Study Finds Swim Training Volume Associated With Shoulder Pain In Adolescents

A study published in PubMed Central (PMC) via the Journal of Athletic Training concludes that there is correlation between swim training volume and shoulder pain, particularly in adolescents.

Entitled Swim-Training Volume and Shoulder Pain Across the Life Span of the Competitive Swimmer: A Systematic Review, the study set out to investigate the relationship between training volume among swimmers and shoulder pain, and to determine training volume and shoulder pain prevalence across the life span of the competitive swimmer.

Using relevant studies from PubMed, Web of Science and MEDLINE, the researchers found 12 that met their criteria, with a total of 1,460 participants. They grouped the swimmers in four different age categories: young (under 15), adolescent (15-17), adult (18-22), and masters (23-77).

Swimmers in the adolescent age group showed the highest rate of shoulder pain at 91.3%, with the other categories ranging from 19.4-70.3%, while adolescents (17.27 +/- 5.25 hours/week) and adults (26.8 +/- 4.8 hours/week) reported the highest training volume.

The study also found that in both the adolescent and masters groups, differences in volume were present for those with and without shoulder pain (higher volume athletes experienced shoulder pain, and lower ones didn’t, in general).

For adolescents, years active in competitive swimming and weekly training volume correlated “significantly” with supraspinatus tendon thickness, and all swimmers who experienced tendon thickening also dealt with shoulder pain.

In conclusion, the evidence suggests that training volume was associated with shoulder pain in adolescent competitive swimmers, and year-round monitoring of the athlete’s training was encouraged to maintain a balanced program.

The study adds that developing athletes should avoid sudden and large increases in swimming volume, and that additional studies are required to determine cutoff values in terms of volume for the different age groups.

Study Citation

  • Feijen S, Tate A, Kuppens K, Claes A, Struyf F. Swim-Training Volume and Shoulder Pain Across the Life Span of the Competitive Swimmer: A Systematic Review. J Athl Train. 2020 Jan;55(1):32-41. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-439-18. PMID: 31935141; PMCID: PMC6961642.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Also recently discovered, doing drugs is associated with testing positive on drug tests

IU Swammer
1 month ago

Study shows water wet.

1 month ago

study shows that if you work more at a higher wage you earn more money.

New Zealander Laughing From Afar
Reply to  Aaron
1 month ago

Study shows that people who only read the headline don’t learn as much.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »