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Swimming Injury Prevention Program

February 5, 2024

Injury prevention in swimming should be centred on the most common injuries sustained by swimmers. Shoulder, knee and back injuries are the most frequent muscle & joint complaints related to swimming and are therefore at the core of an holistic injury prevention program.

Shoulder injuries in swimming mainly consist of impingement and supraspinatus tendinopathy. Prevention strategies for these injuries should incorporate internal rotation flexibility and external rotation strengthening components. Scapular stabilisation is another important element of shoulder prehab. Following on from the strengthening of individual muscle groups. Shoulder plyometric exercises should be incorporated at the end of rehab for swimmers, some exapmles of these include wall chest passes and slam ball exercises. These exercises will improve chest and shoulder power and strength in a functional capacity.

Knee injuries are the second most frequently sustained swimming injuries. Injury prevention for the knee should consistently focus on strengthening the three major muscle groups surrounding the knee; the glutes,hamstrings and quadriceps. Much like the shoulder, the knee’s injury prevention should culminate in plyometric work.

Core strengthening is at the forefront of back injury rehab and prevention. Pelvic control is achieved by strengthening the glutes. Increased glute strength will reduce the anterior tilt of the pelvis and hyperextension in the lumbar spine that many swimming strokes can exacerbate. Abdominal strength is also essential in supporting the spine. Pilates based exercises should be integrated to the injury prevention. Resistance for the core can be introduced to swimming prevention programs through a pallof press using a cable machine and swiss ball fly’s with dumbbells. These exercises improve anti-rotational strength which reduces the strain on the spinal facet joints and intervertebral discs.

If you have any questions on swimmer injury prevention or rehabilitation, call our Physiotherapy clinic on 01 441 0100.