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rtodd
October 9th, 2007, 08:15 PM
I am trying to increase volume and swim about 15-20K a week. Most of these yards a hard with not alot of drill yardage. I have sore shoulders all the time. Not injured, but sore and very tired. I have to be carefull how I sleep on them and not to put strain on them doing mundane daily activity.

....Is this normal?

quicksilver
October 9th, 2007, 08:30 PM
Yup. Are you swimming all freestyle?
I had the same problem a few years ago. Using big paddles only made it worse.

Maybe consider doing some IM or alternate stroke just to mix things up a bit?

Being a backstroker I find that the reverse action on the muscles can provide a nice stretch. Double arm backstroke will loosen everything right up.
Doing too much of the same stroke day after day may lead to overuse.

rtodd
October 9th, 2007, 08:36 PM
I mix in alot of breast and back and kicking, but I would say 60-70% is freestyle. No fly due to lower back issues.

I just bought hand paddles but am afraid to use them. Instead I am trying to mix in fist swimming, kind of the opposite.

quicksilver
October 9th, 2007, 08:50 PM
The paddles are great toys, and they can make your pull really strong... but they will put more strain on some already sore shoulders.

I've been told that too much pressure during the initial catch and pull (when the arm is straight) can strain the shoulder joint when it's in a vulnerable position. Applying force on the water should happen when the arm is bent.

Good luck with your training. As long as there's no clicking sounds your description of sore shoulders is fairly commonplace.
Remember we're not teenagers anymore. :)

jim thornton
October 9th, 2007, 09:16 PM
When my shoulders get very sore (usually the left one, but occasionally the right), I will swim with zoomers and "de-weight" the arms for a while. It feels a bit like cheating, but you actually can get a harder workout this way since the zoomers make you use your legs so much more, and leg muscle mass is so much greater than the arms/upper body. Eventually, my legs get so tired and sore and prone to cramping that I don't want to use the zoomers any more, and I go back to swimming normally, i.e., using my shoulders again, which no longer seem quite as sore as they once did, at least relatively speaking.

Think of it as rotating crops of pain.

ourswimmer
October 9th, 2007, 10:09 PM
I suppose it depends on what you mean by "sore" (and by "normal"), but I wouldn't call sore shoulders normal. Common, maybe, but also a warning sign of potential injury.

If you haven't, do consider incorporating some rotator cuff strengthening exercises into your routine before you develop clicking, sharp pain, or pain that gets worse when you are lying still trying to sleep. Other threads on these forums have discussed such exercises and a search should help you out.

The Fortress
October 9th, 2007, 10:16 PM
When my shoulders get very sore (usually the left one, but occasionally the right), I will swim with zoomers and "de-weight" the arms for a while. It feels a bit like cheating, but you actually can get a harder workout this way since the zoomers make you use your legs so much more, and leg muscle mass is so much greater than the arms/upper body. Eventually, my legs get so tired and sore and prone to cramping that I don't want to use the zoomers any more, and I go back to swimming normally, i.e., using my shoulders again, which no longer seem quite as sore as they once did, at least relatively speaking.

Think of it as rotating crops of pain.

This is pretty accurate. And as Quicksilver said, we are not teenagers and have to train differently.

I think "sore" can be normal, depending. How quickly are you increasing your yardage? If it's too quick, that will cause undue soreness. Soreness can lead to tendonitis, etc. I'm assuming you're doing your RC exercises and lifting weights because you seem very knowledgable on that score in prior threads. If you're getting a dull pain across the back of your shoulders feeling, that's not good. Could be tendonitis. If you're not ramping up too quickly and are doing your exercises, it could be a technique issue.

Balance is key. Mix in drills, kicking, technique work, other strokes, fins, etc. Jim is right: fins can be a huge overload/cardio boost workout and de-weight the shoulders. I wouldn't use paddles or pull buoys if your shoulders are sore. Paddles, while they can help refine technique (I guess maybe they strengthen the pull a little), can be shoulder wreckers.

I know your goal is a sub 1:00 100 free. But I swam a :57 last year with a lot of speed work, fairly low yardage and maybe only 20% of my workouts free. 70% seems too high to me. But then freestyle is not my specialty either and a lot of freestyle yardage leads to shoulder soreness for me.

rtodd
October 9th, 2007, 10:36 PM
No clicking, but the left is a bit more sore than the right. I am leftie and my left shoulder and elbow are bit cooked from throwing a baseball and football.

I stopped lifting upper body over a year ago. Shoulders are too sore to lift and I feel like I can overpower the shoulders if I do weights and really get hurt.

I'll incorporate more zoomers into my workouts. Maybe I'll try to reduce free to 50-60 of total yards.

I've been slow to raise yardage and have been carefull. My goal is a sub minute 100 free for this fall and hopefully closer to a 55 for the spring.

The Fortress
October 9th, 2007, 10:56 PM
No clicking, but the left is a bit more sore than the right. I am leftie and my left shoulder and elbow are bit cooked from throwing a baseball and football.

I stopped lifting upper body over a year ago. Shoulders are too sore to lift and I feel like I can overpower the shoulders if I do weights and really get hurt.

I'll incorporate more zoomers into my workouts. Maybe I'll try to reduce free to 50-60 of total yards.

I've been slow to raise yardage and have been carefull. My goal is a sub minute 100 free for this fall and hopefully closer to a 55 for the spring.

My left shoulder is my problem, and I'm a righty. (Perhaps from all the mega distance freestyle training with right side breathing when younger.)

Stopped lifting at all? Even at moderate weights? A sprinter needs to be strong and lift. Lifting and strengthening the non-RC muscles can help support them and keep you swimming. At least that's what my docs say. I don't do much by way of upper body weights (I prefer core drylands), but I try to do some moderate weights to support the shoulder, i.e., rows, lat pulldowns and presses, hammers, etc. If it hurts too much to do moderate or low weights, that's not good. (I'm not recommending bench press and or heavy overhead weights -- my teammate just tore his RC with that stuff.)

I've had some success with fins and sprinting, although I know my workouts are unconventional by most swimmers' standards. Race pace fin work can be very beneficial, wholly apart from the shoulder saving benefits. Sprinters train differently than others. You don't need mega yardage to get to your spring goal time.

Just a thought -- if you were a baseball/football jock and former runner, you may have a long-festering-but-hidden shoulder issue that is just manifesting itself now as a masters swimmer. I took a long time off from swimming and never thought I had a shoulder problem. When I hopped in the water, whammo, insta-tendonitis. After a year of pain and PT, I finally got an arthrogram and it showed an injury I sustained in youth. Just keep that in the back of your mind. You may have some RC/labrum wear and tear that you didn't previously think was an issue.

marksman
October 10th, 2007, 01:08 AM
The following article might help you:

http://www.active.com/story.cfm?STORY_ID=6468&RESET=0&CHECKSSO=1

It's really consistent with what some of the others have posted.

david.margrave
October 10th, 2007, 02:06 AM
I'm also left handed and have some occasional soreness in the left shoulder. It has gotten better over time (I restarted swimming 4 months ago) and I try not to wrench on it during the entry and catch phase of my stroke, which helps a lot. I'm doing these stretch cord exercises which also help:

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=445&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=702&ItemId=700

I'm doing about half your yardage though, maybe 7.5k-9k per week max, swimming 3 days a week (and going to the gym 3 other days). When you say 15-20k/week, is that what you are doing now or is that what you are trying to increase to? If a heavy swimming routine is wearing down your shoulders you could try trading a couple swimming days a week for gym days and get treadmill or elliptical trainer time in, and see how that goes.

gull
October 10th, 2007, 09:31 AM
I really don't think your shoulders should be sore all the time. You should swim every other day for awhile and/or mix in recovery only workouts. And lose the paddles.

cathlaur
October 10th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Well I am kind of laughing as not only are my shoulders sore, my whole body is LOL. Thank goodness I am heading for a massage at lunch.

I just figured I was obviously more out of shape than I thought. So I just ignore my pain and move on. When I use paddles my arms, are sore, shoulders are sore from swimming and legs from fins. Sometimes it is a good thing no one can hear us when are faces are in the water:laugh2:

Please tell me this will get better

Katie

The Fortress
October 10th, 2007, 10:49 AM
The following article might help you:

http://www.active.com/story.cfm?STORY_ID=6468&RESET=0&CHECKSSO=1

It's really consistent with what some of the others have posted.

Interesting article. It does raise the issue of possibly the muscles supporting your shoulders are sore and not the shoulder joint itself? My ART doc says that people often ignore or fail to treat muscular issues. If the muscles are sore and tight, they can pull on the tendons and make the shoulders sore. So keep your muscles loose and strong with drylands or whatever. I usually go to ART every few weeks to handle this and try to do drylands. I am certain massage therapy would help too. I wish I had more time to do it. Much less time on the table with ART though and better for eliminating impingment issues.

Katie: Training just makes you tired and sore. I'm feeling like I have to drag myself to the gym this morning. So it's no surprise. Just be careful that soreness doesn't create injury. My legs are always tired, but I really overload them with fins, MF and running. They'll survive. They enjoy tapering when I cut out all cross training and limit use of overload toys.

david.margrave
October 10th, 2007, 11:17 AM
ART is active release therapy, right? how often do you have this treatment? Is it something you can get a few times and go about your business, or do they try to suck you in for multiple monthly visits indefinitely. Not that I need it at this point, I'm just curious.

The Fortress
October 10th, 2007, 11:38 AM
ART is active release therapy, right? how often do you have this treatment? Is it something you can get a few times and go about your business, or do they try to suck you in for multiple monthly visits indefinitely. Not that I need it at this point, I'm just curious.

Your are correct. ART = active release therapy, www.activerelease.com (http://www.activerelease.com).

I have written about this before, but for those who haven't read it:

If you have a good ART/chiro doc, they will not and should not suck you in indefinitely. But it is essential that you find an excellent, highly-recommended doc. I am lucky to have one such as this. I use ART in three ways:

1. When PT failed to fix a chronic shoulder problem, I turned to ART to control/alleviate the tendonitis. I went 2x a week for a month and was significantly better. When the pain recurred months later, I went back. My ART doc didn't recommend or continue the same 2x per week regimen treatment. Rather,he sent me for an arthrogram (which my orthopod had failed to do) which revealed my compromised labrum and a slap lesion. Then, he referred me to my prolo doc. He has only given me excellent advice. He is very knowledgable and constantly attending seminars to expand his knowledge. He is also one of the ART docs attending triathlons like Kona. But you can get an idiot chiro, no doubt.

2. I got in for ART now every few weeks when my muscles get out of whack from training. ART releases the impingment and makes my shoulders and scapular area feel better very quickly. It's like a check up for me. My insurance covers 20 visits per year, so I'm well within that.

3. I use ART to supplement the prolo because I was told it would make the prolo more effective.

In sum,

Year one or more of masters swimming: constant pain & tendonitis, constant icing, lots of ibuprofen, 2 cortisone shots.

Most of year two: no icing, no ibuprofen, some pain and tenderness, but much much better. Will hopefully continue to get better with prolo (see, www.treatingpain.com (http://www.treatingpain.com) or the Aug. 7 article by Jane Brody in the NYT entitled "Injections to Kick-Start Tissue Repair."

I still have to baby my shoulders and abnormal larum. I do that chiefly with fins and RC exercises now, not meds and ice.

However, the proper treatment always depends on the nature of the underlying problem.

dorothyrde
October 10th, 2007, 12:15 PM
Another thing to consider might be a massage therapist. A good one can tell you where your muscle imbalance is, and whether your are too tight in one place and pulling yourself out of alignment. They can suggest exercises and stretches to correct this. You should not be constantly sore, life is too short for that.

cathlaur
October 10th, 2007, 12:50 PM
Art therapy is very interesting. Thanks for the link

I just returned from my weekly massage therapy session. My shoulders, neck, triceps okay basically my upper portion of my body were very very very sore. It is amazing how much better I feel. After reading about shoulder injuries I was kind of nervous due to how sore I am. NOPE muscular I feel better already.

I started going regularly after I walked the 60 K weekend to end Breast Cancer in 2005 and was sore. Then when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. IT is one of my favorite times of the week. My therapist is into womans health and good eating so I have learned a lot.


Fortress I hope that my therapy really helps. You are right training just makes you sore. Especially when you are starting out, heavier and out of shape. I dont swim Wed but I went to the gym. I know it will get better.
Thanks for all the wonderful info

Katie

hofffam
October 10th, 2007, 07:24 PM
Disclaimer: I am not qualified to diagnose anything....


But I think constant soreness could be a problem. Tired shoulders is one thing. But to me sore means pain. Muscle soreness is something that occurs when the muscles have been asked to do something they haven't before - or at an intensity above what they are used to. Things like starting a weight lifting program. Soreness is also generally temporary and goes away when the muscles get used to the new activity. Soreness also tends to work itself out during exercise. If the shoulders hurt throughout the workout - that sounds like a potential problem to me. If they are stiff in warmup but the rest of the workout is pain-free, maybe not a problem.

rtodd
October 10th, 2007, 08:10 PM
It is not muscle soreness I am complaining about although I have that (I never complain about muscle soreness). I think it is more like mild inflamation or tendonitis. No clicking though. I went through a clicking problem over a year ago because I was fairly new at swimming. I broke through that and now just have general soreness because I have slowly been upping the yardage.

Like you mention I am slow to warm up, but can do the workout without a problem.

I was just curious if most swimmers walked around with some discomfort in their shoulders.

I am doing doubles 3-4 times a week. My workouts are short though, about an hour each so the yardage is kept down to about 1500-2000 a session.

Donna
October 10th, 2007, 08:59 PM
Since shnaging my stroke up I have not had all the shoulder issues, but I am having some middle shoulder blade soreness that laying on 2 tennis balls corrects in a matter of 15 minutes. Learn to do self massage especially on the back shoulders, biceps and triceps.

If you feel a bump or knot in your muscles that is painful, it is a trigger point you might need to work out through accupressure or massage.

rtodd
October 10th, 2007, 09:05 PM
I can almost infer something just by the amount of responses. I think the subject is popular because alot of swimmers are walking around with sore shoulders?

RecreationalSwimmer
October 11th, 2007, 04:29 AM
Since shnaging my stroke up I have not had all the shoulder issues, but I am having some middle shoulder blade soreness that laying on 2 tennis balls corrects in a matter of 15 minutes. Learn to do self massage especially on the back shoulders, biceps and triceps.

If you feel a bump or knot in your muscles that is painful, it is a trigger point you might need to work out through accupressure or massage.


I'm a sucker for anything new, so I naturally I had to get me one of these:

http://www.spikmattan.se/index.php?lang=en

The first few times, especially the first five minutes it HURTS! But now I just fall asleep.

cathlaur
October 11th, 2007, 07:58 AM
Sven

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm very interesting.

When we were at a Science Centre in Northern Ontario. They had a bed of nails to try out. We all did it. It was pretty cool.

How is it working for you

Katie

cathlaur
October 11th, 2007, 08:19 AM
My shoulders were soooooooo sore yesterday. Lots of IBphrophen and then I had a massage. THEY are 80% better. I had a tough swim this morning lots of front crawl work using paddles and pull bouys. I thought OH BOY here we go. I am at work having a coffee:coffee: and I feel much better than yesterday. SO ALL IS WELL

So for me massage helps. I am going to incorporate some shoulder exercises into my routine

Katie

gull
October 11th, 2007, 11:23 AM
I can almost infer something just by the amount of responses. I think the subject is popular because alot of swimmers are walking around with sore shoulders?


The subject is popular because a lot of swimmers are walking around with shoulders. Any repetitive overhead activity poses potential problems for the shoulder joint, especially as we age and the supporting muscle groups weaken or become imbalanced. If your shoulders are sore throughout the day and, perhaps more importantly, at night during sleep, you need to adjust your workouts, address any inflammation (tendinitis) or actual injury, and begin a rehab program. Otherwise the problem will only get worse. As I have posted previously, I believe all Masters swimmers should be doing rotator cuff exercises on a consistent basis. These are relatively small muscles that need to be targeted with specific exercises. You need a healthy rotator cuff if you want to swim.

The Fortress
October 11th, 2007, 12:16 PM
The subject is popular because a lot of swimmers are walking around with shoulders. Any repetitive overhead activity poses potential problems for the shoulder joint, especially as we age and the supporting muscle groups weaken or become imbalanced. If your shoulders are sore throughout the day and, perhaps more importantly, at night during sleep, you need to adjust your workouts, address any inflammation (tendinitis) or actual injury, and begin a rehab program. Otherwise the problem will only get worse. As I have posted previously, I believe all Masters swimmers should be doing rotator cuff exercises on a consistent basis. These are relatively small muscles that need to be targeted with specific exercises. You need a healthy rotator cuff if you want to swim.

And that about sums it up perfectly!

On my team, some of us have shoulder issues and some of us don't. It seems like those in the 40-60 range have more issues. But if you train a significant amount, you must be vigilant about shoulder health.

geochuck
October 11th, 2007, 12:28 PM
Fort - could it be that shoulder issues come from over use and or improper technique. My last shoulder problem was in 1964 after a very tough race. I wanted to win the race, I needed the money. The guy in my boat kept putting up a sign saying the others were comming fast. I finished 2 hours ahead of everyone else. He was not my regular boat guy. The rest of that year was a disaster for me, I swam the rest of the races in a very relaxed mode. I won lots of money but it should have been my best year.

rtodd
October 11th, 2007, 09:10 PM
I will try to work in rotator cuff workouts when I can to help strengthen. Maybe it is RC muscles deep in my shoulders that are sore.

I will try to vary the workouts. Swimming is not easy.

Tactics
October 12th, 2007, 07:54 AM
I will try to work in rotator cuff workouts when I can to help strengthen. Maybe it is RC muscles deep in my shoulders that are sore.

I will try to vary the workouts. Swimming is not easy.
You may want to check out shoulder exs on www.exercisedb.com (http://www.exercisedb.com) lots on that site..Shoulders are a big problem for weight trainees too..and a constant forum topic..

david.margrave
October 12th, 2007, 10:57 AM
Fort - could it be that shoulder issues come from over use and or improper technique. My last shoulder problem was in 1964 after a very tough race. I wanted to win the race, I needed the money. The guy in my boat kept putting up a sign saying the others were comming fast. I finished 2 hours ahead of everyone else. He was not my regular boat guy. The rest of that year was a disaster for me, I swam the rest of the races in a very relaxed mode. I won lots of money but it should have been my best year.

A lady on my masters team had shoulder surgery and said her problems started after an open water race with rough water, when she got separated from the pack and had to slog it out the rest of the way by herself.

MAC swimmer
October 12th, 2007, 12:39 PM
I really don't think your shoulders should be sore all the time. You should swim every other day for awhile and/or mix in recovery only workouts. And lose the paddles.

I agree with Gull here...especially since I am just coming off a rotator cuff strain (canoeing injury). Paddles put even more strain on your shoulder muscles. Forget them if you are putting in 20K a week.

Also watch for over bench pressing and go easy on the military press.

hofffam
October 12th, 2007, 02:06 PM
I think a couple of things to consider:

1. stop the doubles. Inflammation, injury, soreness, etc. at minimum needs recovery time. 24 hours of recovery is much better than 8 hours between morning and afternoon. If you are motivated to maintain similar total distance per week - obviously lengthen your primary workout. Adding 500-1000 yds to that workout may not be so hard since you are already warmed up. The 2nd workout, especially if it is 1500 yds. may not be as beneficial for your conditioning anyways because you probably spend 25-35% warming up and warming down. I think 1000 more yds in the morning may be more impactful than 1500 in the afternoon.

2. If you are lifting weights stop or minimize exercises that typically cause more shoulder stress (bench press, military press).

3. I think an indicator of rotator cuff problems is pain on the recovery portion of the stroke. Recovery, especially on fly, is much more of a lifting motion than a pulling motion.


4. Consider replacing part of your swimming time with another cardiovascular exercise that doesn't use the shoulders.

Just for reference - I'm 48, and have slightly troublesome shoulders. I do have occasional pain on fly and breaststroke (recovery phase). It was much worse two years ago and slowly improved as my shoulders got stronger. I swim 4 times per week for a total distance of about 13,000 meters (workouts range from 3000-3500 meters).

rtodd
October 12th, 2007, 09:26 PM
I do the doubles because I only have an hour at noon, then 60-75 minutes in the evening. Good suggestion to bias one over the other.

I don't lift weights anymore for upper body. I tried continuing lifting heavy when I started swimming and found out they don't go together at all. I only do legs now. Maybe pull ups once and a while which don't bother my shoulders. Dips, bench, press.....forget it!

Recovery does not bother my shoulders at all so I guess that is a good sign. When I went through my "clicking" problem a while back, it was on the recovery. I just feel some discomfort in my left shoulder if I start pulling hard before my catch is complete.

When I bike to cross train I day dream wishing I was swimming, so I don't do that often enough. Good suggestion though.

My recovery is on the weekend.

I finished another hard week and the shoulders are not getting worse so I am happy about that.

geochuck
October 12th, 2007, 11:19 PM
I used to get a little sore after a marathon race, I had a guy who would grab hold of all the tendons and tweak them til the muscles would release. It took two days of heavy masage before I was ready to go at it again.

marksman
October 13th, 2007, 05:25 PM
I have problems w/ impingement when I don't do a long slow warmup, when I do too much kickboarding (I really shouldn't ever pick one up), or when I start crossing-over on my hand entry on the freestyle.

It sounds like you're already watching your technique though so things should get better.

TomBrooklyn
October 14th, 2007, 04:29 AM
Soreness after excercise is normal. Constant soreness is not. Your pushing hard and increasing your yardage all the time which is fine, but if you don't rest between workouts and allow your muscles to heal, not only will your performance suffer or at best improve more slowly, your training techniques might cause injury.

strong440
October 14th, 2007, 01:17 PM
It's hard to believe that all these days have gone by and no one has mentioned the fact that swimming with closed fists takes the load off the shoulders. Thus, consistant warmups and warmdowns with closed fists are usually all one needs to prevent sore shoulders. Good for all strokes, feels strange for a while, slows you down only 10%, and increases your number of strokes per length by the same 10%.

geochuck
October 14th, 2007, 01:20 PM
I think paddles and closed fists are not needed. Just swim with proper technique.

rtodd
October 14th, 2007, 08:11 PM
I bought paddles and are currently leaving them in the bag. I am working the fists into my workouts.