Stretches for Swimming
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Stretches for Swimming


Swimming workouts utilize almost your entire body. In order to prevent injury, stretching is very important. When stretching, you should make sure you cycle through all parts of your body. This guide covers the main stretches that you should use for your arms, back, and legs. For each stretch, hold the position for 30 seconds, and repeat for both sides.

Arms & Shoulders

It’s pretty clear why competitive swimmers have strong, broad shoulders. No matter what stroke you swim, you can’t avoid using your arms and shoulders. That’s why it is so important to focus on them while stretching.

Elbow Pull for Your Arm Pit

In swimming, you’re constantly using the muscles that surround your arm pit. Every pull you take — for all four strokes — uses these muscles which include your triceps, lats, and various shoulder muscles. Make sure you stretch them out really well. Here’s how:

1. Place your right hand behind your head, and point your elbow straight up.

2. Take your left hand and place it on your right elbow.

3. Pull your right elbow inward with your left hand.

4. Hold this position. Then switch arms, and repeat.

Wall Press for Your Front Shoulder

The front of your shoulder is always a hard place to stretch. The wall press is a great way to access those hard to reach muscles. Follow these steps for a good wall press:

1. Place your right hand on a wall at shoulder height. Place your palm on the wall so your thumb is facing upward.

2. Slightly bend your right elbow.

3. Twist your body to your left — away from the wall.

4. Hold this position. Then switch arms, and repeat.

Legs & Buttocks

Since the kick propels you through the water, you will likely rely on your legs and buttocks muscles extensively. Make sure you spend some time stretching out these muscles.

Wall Lean for Your Calves

This stretch is great after long kicking sets. After you feel that burning sensation in your calves, wall leans are a great way to loosen them up. Here’s how to do a wall lean:

1. Place your hands on a wall at about shoulder-height. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart. Lean against the wall while facing toward it.

2. Scoot your right foot back as far as it can reach without straining it.

3. Place your right heel on the ground.

4. Keep your right leg straight.

5. Hold this position. Then switch legs and repeat.

Pretzel Stretch for Your Buttocks

Believe it or not, you use your buttocks a lot in swimming. You use it while you kick. You also use it every single time you push off the wall. Think about how many turns you do in every practice! You’ll soon realize how much these muscles are utilized when you begin this pretzel stretch. Follow these steps for a good pretzel stretch:

1. Sit down on the ground.

2. Bend your right leg, and place the sole of your foot flat on the ground.

3. Lift your left leg up, and place your left ankle on your right thigh.

4. Push your left knee away from you. If you’re not feeling the stretch, scoot your right foot in closer to your buttocks.

5. Hold this position. Then switch legs, and repeat.

Butterfly Stretch for Your Inner Thighs & Groin

There are a fair amount of groin injuries that occur in swimming: Especially in breaststroke. To help prevent inner thigh and groin injuries, make sure you stretch them out really well.

1. Sit up tall on the floor.

2. Bend your knees and relax your calves against the floor.

3. Press the soles of your feet together.

4. Hold your feet so that they remain touching. For a deeper stretch, press down on your knees.

Back

In freestyle and backstroke, you constantly rotate from side-to-side. This uses your laterals and lower back constantly. Spend some time stretching out your back to get your muscles feeling loose.

Model Pose for Your Laterals

Swimmers tend to have very defined laterals for a reason. You are constantly overworking these muscles in practice. The model pose is a fantastic stretch to loosen up your overused laterals.

1. Sit on the floor.

2. Bend your left leg, and place your left foot flat on the ground.

3. Straighten your right leg.

4. Cross your left foot over your right leg.

5. Take your right elbow and press it diagonally against the outside of your left leg.

6. Push against your leg, and twist your torso.

7. Hold this position. Then switch sides and repeat.

Child’s Pose for Your Lower Back & Hips

The child’s pose will feel so good after practice! Your lower back can feel increasingly sore after practice. This stretch does a great job of accessing those lower back and hip muscles. Follow these steps for a good child’s pose:

1. Kneel down so that your whole shin is touching the floor.

2. Touch your legs together.

3. Rest your thighs on your calves.

4. Lean over your thighs so your belly touches your legs.

5. Lay your forehead on the ground.

6. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms facing downward.

After Practice

Although many swimmers stretch before practice, it’s even more important to stretch afterward. When you’re done with your workout, take just a few minutes to stretch out your muscles. Think about it as a warm-down. Stretching after practice will help you loosen up, and let your body repair for your next workout. You’ll feel great for your next practice!

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coco the dog
4 months ago.
hi I will have swim practice today for 2 hour non stop hard work! I will try these stretches. hopefully they will work on me
EatMyBubbles
7 months ago.
These are good stretches for before a meet. :)
Coco the dog
4 months ago.
yes they really are!!!!!
retired swimmer
10 months ago.
I looked at your stretches and I could't find anything for your outside shoulder. I may have done a bit too much on my pull and now my arms hurt like crazy.
Sochi Mace
10 months ago.
I meant do you know any stretches for the top of your thighs?
SwimOutlet
9 months ago.
Bend your right leg and grab your right foot with your right hand. Keep your knees close together as you bend your knee and point it straight down as much as you can. Push your hip forward slightly until you feel the stretch really engage across your hip and down the front of your thigh. Repeat for the left leg.This is only one of many stretches. You can find many when browsing online that will provide pictures with the steps. I hope this helps!
Over Trained Swimmer
3 months ago.
Kneel on the ground with your shins on the ground and your thighs on you calves. Rest your back against a wall. Slowly slide out from the wall as if you were lying down but with your legs still in the same position.
Carol
1 year ago.
I would love if you sold posters of this will swimmers doing the stretches. I work at at boys and girls club and encourage the swimmers to stretch before training but do not have staff to direct and these pictures would be helpful for our team.
Jens
10 months ago.
Stretching before workouts is not useful. Warming up is essential, but stretching only takes away the 'Warm' in your muscles (this is because of excentric muscle tension). Stretching after a workout/cooling down however is useful and preventive for injuries. Just sharing some knowledge ;)
Swimmer
1 year ago.
QUESTION: Do these stretches make you faster in the water? I hope they do I have a practice right now!
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Swimmer, These stretches don't necessarily make you faster, but they are good to do in order to prevent injury.
Eleanor
1 year ago.
These really helped me I had a big meet thanks QUESTION: are they're any stretches that could stretch in between the shoulder blades or neck?
Sochi Mace
10 months ago.
You can clasp your hands together in front of you and hook them over something, then lean back.
Grizzly
1 year ago.
Wall Press for Your Front Shoulder
1. Place your right hand on a wall at shoulder height. Place your palm on the wall so your thumb is facing upward.

QUESTION: Why does the picture not show this? Why does picture show her with her left hand on wall and not her right hand?


Pretzel Stretch for Your Buttocks and Model Pose for Your Laterals
QUESTION: Why do the pictures have A, B, and C when the instructions are numbered? Is A = 1 or is A = 2?
Swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Grizzly, for the Wall Press for Your Front Shoulder you can start with either right or left hand because you will be switching then repeating. For the pretzel stretch for your buttocks, you would get ready by sitting down on ground then A=2, B=3, and C=4 then you would hold this position, switch legs, and repeat. For model pose for your laterals you start by sitting on the floor then A=2 & 3, B=4, and C=5&6 then hold this position, switch sides and repeat. We apologize for the confusion!
Grizzly
1 year ago.
Please explain how your reply answered my questions.
QUESTION #1 was: Why does the picture not show this?
QUESTION #2 was: Why does picture show her with her left hand on wall and not her right hand?
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Grizzly, the reply "for the Wall Press for Your Front Shoulder you can start with either right or left hand because you will be switching then repeating" was in response to both questions since it answered both. To be more clear, the picture does not show this because the woman pictured started off with her left hand instead of right. The picture shows her using the left hand on wall and not her right hand because you can start off with whichever hand you'd like since you will be switching hands so ultimately both side will get the same stretch. Have a great day!
Grizzly
1 year ago.
Good thing you do not write instructions to put things together.
Gator
1 year ago.
I love theese stretches! I have the biggest meet EVER tonight and I am totally gonna rock it thanks to you guys!
Joshua C
1 year ago.
These stretches definitely help me for my morning and afternoon swims because it stretches out my muscles and makes me more flexible in the water. I use these stretches and a few other ones when swimming, but I am always having tight muscles in my neck and was wondering if you would know any stretches that would help with it. Thanks!
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Joshua,
There are many exercises you can do to stretch the neck. One exercise is the seated clasping neck stretch. You can sit on a chair or the floor. You start off by clasping your hands and bringing both palms to the back of your head while sitting with a straight spine. Make sure to ground your hips firmly into your seat. Then slowly press your hands down towards the thighs while tucking your chin into your chest. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds then release. This is only one of many stretches. You can find many when browsing online that will provide pictures with the steps. I hope this helps!
Serenity
1 year ago.
Thank you so much for these stretches!
I am the Individual Medalist for my team and I always tend to get muscle aches and cramps after my swim. My torso seems to hurt most often, any suggestions for it?
Thanks Again!
swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Serenity,
I'd suggest to incorporate torso stretches along with your daily stretches. You can find a variety of torso stretches online, just enter torso stretches on goggles to find the exercise that best works for you!
Soeren
1 year ago.
Will definitely try these out
Brianna
2 years ago.
I have a meet today and this was helpful except I wish there was something to do with your neck because I have neck pains after practices
Tschida
2 years ago.
How about between the shoulder blades?
Gracie
2 years ago.
I am an age group distance swimmer. My shoulders are tight the day after the 1000. These are great for loosening those muscles.
Swimmer
2 years ago.
Amazing stretches!
Fred
2 years ago.
I'm 80 years old and swim half mile 6 days a week. These stretches are a great help as a post swim effort to reduce extreme muscle stiffness the next morning. Thanks.
Talya
3 years ago.
Thanks so much for posting this! I'm a high school swimmer, and my muscles are always SO TIGHT. This is really helpful. Thanks again!
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