When Summer finally comes around and all the competitions have been and gone, hard working swimmers are mentally and physically ready for a break. Rest and time away from the sport is extremely important for athletes that train at such high intensity through out the year. The body needs to rest and recover to be able to work hard again in the new year ahead. An average summer break for swimmers can be between 2-4 weeks, in this time a lot of fitness and strength can be lost and swimming can feel very difficult at the start of the new season.
Results from the Summer meets for all individuals will be different, some happy and some disappointed, but motivated swimmers will have new goals for the next season and competitions ahead. Consistency in training is important to get good results and one way to avoid missing training is to prevent injury. During my swimming career I experienced quite a few injuries and they were extremely frustrating! When a swimmer actually wants to train and can't because of injury, it can be really tough mentally to get through. At the start of a new training block after the Summer, swimmer's can be at a higher risk of injury as they have lost some muscular strength, endurance and stability. For swimmer's that want to avoid injuries, and are really motivated to reach their goals for next year, I recommend doing some injury prevention exercises during their time off away from the pool. The following exercises are not time consuming, can be done daily and are easy to do in your own choice of space:
Small and slow movements to be made by the scapulars at the back of the shoulder for all exercises (30-60seconds rest between sets):
lifting the arms off the floor and back down. (20+ reps) x3
T/W/Y shapes made with the arms. Move from T to W to Y and back to W to T. 15reps (1rep= from T back to T) x 3
Light dumbell, or light object you can hold in your hand, here I'm using 3kg. Keeping the arm straight, lift the shoulder off the floor and raise the arm straight up. (15reps each arm) x3
Abdonimals, Glutes and Scapulars to be switched on and controlling the position of the exercises. Maintain a straight back position, keeping the head in line with the spine.
Front plank into to side plank, left and right side. Side plank can be done from the knees to make it easier if good body position cannot be maintained. Hold for (30seconds each position) x3, 30 seconds rest bewteen sets.
1- 2-3- other side.
Use of a gym ball. Gym balls are great for core exercises and developing good core strength. If you have one available to use try this exercise:
Holding a plank position with your legs raised on the ball. To increase difficulty move the ball towards your feet or try raise 1 arm and hold good position without falling off. (30second holds) x3 30seconds rest.
Give them a go and be confident you can begin training with stronger stability!