Here are some swim-specific prep exercises that you should do before you swim to make sure your body has the mobility it needs to get through any stroke efficiently. This sequence only takes about three to five minutes.
Lunge and Stretch2 of 8
Lunge forward with one leg and reach the arm on the side of the back leg straight overhead and slightly backward to open up the anterior chain--including abs and hip flexors. You'll also open up your quads and lats. Be sure to keep hips parallel to the ground, your abs and glutes engaged and hips/knees/ankles in line.
Standing T's3 of 8
This movement opens up the chest while warming up and strengthening the rotator cuff. Standing in a split stance, raise arms out to their sides, parallel to the ground, and engage (squeeze) the shoulder blades in toward the spine and slightly downward. Hold for one to two seconds, then release and repeat six to 10 times.
Forward Bend4 of 8
The forward bend not only stretches and warms up your spine but also wakes up your hamstrings.
Standing Backbend5 of 8
The standing backbend is a quick and easy way to wake up your spine and it instantly gives you more energy by opening up your chest. Breathe deeply and bend further with each breath.
Arm Circles6 of 8
This exercise targets your shoulders, triceps, back and biceps. Prepare your shoulder joints for every stroke with arm circles. Do forward and backwards arm circles for 30 seconds each direction.
90/90 Stretch7 of 8
Lie on the ground on your side with legs on top of one another. Keep your lower leg straight but bend the upper leg so the hip and knee are both at approximately 90 degrees. Extend your arms out in front of you--to the side you are facing--so they are perpendicular to your body and your palms are touching. Press your bent knee into the ground and maintain it there while you take your upper arm up and over toward the opposite side, rotating the spine as you go.
Quad Rocking8 of 8
Get on the ground squarely on your hands and knees. Sit back into your hips while keeping your abs engaged. Return to starting position, flex and extend your spine like a cat stretch. Repeat six times.