Fitness

The 11 Best Stretches For Swimmers

Do these before you dive in.

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Swimming is a full-body sport with a lot of rotational movements, so it’s ideal to warm up your shoulders, core, and joints with dynamic stretches before hopping in the pool, says i-tri swim coach Samantha Rothberg.

Here, stretches for swimmers that’ll get you ready to paddle.

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World’s Greatest Stretch

Rothberg recommends this move to mobilize your joints, warm up your lats, and get your heart rate up.

- Start in tall plank.

- Step right foot outside right hand.

- Lift right hand to sky, rotate torso.

- Hold 3 seconds.

- Repeat on left.

- Alternate 5x.

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Thread The Needle

Rothberg also likes this to prep for a swimming sesh.

- On hands and knees, sit back on hips.

- Stick left arm under torso.

- Bring left shoulder to ground.

- Unthread left arm, rotate to reach left arm to sky.

- Look up at left hand. Hold.

- Do 5x per side.

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Book Opener

Stretch expert Mara Kimowitz suggests this stretch for the shoulders and hips.

- Lie on side, knees bent 90 degrees, arms stacked in front of you.

- Raise top arm to ceiling, then back behind you to twist spine.

- Hold 15-30 seconds.

- Rotate back to start.

- Do 5x.

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Lunge With Trunk Rotation

StretchLab’s Austin Martinez says it’s key to stretch the core, glutes, and thighs.

- Stand feet together.

- Step left leg back.

- Plant foot, rotate upper body to right, away from reversed leg.

- Lift leg, return to start.

- Repeat on right, 10x each.

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Neck Stretches

This sequence from Martinez warms up the neck so you’ll be able to turn your head with ease during each swim stroke.

- Bring chin to chest. Hold 20 seconds.

- Bring chin to chest, then tilt head back.

- Bring ear to shoulder. Hold 20 seconds. Switch sides.

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Cross-Body Arm Swing

Trainer and national-level swimmer Olivier Poirier-Leroy suggests this move as part of a dynamic warm-up.

- Stand straight.

- Extend arms out.

- Swing arms forward. Cross arms front of you at chest.

- Swing arms as far back as they’ll go.

- Repeat 15-20 reps.

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Lateral Overhead Swings

Poirier-Leroy says these prime the lats and triceps.

- Stand, arms at sides.

- Swing right arm around back of head. Touch left shoulder with right hand.

- At same time, left arm swings across front of body to right armpit.

- Do 20 reps per arm.

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Hamstring Stretch

Trainer Matt Scarfo suggests this classic to wake up the legs.

- Step right foot forward, left foot under left hip.

- Keep right leg straight, slowly lower body down over front leg.

- Elevate leg for a deeper stretch.

- Hold 30 seconds.

- Repeat on left side.

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Wall Press

Trainer Jake Dickson recommends this stretch before you dive into the pool.

- Face a wall.

- Place palms against it, arms straight.

- Rotate torso away from arm.

- Feel a stretch in chest and shoulders.

- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.

- Repeat on the opposite side.

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Goal Post Squeeze

Dickson also likes this move to open the chest for a better swim stroke.

- Extend your arms in front of you.

- Bend elbows 90 degrees.

- Rotate arms open, squeeze shoulder blades together.

- Keep bend in elbows.

- Return to start.

- Repeat 10-15 reps.

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Lat Stretch

Poirier-Leroy says the lats power your arms in the water, so try this one after swimming to cool down.

- With one hand, hold onto a sturdy object at head height.

- Bend at the hips and sit back to create a gentle pull on the lats.

- Hold for around 30 seconds per arm.