Physio Tips with Prue Stokes
With the Port to Pub just over two months away, I am sure you are all well in to your training. As a sports physio working in open water swimming, one of the most common problems I see as the athletes ramp up their training load is a progressive tightening of the upper back, called the thoracic spine.
Good flexibility of the thoracic spine is imperative in open water swimming to enable:
1. A good body roll; and,
2. An efficient streamline position in the water (thereby reducing drag).
The following three stretches will increase mobility of the thoracic spine:
Start lying on your side with arms stretched out in front, reach the top arm up towards the ceiling and then behind you allowing the upper body to twist. The aim is to get your shoulder blade on to the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat 5 x each side.
Thoracic extension over the foam roller
This is a great exercise if you have a foam roller at home. Place the foam roller horizontally under your upper back, support head with hands and extend upper body over the roller. Can repeat at different levels of the upper spine (avoid doing this on the lower back or neck). Try and repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Angel wings on the wall
Flatten your back on to the wall, position your feet out from the wall and bend your knees. Starting with arms out to the side, extend the arms overhead to where you can while maintaining a flat back on the wall. The aim is to lift the arms as high as you can without arching the back. Repeat x 10.