How to swim train through a shoulder injury

Learn how using a pull buoy is a great way to reduce the stress on the shoulders allowing you to continue swim training through a shoulder injury.

Can I swim train through a shoulder injury?

A large number of people come in and see me with shoulder problems but want to keep swimming.

I am one of those Physio’s who encourages as much continuing of sport and activity as the injury allows and so I will be more than happy to tailor their individual program to suit their injury and their rehab.

But the biggest mistakes some people make is thinking that when their shoulder is sore they should throw away the pull buoy.

Quite the contrary, for the majority of us, our kick is a flutter at best for any distance greater than 100m. So we very rarely rely on our legs for propulsion but more for our body position. The trouble is unless we are specifically using our legs and training them to kick better they can be the thing that is slowing us down.

This swimming uphill greatly increases the pressure applied to your arms and shoulders and so they are working harder than they should. When your legs aren’t kicking strongly they start to drag and in order to keep them up close to the surface, our core stomach muscles have to work harder.

Invariable as you fatigue your hips drop as you core starts to fatigue and with your legs just dragging along behind you, you rely heavily on your arms. So much so for many swimmers, it almost simulates swimming uphill.

Reducing stress on your shoulder while swimming training

A good way to reduce this stress on the shoulders is to place a bull buoy in between the legs. This allows the hips to remain on the surface and keep your legs from sinking.

If you have the right pull buoy you will be able to get away with a light 2 beat kick and by allowing the body and hips to be more buoyant and on top of the water you are in a much more efficient position. This allows all your power to propel you forwards, and not upwards.

So next time you start to fatigue and are worried you might get a sore shoulder, whack a pull buoy in and keep swimming efficiently.

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