As the world faces a global pandemic, many countries all around the world have called for community quarantines. Schools, malls, and offices along with almost every outdoor establishment have temporarily closed in an effort to keep people safe and reduce the spread of the virus. Gyms and swimming pools have been no exception. Although swimming in properly chlorinated water has been deemed safe by the CDC, many condominiums and closed communities are shutting down their swimming pools in an effort to support social distancing and deter people from violating the quarantine. The situation is especially difficult for active families and individuals that are accustomed to getting regular exercise from their local pool. Despite all these drastic changes to our lifestyles, this doesn’t mean that we can’t do our best with what we have. Weeks without a swimming pool doesn’t mean that swim training has to stop. In this article, we’ve picked out a few dynamic stretches that you can do to stay limber and keep your muscles ready for swim training.
Dynamic stretching is a great way to loosen up muscles while taking them through the full range of motion. They are often functional movements that can simulate the motions that your body would normally go through when being active in a given sport. Here are a few dynamic stretches that are particularly beneficial for swimmers:
Arm Circles: This movement can imitate the range of motion one does during the movement of the various strokes and can work to stabilize the shoulder and strengthen supporting muscles around the shoulder joint.
Stand with your feet square, about shoulder width apart, with your arms extended outwards to your sides.
Point your palms downwards and with your fingers outstretched and begin to make large circles leading with your hands for thirty seconds. Be sure to engage your shoulders for a more effective stretch!
After thirty seconds, reverse the movement by making large circles in the opposite direction and repeat for another thirty seconds.
Vary the movement per set by changing the size of the circles, you can go from large circles, to medium, to small sized circles. Remember to repeat the movement in the opposite direction to get the most out of the exercise.
Repeat as necessary!
Arm Swings: This is a great motion to open up the chest and stretch the arms. A variation of the motion can also be used to stretch out the back and lats.
Standing again with your feet square and shoulder width apart, begin with your arms relaxed at your sides.
Begin to swing your arms forward up to your chest and let them fall back down. Repeat this motion for thirty seconds.
After thirty seconds, extend your arms outwards from your sides and swing your arms in front of you so that they cross in front of your chest. Swing them back gently until they are extended outwards from your sides and repeat this motion for thirty seconds.
After thirty seconds, let your arms relax to your sides and then swing them upwards and in front of you so that your biceps are level with your face, as if you're reaching for the sky. Control your arms so that they slowly fall back down to your sides and repeat this motion for thirty more seconds.
Butt Kicks: This dynamic stretch is a workout in itself as it adds a degree of cardio while stretching the quads. The movement is simple enough but it can engage the core and the arms as well and result in an economy of motion.
Starting again by standing square and your feet shoulder width apart, shift your weight to your left leg and then bend your right knee s
o that your right heel is level with your glutes. Alternate between each foot while shifting your weight to remain balanced.
Continue the motion until you’re comfortable with it, then gradually pick up your speed until it resembles a jogging motion.
Swing your arms in step with each leg for an added challenge. Continue this exercise in thirty second intervals and repeat as necessary.
Planks: Planks are an efficient way to stretch out your back, legs, and whole anterior chain while engaging the core. They can be performed at varying levels of difficulty to increase or decrease the challenge.
To perform this stretch in a beginner position, place a mat on the floor and place your hands on the mat. Align your shoulders above your wrists and stretch out your legs, the end result will look a lot like a push up position.
Be sure to tuck in your pelvis and that there is no slope in your back, you can imagine that you’re trying to balance a broom stick that’s laid lengthwise across your back to aid you in ke
eping the proper form.
Engage your core and keep your neck extended. Hold the position for thirty seconds.
If you’d like to challenge yourself, you can keep the same position but bend your arms at the elbows so that your forearms and elbows will be on the mat. Make sure to align your elbows with your shoulders so that there is no unnecessary strain on your shoulder joints.
With that set of fundamental dynamic stretches, you can keep your muscles warmed up and loose so that you don’t suffer from stiffness when you get back into the pool! If you’re ready to move onto something more challenging, we suggest you look up this workout to really build strength and even gain some muscle during this time away from the water. These are a good way to stay healthy and boost your immune system while maintaining mobility. You can do these dynamic stretches anytime and anywhere making them ideal for the home. Check out these articles we've written in the past to learn more about why stretching is important
and for some great exercises with resistance bands.