6 Yoga Poses for Swimmers to Help Improve Your Breaststroke

When watching a great breaststroker you can’t help but marvel at how they are able to move their body through unusual positions with ease. A great deal of mobility is required to swim this unique stroke with efficiency, a type of mobility that these six yoga poses for swimmers can help you develop.

When addressing the range of motion needed to swim breaststroke efficiently three key areas to focus on are:

  1. Spine (particularly low back)
  2. Hips
  3. Ankles (dorsi flexion)

The six yoga poses below will help you improve your mobility in all three areas.

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Cat Cow

Benefits:

  • Spinal mobility
  • Hip mobility

Yoga for SwimmersYoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a table top pose (hands and knees)
    • Fingers spread wide pointed forward
    • Shoulders over wrists and hips over knees
  • On an inhale (Cow)
    • Lift your tail bone
    • Arch your spine
    • Bring the chest and chin forward
    • Squeeze shoulder blades towards spine
  • On an exhale (Cat)
    • Drop your tail bone
    • Round your spine
    • Drop your head
    • Press the ground away bringing should blades away from the spine

Sphinx

Benefits:

  • Increases spinal mobility
  • Stretches the abdomen
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Opens through the chest and shoulders

Cues

  • Start lying flat on your stomach
  • Place your elbows directly under your shoulders with your forearms pointing straight forward and your palms flat on the ground
  • Bring your chest and shoulders off of the ground coming into a gentle back bend
  • Allow the shoulders to relax away from the ears
  • You can either have your chin up facing forward or you can allow the chin to drop and relax the neck

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Frog

Benefits:

  • Hip mobility
    • Abduction
    • External rotation

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in table top (hands and knees)
  • Bring your knees out as wide as possible
  • Bend your knees and ankles towards a 90° angle
  • Curl your toes towards your shins with the inner part of your feet pointing towards the floor
  • Come down onto your forearms
  • Press your seat back towards your heels

Pose Variation – Half Frog

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Pigeon

Benefits:

  • Hip mobility
    • External rotation

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a low runner’s lunge
  • Walk your right ankle towards your left wrist
  • Bring your front leg towards a 90° angle at the knee working within your own range
  • Place the outside of your shin on the ground externally rotating the hip
  • Curl the toes and foot of the front leg are back towards your shin
  • Fully extend your left leg behind you straight from your hip joint
  • Keep both sides of your pelvis even
  • The toes of your back leg may be tucked or untucked
  • On an exhale fold forward at your hips

Pose Variation – Figure Four

Yoga poses for swimmers

 

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Wide legged supine twist

Benefits:

  • Hip mobility
    • Internal rotation

Yoga Poses for swimmers

Cues:

  • Start flat on your back with your arms out wide like airplane wings
  • Place your feet mat distance apart
  • Exhale and drop your knees to the right
  • Focus on bringing the left side of your seat to the ground
  • Place your right ankle on your left thigh just above the knee gently encouraging the left hip to internally rotate

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Toe Squat

Benefits:

  • Ankle mobility
    • Dorsi Flexion
  • Toe mobility

Yoga poses for swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a table top position (hands and knees)
  • Have your toes tucked under
  • Gradually start to bring your seat back towards your heels eventually sitting on your heels and bringing your torso upright
  • Remember work with your range of motion this can be an intense stretch for the toes and the fascia in the bottom of the foot. Come into the pose gradually discomfort is okay, but pain is not.

This yoga for swimmers class will take you through a number different sequences that include several of these poses and others that will help you develop the mobility you need to swim breaststroke more efficiently:

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About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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