Many practitioners of mine and various articles on the internet discuss the benefits of stretching within the water. I do not have an entire stretching routine for the pool, but I occasionally stretch in the pool when I have extra time. I typically focus on stretches I complete on the ground, but stretching in the pool is a valuable option to help release the muscles in your body if you would like to give it a shot. You can complete any stretch in the water, but I will be describing ten stretches that you can perform smoothly in the water. These stretches are fantastic at reducing tightness and enhancing comfort throughout the body.
The West Way to Swim composed a list of 10 videos in an article called “10 Stretching Exercises for Swimmers During and After Swimming.” There are visual representations on the website, but I will give short descriptions and my instructions for each stretch. The first stretch, named arm-across -chest stretch, releases tightness in the shoulder, neck, chest, and back. It involves you placing your arm on your chest at shoulder height. Moving the arm across your body, you will use your other arm to enhance the stretch and support your stretching arm. I will call the next exercise hand behind your chest, and this releases tightness throughout the shoulders, chest, back, arms, and neck; however, it focuses on different parts of these muscle groups to the last stretch. You will place your hands on a surface behind you with your arms straight and gradually move your body forward.
The next stretch involves you standing with arms connected behind your back. I feel this stretch in my upper shoulder and shoulder blades the most, but it once again stretches the back, shoulder, chest, neck, and arms. First, you will stand with your back straight and then wrap your hands together behind your back. Subsequently, move your arms as far as you can upwards, keeping your hands together and arms straight. The next stretch is a hamstring stretch, which requires the use of a fin. It stretches the various muscles throughout your leg and hips, which can reduce tightness in both your lower body and the back. After you put the fin on, lean on a wall, slowly lift your leg upwards, and try to grab the fin. Try to keep your leg straight, but it is alright if you slightly bend the leg while holding the fin. If you cannot grab the fin, lean forward as far as possible, so you achieve similar results.
The next stretch is a calf stretch, which requires you to be next to a wall. This helps reduce tightness throughout the calf, Achilles, and knee joints. You will need your toes to elevate off the ground while remaining touching the wall, so you need to position your heel as far as possible. Once in this stretch, you can either hold the position or progressively lean forward to feel a deeper stretch. The next stretch is a more advanced hamstring stretch, which involves lifting your leg to a platform or wall next to the pool. With your leg in that position, try to bend your body towards the foot and have your head touch it. It would be best if you slowly eased into this stretch as it may be difficult for people who are not used to stretching the hamstring.
The next stretch is a simple quad stretch that involves you grabbing your foot, angling the leg, and attempting to touch your glutes with your heels. This stretch focuses on reducing tightness in the quadriceps and glutes. The next stretch involves lifting your arms above your head to stretch the shoulder, back, and neck. You need to position one arm behind your head with the arm bent positioning downwards. The other arm will grab the arms elbow and push the arm down as far as you can without discomfort. The proximal stretch works on releasing tightness in the groin and upper thigh area. It includes you lifting your leg, bending your knee, and resting your foot on a wall. The other leg will remain on the floor while you lean forward towards the wall. The next stretch focuses on the shoulders, neck, and back muscles. It requires you to place one palm on top of the other with the upper hand thumb wrapped around the lower palm. Locking your elbows, you will stretch the arrow towards the sky.
These ten stretches are incredibly at reducing tightness throughout your muscles. As I repeatedly mention, stretching is essential to maintaining recovery and preventing damage that can come from having muscular dystrophy. I would recommend holding these stretches for about thirty seconds for each arm or leg and then shaking your body around following the stretches. The pool enables people to get deeper into stretches without the pressure of gravity. I would recommend looking deeper into stretches within the pool because I frequently hear the benefits of stretching in a pool, spa, or water.