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Shoulder range of motion

training improve shoulder range of motionHow do I improve my shoulder range of motion?

The Busselton Jetty Swim will see competitors swim either 3.6km or 1.6km before making their way to the pub for a well-earned beverage. It is important to note that elite distance swimmers will complete an average of 85/100 strokes per minute, now that’s a lot of strokes!
So, if I was to advise you that shoulder pain is the most common musculoskeletal injury found in swimmers, would that surprise you?
Let’s be honest, the swim stroke Freestyle, is by far the most popular and well renowned swim stroke on the planet. The Freestyle swim stroke is divided into four primary phases referred to as the catch, pull, exit and recovery. When these four phases are repeated multiple times, its easy to see why the shoulder joint and surrounding musculature are put under a lot of stress.

Now let’s get into the fun stuff, I’m about to take you through three shoulder mobility exercises to not only improve your range of motion, but also improve your stroke efficiency in the pool or open water.

Throughout these three exercises, make sure you breathe and can smile—if you can’t, then it’s too intense and you need to back off. Your body will only make lasting changes that it’s comfortable with and your facial expression and breathing are strong indicators of this.

Shoulder Mobility + Tennis Ball

training AB shoulder blogThis can be uncomfortable at first, but over time it really helps to open up the shoulder joint. Lie on your back and place a tennis ball between your spine and scapula with your palm up and arm on the floor. Bring the arm across your body toward the opposite hip and bring it back up overhead in a diagonal motion. You can also take your arm across your body, then bring it up overhead, and then return it to your slide in a snow angel motion.

T-Spine Mobility + Double Tennis Ball

Lying on your, back place two tennis balls (either taped together or in a tied-off sock) at the bottom of your spine where your ribs connect. Perform a quarter sit-up movement a few times and then slide the balls up one vertebra. Perform the same sit-up movement on this vertebra and then scoot up to the next one. Continue until you’ve reached where your shoulder meets your spine. Focus on the mid-back and not the lower back or neck for this exercise.

training AB shoulder blog2Seated Wall Angel Knees Bent

Sit on the floor with your back upright against a wall. Place your forearms and elbows against the wall. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and while holding them tight, move your arms up and down the wall as long as you can keep contact with the wall and your elbows.


Shapiro C, Shamus E, (2001). Sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. New York: McGraw-Hill: Vol 103-154.

Tovin, B. (2006). North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Atlanta, Georgia: Vol 1-4

Picture References: https://www.google.com/search?q=Spikey+ball+release+spine&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjmvcCq7pH0AhWbjtgFHXyyBZcQ2