How to avoid and fix swimming shoulder injury

Shoulder Injury

Chances are you’ve experienced shoulder pain or discomfort at some point in your swimming life. If this has ever prevented you from swimming, you will appreciate just how frustrating this can be. Many people spend a lot of money every year visiting a physiotherapist in an effort to manage a shoulder injury but overlook what is actually causing that pain in the first place. 9 times out of 10, this will be your stroke technique.

Correcting your technique is not actually that difficult, but you do need to know what to look out for and, just as importantly, work diligently to improve in these areas. If available to you, video analysis is a great tool for this because it really helps you identify what you personally need to work on. We recommend you get some if you possibly can.

The following four simple tips will ensure you avoid developing a shoulder injury from your swimming:

1. Body Rotation
Developing a good, symmetrical body rotation through the development of an efficient bilateral breathing pattern is key to removing shoulder

Help Someone Learn to Swim Freestyle

Trust And Support

Here at Swim Smooth we recognise that swimmers and triathletes with a passion for their sport want to pass on their experience and joy of swimming to friends and family. As a trusted friend or relation you are in a unique position to help someone else – having someone’s implicit trust is very important in helping their efforts to learn to swim.

Imagine someone achieving their dream of learning freestyle and you were the one that helped them do it!

We can tell you ourselves that’s a great feeling. That feeling is the reason why we’re swim coaches.

Maybe you know someone who would love to able to swim freestyle but you are unsure of the best pathway for them to follow. How would you start? What are the most important drills for them to try and when? How long should you spend on each step? What do you do if they struggle at a particular point?

Swim Smooth have recently launched the Learn To Swim Freestyle Program which is aimed at swimmers who want to learn freestyle for the

Breathing Technique In The Freestyle Stroke

Freestyle Breathing Technique

Developing a good breathing technique is perhaps the biggest challenge for beginner and intermediate swimmers. Problems with breathing can easily knock on into other parts of the stroke. For instance, breathing can cause scissor kicks, poor body position, cross-overs and lop sided strokes.

Many swimmers have a problem with their stroke that is related to their breathing technique without realising that their breathing is the cause of the problem.

Below we’re going to take a quick look at good breathing technique and common problems. We’ll also give you 7 tips to improve your breathing, try them even if you don’t think you have a breathing problem – you may be surprised!

Tip 1. Focus on Your Exhalation Not Your Inhalation

The most common problem swimmers have with their breathing is not exhaling under the water. If you exhale under the water between breaths you only have to inhale when you go to breathe. This makes things much easier. It also relaxes you and helps greatly with bilateral breathing.

This is so important and can make a massive difference to

Rotation and Body Roll In Freestyle Swimming

What is Body Roll / Rotation?

In swimming jargon we call body roll your rotation around your ‘long axis’ during the stroke. This is the rotation of your shoulders, torso and hips. The terms ‘body roll’ and ‘rotation’ mean the same thing, we use them interchangeably.

For good efficient swimming technique, the shoulders, torso and hips should all roll together as one. For your kick, this means you kick on the side slightly as you rotate.

In the freestyle stroke it is quite rare to see someone with too much body roll but it is very common to see too little. It is also common to see swimmers rolling well to one side but not to the other in their stroke technique.

Important: The head should remain stationary and not roll with the body unless you are breathing. You can find some tips on controlling your head position on our freestyle breathing technique page.

Why Is It So Important?

Body roll is a very important part of your stroke technique, so much so that we call it a fundamental of freestyle swimming. There are many small technical reasons why body roll is important but here are three main ones:


Triathlon And Open Water Swimming

Swimming in the open-water (river, lake or ocean) can be very different to swimming in the clear waters of your local swimming pool. Besides the technical adjustments that you need to make to your stroke technique (which we will discuss shortly), the biggest factor for most people is adjusting to this strange environment and overcoming the fear and anxiety that it often represents. By following our 5 simple tips below, you can master the transition of converting your efficient pool stroke into an effective open-water stroke:

1. Get used to wearing your wetsuit.

In most races you will have the option of wearing a wetsuit, particularly in the northern hemisphere. But many triathletes feel that whilst they love the buoyancy, swimming in it just feels plain ‘weird’.

Complaints of heavy arms and shoulders are common. The reasons for these problems boil down to one of two things:

– the fit of your wetsuit / how you put it on

– the technique that you use when swimming in your suit

Getting your suit fitted for you is absolutely essential and we’d always recommend trying a suit on first before buying it; you’re just hitting and hoping with an online

Mindset Tips for Intermediate level swimmers

If you are a competitive triathlete or someone who swims for recreation, the chances are you see swimming as a necessary evil for completing your event or for staying fit.

Swimming doesn’t have to be like this, and quite often thinking of it as such is your biggest barrier to further improvement.

Follow these simple tips to get you thinking more positively about your swimming and watch your performances sky-rocket as a result:

1. Identify Your Weaknesses. One of the best services we are able to offer those attending our International Clinics is high quality video analysis of swimmer’s stroke technique. You may have a preconceived idea about what is holding you back with your swimming but when you can clearly see this on the video screen above and below the water, it becomes immediately apparent what you need to do to make improvements.

Having your coach clearly lay-out the factors behind what is holding you back, why and how to improve these areas is extremely powerful and motivating.

Don’t delay, make sure you book in to get your stroke analysed!

2. Play In The Water. Everyone these days appears to be time poor – rushing from work to

How To Develop A Longer Stroke

A High Stroke Rate

You should have arrived here from our Rhythm, Timing and Stroke Rate page. Perhaps you used the stroke rate chart on that page to identify that you have a high stroke rate for your swimming speed.

Since you have a high stroke rate for your speed it’s very likely that your stroke technique is a little scrappy and you are not rolling enough in the water to develop a long stroke.

Here we’re going to give you some tips to improve your swimming technique from the perspective of stroke rate. Slowing your stroke rate down in a controlled manner will give you more time to lengthen things out – it can really work wonders.

The Stroke Rate Angle

Many swimmers with short strokes know they should be lengthening out and becoming longer but struggle to co-ordinate doing it. This is where stroke rate swimming can help so much. By using a Wetronome to slow the stroke rate down the swimmer has a reference to work to. This allows them to find a new slightly slower rhythm that gives them time to lengthen out their stroke technique.

We recommend you first determine your current stroke rate,