3 Ways For Swimmers To Reduce Shoulder Stress
Swimming places high amounts of stress on the shoulder. This is why shoulder injuries are the top injury in the sport, estimated at ~50 – 80% in swimmers. The amount of shoulder revolutions during practice are the primary contributor of shoulder stress. Revolutions during practice can be manipulated, but no matter if you follow a high- or low-volume training approach there will be high stress on the shoulder constantly. Luckily, there are other factors which coaches can modify to reduce stress on the shoulder.
1. Keep your Head in Line
Head position influences stress on the shoulder. If a swimmer has poor breathing biomechanics, they will overstress the neck muscles (likely the scalene muscles). These muscles attach to the collar bone and can negatively influence shoulder motion. If shoulder motion is impaired or altered it can further increase shoulder stress and increase tissue load.
Using a FINIS snorkel can keep the head in a neutral position and reduce stress on the neck muscles which pull on the collarbone.
FINIS Swimmer's Snorkel - Adult and Junior
The Finis Swimmers Snorkel is a revolutionary snorkel that all swimmers can use to improve their technique. It allows the swimmer to glide through the water with no need to lift or turn the head and therefore focus on their underwater work and rotation before adding breathing back into the stroke.
Great snorkel - Review by Swimmum
"Very happy with this brand of snorkel. My daughter already had one with which she is happy so got same for my son. He is 12 but I got adult size as a junior one is shorter and sits less far above the water surface (easier to let water in). They adjust to his head size no problem. I would add that both my kids have found it useful to wear a nose clip with snorkels and this doesn't come with adult one. Delivered on time, well packaged, easy to purchase online. Mum happy and son happy after using for about 3 weeks."
(Posted on 11/05/2015)
2. Minimizing Paddle Stress
Pulling aids forward propulsion. Improving pulling strength greatly influences swimming, as the arms are the main contributors for free, back, and fly. Obviously, using paddles is going to increase shoulder stress, due to greater surface area and amount of water being pulled. Many swimmers strap themselves in and use oversized paddles, resulting in unnecessary stress.
The FINIS Agility paddles shape the hand of the swimmer and don’t encourage the swimmer to maintain proper force application through the entire stroke. When a paddle is strapped on a swimmer they can simply press as hard as they can during any phase of the stroke and move faster. Without straps, the swimmer must use appropriate force application, reducing the amount of shoulder stress during the most stressful position (when the arm is fully extended and beginning the catch).
FINIS Agility Hand Paddles
Stay Palm Positive with the strapless Finis Agility Paddles. An essential item for your training bag. These innovative paddles help Olympic level swimmers train and perfect their stroke – have a go yourself and see why they are so widely trusted and loved!
Love love love! - Review by Dolphinz
"Great piece of kit -no more struggling with straps and getting marks! Much better in making turn around times and getting them on and off. Swimmers have said they are very comfortable and has improved thier catch no end! Awesome and totally recommend! "
(Posted on 19/08/2016)
3. Optimizing Body Rotation
If a swimmer is flat during freestyle or backstroke, they are reducing the space under their acromion (subacromial space) and increasing their risk of tissue stress on the rotator cuff muscle.
Integrating body rotation is mandatory for keeping as much space available under the acromion is key and luckily tools can help. Instead of using a large kickboard, an Alignment Kickboard can encourage body rotation during a kick set. Rotation helps increase space in the shoulder joint when the hips and shoulders rotate simultaneously. This space increase is small, but adds for millions of strokes.
FINIS Alignment Kickboard
The Finis Alignment Kickboard is designed for streamline, underwater and side kicking drills as well as being used as a normal kickboard. By incorporating a stabilizing hand strap, swimmers can control the board without gripping, creating a perfect alignment from the finger tips to the toes.
'Dorrito' - Review by Louise
"My son has been using this swimming aid (nicknamed a Dorrito!) for the last 2 weeks and it has already improved his kicking technique and his streamline position. A worthwhile investment. "
(Posted on 17/10/2015)
Shoulder injuries are a multifactorial issue. Taking the necessary steps of reducing shoulder stress in the pool are factors coaches and swimmers can influence. Keep this in mind when picking equipment, training volume, and skill work.
At ProSwimwear we have a huge range of FINIS training equipment to fulfill your swimming needs! Discover the full range of FINIS swimming products here.