When it comes to warm-up, we tend to skip it as we are not aware of the benefits that it has. Performing warm-up exercises before swimming will not only keep injuries away but will also activate your body to go through any sought rigorous movements, that might happen during the tie of swimming. Before starting any sports or exercises, it is highly recommended that an individual should perform warm up strictly to evade any possible injuries.
In our series of articles catered to warm-up exercises, we have come up with another segment, where we will figure out some of the relevant exercises that one should perform as a warm-up exercise before swimming. The warm-up exercises before swimming have been defined in stages and they should be done as it is. However, we recommend that you should consult your coach or a sports physiotherapist to have a better understanding of the warm-up exercises required for yourself.
Performing swimming is a great way to keep fit, stay healthy and make friends. The sport of swimming is an excellent way to work your entire body and cardiovascular system. It has been considered that an hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, without making any impact on your bones and joints.
Stretching plays a key role in swimming, as it helps to prepare your muscles and joints for the intense workout ahead. While a warm-up will generally involve low-level activity to raise body and muscle temperature in preparation for what’s ahead; stretching is equally important to prepare the body and reduce the risk of injury.
Stretching should also focus on key areas of the body that are used by a particular sport. In swimming, special attention should be paid to the shoulders and arms. When carrying out stretches in a form of warm-up exercises before swimming, remember that they should never hurt. If you overstretch and feel pain, relax slightly and hold the stretch where it feels more comfortable. A good amount of time to hold stretches is between 10 and 30 seconds. Any quicker and the muscles won’t be sufficiently lengthened. Any longer, and you could put too much pressure on them.
Need for Warm-Up Exercises Before Swimming
- Decreases Risk of Injury – A warm-up is all about starting the engine of your cardiovascular system by slowly increasing body temperature and raising blood flow to your muscles. Doing warm-up activates your muscles and gets them ready to work effectively in the movements required for the X number of laps you are about to swim. In turn, sudden exertion or stretches will put less strain on your muscles, which results in a lower risk of injury.
- Increases Flexibility – A warm-up is necessary to loosen your joints, especially for those who spend hour after hour sitting in front of a laptop or hunched over completing school or office work. When your muscles get warmed up and activated, they will be able to extend and contract more effectively and quickly than when they are cold and inactive.
- Improves Breathing Techniques – When you warm up, you slowly ease yourself from relaxed or normal breathing to breathing harder. This delivers a signal to your brain, which in turn lets your lungs and heart. You know that feeling when you have to switch your pace from 0 to 100 to catch your bus? Switching up your breathing in a second feels uncomfortable and takes longer to cool down. That’s why you should always warm up before swimming.
Best Warm-Up Exercises Before Swimming
1.) Tricep Extension – The tricep extension is considered one of the best warm-up exercises before swimming. This move helps stretch out your triceps. Additionally, it can help warm up surrounding muscles, including your lats and shoulders. You use this muscle group with every stroke you take in the water.
Steps To Perform
- Take one arm and bend it behind your back.
- Place the hand of your opposite arm on your elbow.
- Pull down on your elbow to stretch your tricep.
- Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and switch arms.
2.) Arm Swings – Arm Swings are considered one of the best warm-up exercises before swimming. Unlike other stretches, this move isn’t a static position that you hold. Rather, arm swings are a series of repeated movements that can help open your chest and loosen your arms.
Steps To Perform
- Stand straight and begin with your arms stretched out to the sides.
- Bring your arms inward, crossing them at the front.
- Quickly pull your arms back apart as far as you can.
- Continue this motion for a full minute.
3.) Quad Pull – Quad Pull is considered one of the best warm-up exercises before swimming. Get a leg up on the competition by adding a quad pull to your swimming warmup. A strong kick is crucial to a strong swimming performance and this move can get your legs ready for action.
Steps To Perform
- Stand up straight and bend one leg at the knee.
- Grab the foot of your bent leg with your hands.
- Hold your foot so that it is parallel with your back.
- Continue to hold this stretch for 10 seconds and switch sides.
4.) Lunge and Stretch – Lunge and Stretch is considered one of the best warm-up exercises before swimming. This targets your hip flexors which are heavily engaged during the breaststroke. Tight hip flexors are normal for those who sit for long periods of time or even those who cycle.
Steps To Perform
- Stand with your left foot bent forward and your right foot straight back.
- Ensure that your left foot forms a 90-degree angle.
- Keep an upright torso.
- Place your hands on your knee in front of you and press forwards. This should drive your hips forward and you should be able to feel a stretch in your hip, groin and thigh.
- Hold it there for 20 seconds, swap your feet position and repeat.
5.) Torso Twists – Torso Twists is considered one of the best warm-up exercises before swimming. Your core is majorly worked whenever you swim, be it the freestyle or backstroke. Hence, there is a need to warm up those muscle groups before you swim.
Steps To Perform
- Stand with your legs a little further than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Keep your core tight and look straight ahead.
- Fan your arms out to your sides.
- Use your core to initiate swinging your arms around till one arm is in front of you and one is behind.
- Repeat it in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions for 20 seconds.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.