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Swimming Injury Prevention: Improper Arm Recovery and Extension

In the sport of swimming, injury prevention can be just as important as stroke technique training. It is common for swimmers to fall into habit because it is part of swim training – repetition. By repeatedly training on incorrect technique, swimmers become more susceptible to injuries that can be otherwise avoided. An area of which swimmers are most vulnerable to injury is their shoulders. The thousands upon thousands of repetitive shoulder rotations during training, if done incorrectly, can negatively affect the swimmer. The specific motions that we will be analyzing in this article are the recovery, entry, and extension.

The Issue: Improper Recovery, Entry and Extension

During the recovery, there is a tendency for the swimmers palms to rotate out towards the side of the pool as the hand passes the shoulders and prepares to enter the water. Often times as this happens the area between the head of the humerus, clavicle and glenoid(scapula) in the shoulder becomes compromised, creating unwanted friction between the humerus, glenoid, and surrounding shoulder tissues.

What this means is that the joint between the bone of the swimmer’s upper arm and the shoulder will deteriorate over time as they repeat the incorrect motion thousands of times through their training, which can lead to severe injury of the ligaments and rotator cuff of the athlete if it is left uncorrected. Here at tweak, it is often one of the first swim issues that we correct in swimmers.

The Solution: Palm Faces In

The good news is that there is a simple fix to this potentially harmful swim habit. By recovering, entering, and extending the hand into the water with the palm facing in towards the center of the body, the arm remains within the shoulder’s natural range of motion, removing harmful stress on the rotator cuff. Watch the short video below as one of our coaches analyzes and explains the technique adjustment:

When it comes to swimming, injury prevention is often forgotten on the wayside of mileage as in-season training ramps up, but it is more important than being able to make intervals during sets. With an incorrect technique, a swimmer’s stroke could potentially be what’s holding them back from achieving their goal time, or be the reason for an injury that stops a season short. Here at tweak, we begin every appointment by assessing whether or not the swimmer is performing in a injury free manner.

Schedule an appointment at our Birmingham or Canton, MI locations today and start swimming better!

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