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Fighting some shoulder pain - any thoughts?

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So I swam Tuesday of this week, and was ok in the water but ever since have been fighting some shoulder pain and so I'm reluctantly taking a few days off. I never dealt with shoulder pain much in my USA swimming years, so it's new to me. I believe it's rotator cuff - sharp pain and hurts to raise my arm above my head, hard to sleep. Anyone have any good strengthening exercises? I have some stretch cords at home I could work with, plus icing and rest.

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  1. Calvin S's Avatar
    Might seem like rotator cuff, could be as simple as minor bicep tendinitis. You are recently on the comeback path, correct? I dealt with my fair share of shoulder soreness, achiness, and pain while working back into shape/training. I try to regularly ice, but sometimes this is not possible (when it is I go 20 minutes, bag of ice directly on skin). As for therapy, I do the following exercises as part of my pre-practice routine every day:

    rotator cuff internal rotation L arm
    rotator cuff external rotation R arm
    rotator cuff external rotation L arm
    rotator cuff internal rotation R arm
    standing rows (band/arms at shoulder height)
    rotator cuff external rotation down
    rotator cuff external rotation up
    empty cans R arm*
    empty cans L arm*
    *trap the band under my foot, then swing arm out to 30 degree angle before starting empty cans (my PT says the 30 degree angle is key).

    I do 1 set of 15 reps for each exercise before practice, except when doing a double swim practice, in which case I do 1 set of 10 before each workout. I also switch to 2 sets of 10 during taper as my yardage decreases.

    One caveat here is that everybody is different. These are the things that work for me. Thankfully my mother-in-law is a pediatric physical therapist and my father-in-law is an accomplished sports PT (was on the '96 Olympic training staff, although not in swimming). My father-in-law and I spent a lot of time talking about my shoulders, my soreness, etc. and we developed the routines I do based around that. His recommendations were to not overdue it with number of reps and number of exercises. There are so many shoulder band exercises you can do, it can be kind of overwhelming. I chose ones that I like and help me. He also was the one who explained that I don't need to do tons of reps, especially when I am training a lot. He said I could add some reps when I taper IF I felt it necessary.

    All that, combined with the fact that I have two recovery days each week: one day completely off, and the other where I try to do nothing but kicking with my arms at my side using a snorkel, has helped me eliminate most shoulder issues. I have also had to dial back my power pulling as I get older as well.

    Hope some of this helps. I can do some pictures or a video of me doing my shoulder rehab if it helps better understand the exercises.
    Updated May 30th, 2019 at 02:53 PM by Calvin S
  2. Calvin S's Avatar
    I guess what I am also saying about taking days off, is that if you cannot live with being out of the water (like myself), then just doing kicking with a snorkel can be a great use of your time. EVERYONE needs to work on their kicking, always!