Why Stretch? What could an appropriate level of flexibility do for a swimmer?
- Might prevent injury
- Could help a swimmer hold better technique
- Could make a swimmer faster
- Might make a swimmer more efficient
One simple routine I like is shown below. It should be done after warming up for 10:00 to 15:00 minutes or after the completion of your regular workout. Generally, stretching before a workout only restores your regular level of flexibility at best, and trying to stretch "cold" muscles cold injure them. Stretching after a workout tends to increase your flexibility and greatly decreases the odds of injuring the muscle during the stretch.
This program consists of several exercises. You can add or subtract to customize it to your needs. many other stretches are listed in the resources (listed on the right). This routine should take between 5:00 and 15:00 minutes to complete.
- Frequency: Daily
- Sets: 1 - 4
- Repetitions: 4 - 10
- Duration: Hold for 2 - 4 seconds
- Rest: 5 - 10 seconds between reps and 20 - 45 seconds between sets (but don't rush it, take more if you need it)
- Exertion: Stretch until you feel resistance and hold
- Use the opposing muscle to help move into the stretch
- DO NOT FORCE A MOVEMENT, AND DO NOT HOLD A POSITION IF YOU FEEL PAIN
- The motion of the stretch should stop a bit before it becomes painful
- Increase number of repetitions by 1 each week
- Once you reach 10 repetitions, decrease to 4 repetitions and increase number of sets
- While doing 2 sets, increase number of repetitions by 1 each week
- Continue this pattern up to 3 sets of 4 repetitions (that should be plenty of flexibility work)
For specific stretches, check the suggested reading list for more information.