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cyclist
March 13th, 2009, 08:30 PM
A lot of the people on this list like myself have several thousands of miles in the pool. What’s the key to keeping your shoulders injury and mostly, pain free.
Certain exercises out of the pool? Exercises to avoid? Stretching movements? Massages? Particular training program? Taking several day breaks periodically?
What has or hasn’t worked for everyone?

qbrain
March 13th, 2009, 08:37 PM
Proper rotation and RC stretch cord exercises. The first has been much more important than the second to me. If my stroke starts going flat, my shoulder will start bothering me.

tdrop
March 13th, 2009, 09:19 PM
physical therapy worked for me. Now I maintain shoulder health by keeping up with preventative lengthening and strengthening exercises.

I avoid some of the common swimmer stretches that most of us grew up with, e.g., pulling the elbow behind the head and pulling the arm across the chest.

Instead, I lengthen the pecs, the lats, and the shoulders with three key stretches. And I strengthen the small muscles of the upper back. I probably do about 10 minutes of this three times per week and my shoulders are healthy.

I'm not a physical therapist. This is just what works for me. I think for most swimmers the problem is some muscles are too tight and strong (pecs) and others are to weak and stretched out (upper back).

the best advice I can give, though, is to see a physical therapist.

Syd
March 13th, 2009, 10:26 PM
What’s the key to keeping your shoulders injury and mostly, pain free.


I am no weightlifting expert but ever since I have been going to the gym I haven't had a hint of shoulder trouble. I used to experience minor dscomfort in my right shoulder after doing too much yardage or after extended periods of very hard sprinting. A year ago I started going to the gym and I haven't looked back since. You need to strengthen the shoulders by doing weights in the gym.

Two of the exercises that (I think) have really helped me are: Military Press (done on a machine) and (I know this exercise is meant more for the chest but somehow it exposes the vulnerability of my shoulders and done at really low weights with very high reps has helped me a lot) the Pec Deck Machine.

I also do quite a lot of press ups, pull ups and one or two dumbbell routines (the names of which I am not certain - I had to look up pictures on the Internet of the Pec Deck machine because I didn't even know the name for that!)

You will get lots of advice on particular exercises. You could probably do a variety of them and achieve the same results. The bottom line, however, is that you get down to the gym and start strengthening those shoulders. If you have the luxury of a personal trainer or a gym instructor, so much the better. Or if you are like me, ask around, watch, try it out yourself, but TAKE IT EASY at first lest you injure yourself.

cyclist
March 13th, 2009, 10:57 PM
I am no weightlifting expert but ever since I have been going to the gym I haven't had a hint of shoulder trouble. I used to experience minor dscomfort in my right shoulder after doing too much yardage or after extended periods of very hard sprinting. A year ago I started going to the gym and I haven't looked back since. You need to strengthen the shoulders by doing weights in the gym.

Two of the exercises that (I think) have really helped me are: Military Press

I've actually had a doctor and a coach tell me the military press should be avoided. Up that point, a couple of weeks ago, the military press with free weights had been part of my routine.

elise526
March 13th, 2009, 11:44 PM
Was a 200 flyer in college and after a 5 year break from swimming, have now been participating in masters swim meets for 15 years. I'm blessed in that I have never had shoulder problems except for one time when I strained a tendon as I was doing running sprints (of all things) down a hill.

I think the following has kept me from having shoulder problems:

1. Avoid too much yardage combining paddles and pull buoy. The pull buoy alone is not as bad as it gives you proper body position and this alone may lessen strain on shoulders. Paddles alone are o.k. for a little bit of yardage if you have your legs free to kick.

2. Being careful about using paddles on backstroke. I have known several people who tore their rotator cuffs while doing a set with paddles. Don't ever combine paddles and a pull buoy on backstroke.

3. I have always done the military press since I was 15 and feel it has helped stabilize my shoulders.

4. Using fins on some of my swim sets to take the load off my shoulders.

5. Cross-training.

5. Backing down when I felt pain or soreness and didn't try to "push through it."

6. If my shoulders got sore from lifting weights, did some kick sets for a few days with or without the fins. Did not use a kickboard when doing this as I have heard it seems to aggravate shoulder problems.

7. Didn't get into weight-lifting competitions with pals. So many of the male swimmers I have known who have gotten shoulder injuries or some upper body injury have done it in the weight room. I try to use the weight room as a place to prevent injury while swimming, not as a place to become the strongest swimmer in the weight room.

8. Got my stroke critiqued. Stroke flaws are often the reason for shoulder problems.

9. Strengthened my core and my kick. A strong core and a strong kick take the workload off the shoulders.

10. Avoided too much, too soon, too fast.