View Full Version : Exercises after shoulder surgery

October 31st, 2014, 01:10 PM
About two months ago I underwent shoulder surgery for a posterior labral tear in my right shoulder. I am a college swimmer, but have taken off this year to recover from the operation. My doctor says that I can return to the pool as soon as the new year begins (two months from now). Do you have any recommendations for ways to stay fit during this time? I'm looking for things that will benefit swimming in the long run. Currently, I have been doing a bit of stationary biking and some dryland work (lunges, wall sits, and body weight squats). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

jim thornton
November 4th, 2014, 02:44 PM
Don't worry too much about trying to simulate swimming on land at this point. I would make rehab your No. 1 priority and approach whatever your PT says with the same commitment you give to swimming itself. Staying in reasonable aerobic shape thru biking and keeping your legs and torso strong through dryland is great, but strengthening (in a smart way) the muscles that will stabilize your shoulder joint is probably the number one thing you can do now for your future swimming self.

Do NOT overdo it. Listen to the PT and do what he or she tells you. When you do finally get the green light to swim again, go extremely slow and work up to full capacity over a much longer time period that you, and perhaps your coach, probably want to. Think frequency, intensity, and duration. Add 10 percent per week to just one of these things at a time. Personally, I think you might be best off by slow swimming, say, 1000 or so, four times a week, the first week ; 1100 the second (still slow); and so forth till you're back to 2500-3,000. Then start upping the intensity--make 100-200 or the total at a more intense pace for week; then 150-250 the next week; and so on, till you can swim much of the total yardage as sets of 25s, 50s, and 100s at a pretty decent clip. Only after you've reached this point should you start adding days to your weekly workouts; and only after you've reached 6 days should you even consider throwing in a double.

In swimming, the race is to the swift. In rehab, the race is to the smart.