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Swimmers! Got Tight Shoulders? Do These 7 Stretches

Sometimes athletes tell me they have pain or discomfort in the rotator cuff area of their shoulder, tight or stiff upper back muscles, or they just can’t seem to get loose before a swim or a lift. If you need mobility and flexibility in your shoulders, these 7 yoga poses can help! Get in the habit of doing Yoga or some sort of flexibility training on your rest day. This can go a long way in extending recovery and preventing injury.


Child Pose- this is a go-to pose for rest and recovery. Stretching out the arms into the extended position will stretch the arms, shoulders, neck and upper back. Add the R and L side stretch to really loosen the teres major and minor, rhomboids, and lats.



Thread the Needle-this is a version of child pose but with one arm extended in a deep stretch while the other arm is threaded through the extended arm. You will feel this in your deltoids, triceps, and upper back muscles.


Bow Pose- this is one of the hardest for me, but it does give you a great stretch throughout your chest, neck, arms and shoulders. The harder you press your ankles into your hands the deeper the stretch.


Eagle Pose- Great for stretching the trapezius muscles and the deltoids. Be sure to keep your gaze forward and your elbow perpendicular to the ground. This pose will challenge your balance if you choose to stand on one foot. Another option is to flex forward and bring the elbows to the knees while balancing on one foot.


Forward Fold in Straddle- clasping hands behind the back while flexing forward will not only give you a great hamstring stretch, but will stretch the upper back and shoulder muscles nicely. You’ll feel the stretch in your deltoids, and teres minor, teres major, and lats. If you aren’t able to grip your hands together, try holding a towel and pulling it apart gently as you bend forward.


Cat/Cow-The cat part of this pose inverts the upper back and shoulders to give the lats, traps, rhomboids, teres major and minor a very nice stretch. If you’ve been sitting at a desk for several hours, do this pose to revive your shoulders and neck.


Cobra pose- this opens up the chest and neck muscles and will give your shoulders a feeling of release as you push them down to the ground and away from the ears. This move has dual benefits because it also stretches and lengthens your hip flexors which is great for after a long bike ride in the forward flexed position.


I hope you find these poses useful. I hope you are being kind to your body and doing good self-care at least one day per week. If you want to try a workout that gives you cardio, strength, mobility and flexibility all at once, check out the PiYo workout by clicking the box below. I am a huge fan of this workout because it is kind to your body yet builds major strength and flexibility. Stream it to your phone or tablet.


Have you thought about hiring a coach for your next iron distance event? Click the button below for a free 15 min call with me so we can talk about your goals.




Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

USA Cycling Coach

ACSM Trainer


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