Swimming is a sport that looks so graceful, but requires great power in the upper body muscles. Your shoulder goes through the total range-of-motion as you glide through the water. The resistance of the water increases the exercise and builds strong muscles.
If you swim on a regular basis, or at an endurance level, all of your shoulder muscles could be repetitively strained to the point where your muscles can actually tear, or sever from the bone.
Prevention is the best treatment, and fortunately prevention is easy. The muscles of your shoulder are simple to self-treat once you know how to find the common spasms and how to get the best leverage to treat them properly.
As you take your stroke your arm goes out to the side (Lateral/Middle Deltoid) and angles toward your back, (Infraspinatus and Posterior Deltoid), and your arm is bent at your elbow (Biceps). Then you lift your arm up (Anterior Deltoid) and straighten your arm (Triceps). To bring your arm down as you slice through the water you are using your Pectoralis Major, andLatissimus Dorsi. Finally you bring your arm back by again contracting your Infraspinatus and Pectoralis Major.
As you twist your body and kick your legs you are also repetitively straining your Iliacus muscle and your Gluteus Maximus muscles. The Iliacus kicks your leg forward, and the Gluteus Maximus kicks your leg back. Plus, the Iliacus and the Psoas will bend your trunk forward, for example, when you do the Butterfly stroke. If you experience calf cramps while you are swimming they can be coming from the muscles of your lower leg, specifically your Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles. These muscles shorten the entire time you are swimming because your toes are pointing and your heel is lifted.
It’s important to release the tension in the muscle fibers that happen when your muscles tie up in knots. When any of these muscles are in spasm they will put pressure on the bone, causing pain and preventing you from moving the joint fully. Many people think that stretching will do the trick, but it doesn’t, and it can actually cause more damage than not stretching at all. Before you stretch you need to release the spasms that have formed in your muscle fibers. All of the muscles that you repetitively strain as you swim can easily be self-treated. It’s important to add self-treatments to your regular routine so you can flush out the toxins you are developing as you exercise. After you release the spasms in your muscle fibers it is beneficial to safely stretch. When your muscles are in balance you will enjoy your ultimate performance level.