Swimmers should always stretch before a workout. Swimming requires us to use most of our body’s muscles to propel ourselves through the water. If we do not stretch, we can get injured by over-exertion. By holding each stretch for 30 seconds, we release different muscle components. Follow our deep stretching routine for swimmers to have fun and stay safe!


Stretching Arms and Shoulders

Swimmers need great upper body strength to glide through the water and control direction. However, each lap means a higher risk of injury. This is why it’s the most important group of muscles for swimmers to stretch.


Tricep Stretch

  1. Cross your right hand over the right shoulder while putting the opposite arm hanging behind your back.
  2. Grab your elbow and push the hanging arm down using your free hand.
  3. Feel the stretch on the outside shoulder that surrounds the rotator cuff.
stretching tricep
Via Dragon Images/iStock/ Getty Images


Arm Rotations

  1. Stretch your arms out to the side with your palms facing up.
  2. Slowly rotate them forward simultaneously.
  3. Continue rotating in medium circles for 10 seconds.
  4. Do this for another 10 seconds while making big circles.
  5. Repeat while rotating backwards.

Arm Cross


  1. Grab your right arm and hold it across your chest with fingers pointing out and palms down.
  2. Hold your right arm in place with the left forearm for 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat the stretch with the other arm.
stretching - arm cross


Stretching Legs and Glutes

A swimmer’s legs provide the power needed to propel through the water. It also allows them to continuously kick to stay afloat. This can strain your legs and your behind. So get a deep stretch from your calves up to your hips before swimming.


Hip Flexor Stretch
  1. Place one foot in front of you and slowly lunge with one knee on the ground.
  2. Lean forward to stretch with the leg at a 90-degree angle. Be sure the hips are open and aligned with the shoulders.
stretching - hip flexor


“Pretzel” Stretch

  1. Sit down and lean back with both legs out straight.
  2. Keep the right leg flat and cross the left leg over the opposite knee.
  3. Pull the foot towards your chest with the opposite hand.
  4. Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.
stretching - pretzel
Via Active With D

Butterfly Stretch

  1. Sit on the ground with the bottom of both feet touching and the knees facing outwards.
  2. Lean forward into the stretch with elbows gently pushing the legs down.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
stretching - butterfly
Via Christina Fermelis


Quad Stretch

  1. Stand on one leg with the other bent behind the back with a hand holding the foot.
  2. Try to keep your balance and lean on a wall if needed.
stretching - hip flexor


Back Stretches for Swimmers

The back is the last muscle group that needs attention before diving in. The back is susceptible to aches and pains as we get older. The lower back muscle is small but crucial. Injuring it can keep you out of the water for weeks and possibly months.


Semi Spine Twist

  1. Sit down on the ground with the right leg extended.
  2. Bend the left leg to have the left foot planted across the extended leg.
  3. Press the right elbow into the left knee.
  4. Deepen the stretch as much you can by trying to look behind you.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
stretching - spine twist


Child’s Pose

  1. Get down on your knees and reach forward with both hands.
  2. Slowly walk the hands forward until the face is directly in front of the knees.
  3. Sit back in the pose and hold for 30 seconds.

stretching - child's pose

Is stretching before swimming important to you? Got any other great stretches for swimmers? Let us know in the comments!