How can mobility, stretching and strengthening improve my swimming?
Mobility – modern day living has allowed our bodies to adapt to the uses of computers, mobile phones and slouching around! This results in fixed spines, making them feel stiff and restricted and having a knock-on effect to the other joints in our body. By improving mobility and decreasing stiffness in your shoulders, hips, spine, and ankles you can improve your stroke in many ways! You can achieve better rotation (less snaking up the pool!), improve your catch in the water, improve your streamlining and increase flexibility in your ankles which can improve your kick. When you have poor mobility and decreased range of movement, it diminishes power, efficiency and accuracy of your stroke!
Stretching - By using the foam roller and simple stretches as part of your training programme, you can increase the flexibility and range of movement at your joints. Where there is stiffness, the muscles must work harder to overcome this, so your body is using up valuable energy. With better flexibility, your technique and efficiency improve, vital energy is saved, and you can swim harder, faster and longer. Foam rolling and stretching can be used to warm up muscles before a session as well as after a session. Getting rid of lactic acid that has built up during your session will help aid in the recovery of your muscles and help prevent injury.
Strengthen – swimming isn’t just about moving your arms and kicking your legs. Good technique and speed are built on a strong core foundation. Land-based work can offer additional benefits to performance beyond those which are gained from swimming alone. By doing exercises that can strengthen your muscles, you are more able to apply more force in a given movement, whether it be to your stroke or a dynamic movement like your starts and turns.