Warm-Ups and Stretches for Swimming: Effects and Benefits

· 3rd September 2018
Warm-ups and stretches are essential for any sporting activity, because they prepare your body physically and mentally for the demands of a training routine. So before diving into the pool, it’s a good idea to learn a little about them.

Swimming is one of the most demanding workouts. Therefore, performing warm-ups and stretches before swimming is essential. In this article, we look at the importance of preparing our body for swimming.

Warm-ups and stretches help your body to prepare for intense physical activity and potential burnout. Whether you swim at a professional level or as a hobby, performing these exercises can help you to get the results you expect. Write down these tips and don’t forget to try them before your next swimming session.

Warm-ups and stretches to perform before swimming

Woman stretching before diving in the pool.

When you start swimming, all the muscles and joints in your body are activated, which increases your heart rate. Each athlete has a specialized routine based on the demands of their bodies and the intensity level of the sport they’re practicing. So pay attention to the following warm-ups and stretches that you can do:

Stretching exercises

These are performed before and after a training session to strengthen your muscles and joints, but mostly to avoid injuries. The most frequent stretching exercises are:

Stretching your whole body

We suggest that you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and lean your torso forward to form a 45 degree angle. This way, you’ll stretch your glutes, legs and arms.

Arm stretches

To do this exercise, you must lift your arms and bend your torso sideways, alternating the direction that you bend towards. By doing this, you’ll stretch your back and arms and you can do it standing up or sitting down.

Hip stretches

For this exercise you should sit down and bring the soles of your feet together. Then place your hands on your knees to help with the stretching. Finally, finish by stretching each leg separately.

Other stretching exercises may be the ones that you practice in the gym. Remember to do them at the end of your workout.

Warming up out of the water

By performing these warm-ups and stretches out of the water, it will help you to move your body progressively. The most common ones you can try are:

  • Arm circles: this exercise seeks to warm-up your shoulders by moving them forwards and backwards.
  • Neck rotation: perform slow movements with your neck to reduce tension.
  • Swinging your arms and legs: move your legs and arms forwards, backwards and sideways, this way you’ll add flexibility and agility to these areas of your body.

After doing warm-ups and stretches for 20 minutes, you will be ready to get in the water.

Warming up in the water

Once you’re inside the pool, you must warm your body up and adapt to the new conditions. To do this, it’s recommended that you swim slowly and integrate all of the swimming styles: front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke. Because this way, you will move every part of your body.

Woman doing the front crawl.

Five effects of warm-up and stretching exercises

When you do warm-ups and stretches, the main effect is that they elevate your body temperature. However, there are other positive effects, such as the following:

  1. Dilated blood vessels, which increase the blood flow to your muscles.
  2. Less fatigue and anxiety before a workout.
  3. An increased respiratory rate and volume of oxygen entering your body.
  4. Promoting nervous stimuli and muscular contraction speed.
  5. Increased focus.

The goal when you perform these activities is to activate the physiological changes in your body, when it is at rest. As a result, you’ll be physically and mentally prepared.

Six benefits of warming up and stretching before swimming

These are some of the benefits of doing warm-up and stretching exercises before swimming:

  1. Increased flexibility and agility in performance.
  2. Facilitate executing certain specialized swimming techniques.
  3. They help to control your muscle strength.
  4. Improved focus and coordination of your movements when swimming.
  5. Increased blood circulation, preventing injuries and cramps.
  6. They stimulate the production of synovial fluid, which keeps your joints lubricated.

In addition, the main goal is to achieve a great performance when working out.

Consequences of skipping warm-up and stretches

If you don’t prepare your body adequately for physical activity, the risk of suffering from cramps or muscle strains will increase. Also, not preparing yourself will reduce your productivity and range of motion.

In conclusion, warm-ups and stretches are essential for adequate performance and are beneficial for your body.