How To Warm Up Before Swimming: 12 Must-Read Warm-Up Exercises

If you’re eager to jump into the pool and start swimming, hold on momentarily! Taking the time to warm up before your swim can help improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury.

A good warm-up routine increases blood flow to your muscles, loosens them up, and prepares your body for the rigours of this activity.

This guide teaches you how to warm up before swimming to help you maximise your time in the pool or open water.

 

Warm Up With Stretching Exercises

Swimmers can benefit from several stretching exercises before diving deep into the water. Here is a couple of them.

 

1. Quad Stretching

This warm-up stretch targets the hip flexors and quads. To perform this stretch:

Step 1: Keep your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

Step 2: Bring your right foot towards your buttocks and grasp your ankle with your right hand.

Step 3: Hold this position for 15-20 seconds before repeating it on the other side.

 

2. Hamstring Stretch

This stretch targets your hamstring muscles, allowing you to push forward through the water. Here’s how to warm up your hamstrings:

Step 1: Sit on the edge of a bench or pool with your legs straight out in front of you.

Step 2: Reach forward with both hands towards your toes and hold this position for 15-20 seconds.

Step 3: Keep your knees slightly bent and avoid rounding your back.

 

3. Shoulder Stretch

This stretch targets the shoulder blades and upper back area of your body.

Step 1: Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

Step 2: Reach your right arm straight across your chest and use your left hand to pull it towards your body gently.

Step 3: Hold for 15-20 seconds before repeating on the other side.

 

4. Arm Swings/Arm Circles

Arm swings are a simple but effective way to warm up the upper body and prepare your arms for swimming.

Step 1: Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent slightly.

Step 2: Raise your arms to the sides of your body, parallel to the ground. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles as you go. After 10-15 small circles, switch directions and make circles in the opposite direction.

Step 3: Raise your arms above your head and reach as high as possible. Lower your arms down to your sides and repeat this motion 10-15 times.

 

5. 90/90 Stretching

The 90/90 stretch is a dynamic stretching exercise that targets the upper leg muscles and can help prepare your body for swimming.

Step 1: Start seated with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.

Step 2: Next, lift your right foot off the ground and swing your leg out to the right, creating a 90-degree angle with your right knee. At the same time, swing your left leg back behind you, making a 90-degree angle with your left knee.

Step 3: From this starting position, gently rotate your upper body to the right, reaching your right hand towards your right foot. Stay in the position for a few seconds before turning your upper body to the left, reaching your left hand towards your left foot.

Step 4: Repeat this dynamic stretching exercise for 10-15 repetitions on each side, taking care to perform the stretch in a slow and controlled manner. The 90/90 stretch is an effective way to loosen up the upper leg muscles and prepare your body for swimming.

 

6. Wall Press

Step 1: Find a wall and stand facing it with your feet hip-width apart.

Step 2: Place your hands on the wall at about shoulder height and shoulder width apart. Step back with your left foot and press your left heel into the ground, keeping your left leg straight.

Step 3: Bend your right knee and lean forward, feeling the stretch in your left calf and the back of your left leg. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds before switching sides and repeating on the other leg.

Step 4: Perform this stretch for 2-3 repetitions on each side, keeping your lower leg straight and avoiding arching your back.

 

7. Hip Stretches

A hip stretch is a great option if you’re looking for a warm-up exercise that targets your tight hip flexors. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Start in a kneeling position with your right knee on the ground and your left foot on the floor in front of you.

Step 2: Place your hands on your left thigh and shift your weight forward, keeping your back straight and your hips square.

Step 3: You should feel a stretch in your right hip flexor. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds before releasing and switching sides.

Step 4: Repeat the stretch for 2-3 repetitions on each side, maintaining proper form and avoiding leaning too far forward or backwards.

 

8. Static Stretching

Static stretching is a popular warm-up technique for swimmers that involves holding a stretch for an extended period. This type of stretching can help increase flexibility, get the blood flowing, and prepare your body for a swimming session.

Here are some static stretching exercises to consider adding to your warm-up routine:

Tricep stretch:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your left arm straight up above your head. Bend your left elbow so your hand touches the middle of your back. Slowly push your left elbow back with your right arm, feeling the stretch in your tricep. Hold for 15-20 seconds before switching sides.

Shoulder stretch:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bring your right arm across your chest. Pull your right arm with your left towards your body, feeling the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 15-20 seconds before switching sides.

Chest stretch:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and clasp your hands behind your back. Slowly raise your arms behind you, feeling the stretch in your chest. Hold for 15-20 seconds.

 

9. Goal Post Squeeze

Preventing injury is extremely important for swimmers, and an excellent warm-up routine can help. One stretch to consider adding to your sessions is the Goal Post Squeeze. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms to shoulder height.

Step 2: Bend your elbows so your hands are pointing up, creating a goalpost shape with your arms.

Step 3: Squeeze your shoulder blades together, feeling the stretch in your chest.

Step 4: Hold this position for 15-20 seconds before releasing.

Step 5: Repeat the stretch 2-3 times for maximum effect.

 

Try Cardio Exercises

Light cardio exercises before swimming increase your heart rate and increase circulation. Try out these techniques below:

 

10. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a classic exercise that can help swimmers warm up before hitting the water. This exercise increases the heart rate and increases circulation, which can help improve endurance during a swim.

Additionally, jumping jacks help loosen up the legs, hips, and upper body muscles, improving the range of motion and reducing the risk of injury.

 

11. High Knees

High knees is a warm-up exercise that helps to prepare the lower body for swimming. This exercise involves lifting your knees towards your chest while standing in place, which helps to increase blood flow and circulation.

By warming up the muscles in the legs and hips, high knees can help to improve range of motion and flexibility, which is vital for efficient swimming technique.

 

12. Butt Kicks

Butt kicks are swimming warm-up exercises which target the hamstrings. Doing butt kicks improves your range of motion and reduces the risk of injury during a swim.

Butt kicks can also help improve coordination and balance, which is essential for efficient swimming.

Begin with a straight starting position on your feet. Then, lift your heels towards your buttocks, alternating legs as you go. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.

 

Conclusion On How To Warm Up Before Swimming

Warming up before swimming is crucial for preventing injury and improving performance in the water. Incorporating dynamic stretches and light cardio exercises into your warm-up routine can help prepare your body for a successful swim.

Additionally, cooling down with some stretching after your swim can help to prevent muscle soreness and reduce the risk of injury.

If you want to improve your swimming skills and learn more about effective warm-up techniques, consider working with a certified swim coach.

At JustSwim, our experienced coaches offer personalised guidance and support to help you develop a safe and effective warm-up routine that meets your unique needs.

Don’t let poor warm-up habits prevent you from achieving your swimming goals – contact JustSwim today and get started!

 

Frequently Asked Questions On Warming Up Before Swimming

 

How Long Should I Warm Up Before Swimming?

Aim to warm up 10-15 minutes before swimming to increase blood flow and loosen up muscles.

 

Can I Warm Up In The Water Before A Swimming Session?

Yes, you can do a few easy laps in the pool to warm up in the water before starting your swimming session.

 

What Happens If I Don’t Warm Up Before Swimming?

Skipping a warm-up before swimming can increase the risk of injury and lead to poor performance due to stiff muscles and limited range of motion.

 

Can I Warm Up Without A Coach Or Instructor?

Yes, you can warm up without a coach or instructor by doing dynamic stretches and light cardio exercises like jumping jacks or high knees.

 

Can I Warm Up In A Wetsuit?

Yes, you can do a warm-up routine in a wetsuit to help increase blood flow and prepare your body for a swim in open water.

 

Can I Warm Up With Resistance Bands Before Swimming?

Yes, resistance bands can be an effective way to warm up your muscles before swimming and help prevent injury.