the edge of the fin and stretch it towards us. This stretch is best performed with especially elastic rubber fin, to achieve the best result for the ankle.

Exercise objective:
Besides stretching the ankle, the twin muscles and the biceps femoris, the main purpose of this stretch is to keep our legs from cramping during swimming. Doing this stretch helps us gradually swim longer without cramping our muscles until they don’t cramp at all.

Additional primary purpose is the elongation of the lower back muscles. People who aren’t flexible or suffer lower back pains, can't bring their head to their knees (as in exercise #6), so this exercise lengthens the main muscles, which creates elasticity and reduces the load off the legs and back muscles.
5.Stretching exercises for swimmers- Toes on the wall, stretching the twin muscles

We place our heel about 10cm next to a wall or a pole, toes touching the wall and the leg is stretched straight. Once we've achieved a stretch, we slightly lean forward so we can feel it better. This exercise is very easy to perform, doesn’t require accessories such as fins and is very important for swimming, especially WEST swimming.

Exercise objective:
Stretching the ankle, the Soleus muscle and the twin muscle, especially the upper part of it. Those who are not very flexible will also feel their biceps femoris, which protects our lower back when kept flexible. Through stretching the ankle, walking will get more relaxed, we won't suffer shocks pressure and our walk will become lighter.
6.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Head to knee

We lift our leg about a meter high, keeping the other leg straight on the floor and bow our head towards our knee. We don’t have to actually touch the knee with our head, but to try and achieve a maximal stretch.

This exercise is very important for people suffering back pains. If, however, you still experience some difficulty and pain, just by lifting your leg, you should start first with a fin stretch, as in exercise #4 and a month later incorporate this stretch also. It is important not to catch the toes, so as not to stretch the twin muscle, but instead keep your hands under your knee during stretching.

Exercise objective:
Many swimmers spend hours at the computer and neglect one of the most important muscles, the biceps femoris. When this muscle is stiff and inflexible, it can easily affect us and cause back pains. In this exercise, we beautifully stretch the biceps femoris, the buttocks muscles and for those who are really not flexible - also the lower back muscles.
7.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Heel to bottom stretch

We stand with our back straight and bring our heel towards our bottom. We hold the rail or wall to keep a correct posture during the stretch. After 10 seconds of stretching we slowly release the leg, shake it and stretch the other leg. After about 5 seconds of stretching we can also contract the buttocks and thus neutralize other muscles and concentrate more on the stretched muscle.

Exercise objective:
To stretch and lengthens the quadriceps, to enable easier legs movement and protect the knees while stretching. People who suffer knee pains must stretch slower and avoid maximal stretch.
8.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Elbow behind the head

One hand is grabbing the opposite elbow behind the head. We should shift our head slightly forward to allow a better stretch.

Once we've achieved maximal stretch, we hold for 10 seconds, shake our shoulders thoroughly and repeat the stretch with the other hand.

It's important to know that this stretch is inadvisable for people who suffer neck pains or are not flexible. In this case we should first do exercises #1 and #2, and only after a while go back to this exercise.

Exercise objective:
To stretch the triceps brachii, loosen the shoulder blade and stretch the side muscles. Many do this stretch without bringing the elbow behind the head, but for swimmers, this increases the stretch length and reduces stress during swimming.

9.Stretching exercises for swimmers-Squatting stretch against the wall

We Lift our leg to about 1 m high on the wall with the other leg on the floor. Our foot is pointed the wall, spread not too far apart. We then slowly bend the front leg and lean our body towards the wall till we feel the stretch in the groin. We hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then release, shake the pelvis in the water, and lift the other leg up on the wall.

Exercise objective:
Increasing the spread motion range, stretching the groin muscles and allowing the legs to float better when swimming while protecting the lower back.
10.Stretching exercises for swimmers-An arrow towards the sky

We shake our shoulders to warm up the shoulders and shoulder blades. We place one palm on top of the other with the upper hand thumb is wrapped around the lower palm. We lock the elbows and stretch the arrow towards the sky for 10 seconds. It's important to note that if we are less flexible, we should stretch our arms upwards but in front of the head and not behind it, keeping our elbows locked.

Exercise objective:
In addition to extending the muscles and loosening the vertebrae, stretching the arrow upwards in accordance with our flexibility level, lengthens the back extensors, protects our lower back and increases our motion range during swimming.

If you want to learn exactly when to stretch and which stretching are good for you, join the swim WEST technique program and be ready for the change of your life.

Start today and get 50% off on your swim WEST freestyle course


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