I have put together 5 suggestions of effective stretches which work the legs, chest, shoulders and back prior to your swimming session.
To start lie on your front on the floor with elbows bent and tucked in both sides of your hips with forearms and hands also on the floor. Whilst looking down breath in for 5 seconds and then exhale for 5 seconds as you push up with your hands to straight arms, you will feel your chest rise up whilst keeping your hips on the ground. This will give a stretch of the lower back. Hold for 5 seconds. Then lower yourself back to lying on the floor as you breathe in again and repeat the movement.
2. LOW LUNGE
Bend your front knee keeping in line with your ankle. The back leg is also bent with knee resting on the floor. Do enough of a wide base so you can feel the stretch. Breathe in for 5 seconds and gradually exhale out for 5 seconds whilst raising both arms straight above your head with head looking forward in a neutral position. You should feel a stretch across your chest and back. You will also feel a nice stretch in the groin of your back legs and quads. Once you have done one side switch over, and repeat.
3. HAMSTRING STRETCH
After you do the Low Lunge stretch, whilst still in the same position, bring your arms down straight towards the floor whilst straightening your front leg, rocking your weight onto the back leg. This will stretch the back of your front leg. This should be done whilst exhaling from the low lunge position. Hold for 5 seconds and go back into transferring your weight forward again bending the front knee and your hands touching the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, use a
couple of foam block which mean you don’t have to stretch as far until you get more flexible. As you do it breathe in and extend both arms above your head again. Aim for 5 rounds of Low Lunges and 5 Hamstring Stretches on one side and then switch over and repeat.
4. OPENING THE CHEST
Find a corner of a wall and place your elbow, forearm and hand against it. With a straight back and head looking forwards, push against it with your elbow, forearm and hand. Your hand should be similar level to your face. Breathe in for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds to carry out the stretch.
5. STRETCH THE FRONT OF THE SHOULDERS
Stand up straight and look forwards. With straight arms, clasp both hands behind your back to form a knuckle with your hands resting on your lower back. Breathe in for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds whilst moving your straight arms away from your lower back and hold. You should feel a stretch across the front of your shoulders and chest. Then bring your arms back into your lower back breathe in again for 5 seconds and repeat.