Swimmer’s Shoulder

This is probably the most common of swimming injuries.  Due to the repetitive nature of swimming (the shoulder rotates around 1300 times for every 1.5km, or mile, swum in freestyle), the 17 different muscles that hold the humerus (the upper arm, from shoulder to elbow) in the shoulder socket can become inflamed.

The joint becomes unstable, and tendons become inflamed and are pinched or impinged upon, which can be chronically painful.  For swimmers who have had this complaint it can be one of the most debilitating injuries.


As with all injuries, prevention is better than cure.  Try this four-step treatment plan:

1.  Warm-up.  Follow five to 10 minutes of gentle swimming with the exercises below.  Do two repetitions each at 10—30 seconds per rep before and after your swim workout.

2.  For the muscles underneath the shoulder.   Extend both arms overhead in the streamlined position, then from the waist lean first to the left side as far as possible, then to the right.   Feel the pull all the way down your side.

3.  For the muscles in front of the shoulder.  Extend both arms straight behind your back, fingers  interlaced and slowly, steadily, raise your arms up behind you as far as possible.

4.  The muscles in the back of the shoulder.   Extend one arm across your chest so that the shoulder is under your chin and the hand, forearm and upper arm are parallel to the ground.  Without turning your body, use your other hand to pull the arm as close to your chest as possible.  Alternate with the other arm.

Train safe!


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