Taper is largely defined by reduced training volume, and that makes it a wonderful time of the year for swimmers. With extra time for rest and relaxation, swimmers experience several physical changes as they adjust to the newfound recovery. Let’s take a look at why stretching will be your number one tool for success during taper.
During taper, many athletes experience muscle stiffness. This is a common feeling that may have no bearing on your performance, but it can have an impact on your mental game. In order to reduce stiffness and feel ready to compete, you can gently move your muscles through a few stretches. Stretching boosts blood circulation to muscle tissue, helping your body exchange waste products for oxygen and nutrients.
Lengthen Muscle Tissue
Stretching for 10 minutes every evening will lengthen out any muscles that may have shortened during your day’s activities. Your quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders and lower back muscles tend to tighten up easily, so focus on these primary areas for your daily stretches. Use a foam roller to assist you in lengthening out hard-to-stretch areas like under the shoulder blade.
Minimize Energy Expenditure
Your primary duty during taper is to take good care of yourself and relax. The work is in the bag, and it’s time to save up your energy for the meet. Stretching can be a relatively low-energy form of exercise to loosen up your muscles, requiring minimal cardio or strength if you stick to basic movements. You can and should continue to stretch at meets in between sessions or after finals as a supplement to your warm up and warm down.
BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to athletes via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.
Nick Folker is the Co-Founder and Director of Elite Performance at BridgeAthletic. Nick’s roster of athletes includes 35 Olympians winning 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan was a four-year varsity swimmer at Stanford, where she recently graduated with a degree in Human Biology. The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.
Courtesy of BridgeAthletic, a SwimSwam partner.