Yoga for Swimmers: 4 Poses for Injury Prevention

Developing a swimming specific yoga practice can be a key component in an injury prevention program. Two of the most common areas that swimmers experience injuries are the shoulders and knees.

Many shoulder injuries can be caused by a lack of body awareness, poor scapular control and hyper-mobility.

Two of the most common causes of knee injuries is a lack of hip stability and mobility.

Poor core strength can be a major factor in almost all injuries.

The four poses outlined in this article will help increase scapular control and awareness, build hip stability and mobility and develop core body strength.

Extended Child’s Pose

This pose develops scapular awareness and shoulder stability.

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How to do it:

  • Come onto your knees with your big toes together and your knees out wide
  • Fold forward at the hips reaching the arms out in front of you placing your forehead on the ground
  • Inhale and walk the fingers forward feeling a strong stretch through both sides of the back
  • Once you have reached your max range of motion press the finger tips strongly into the ground and feel as if you are pulling the mat back towards your armpits engaging the musculature around the shoulder blades


Table Top – Protraction/Retraction

This subtle movement through the should blade with develop both scapular awareness and control.

Yoga for Swimmerscourtesy of Lachlan and Emily Photography

How to do it:

  • Come onto your hands and knees in a table top position
  • Have your hands right under your shoulders and your knees right under your hips
  • Ensure that you have the shoulders externally rotated
  • Keeping the body completely stable lift the left arm up and forward with your thumb up
  • On an inhale initiating movement from the shoulder blade reach one to two inches forward
  • On an exhale initiating the movement from the shoulder blade bring the arm one to two inches back

*As you move the arm make sure the core is stable and the upper traps (the muscle between the shoulder and the neck) are relaxed

Standing Figure Four

This pose develops both hip stability and mobility simultaneously.

How to do it:

yoga for swimmers

  • Start in mountain pose (perfect posture) with your palms together in front of your sternum
  • Feel into the four corners of the right foot (big toe mound, little toe mound, inner and outer side of the heel)
  • Put a slight bend in your right knee engaging in the quads
  • Inhale and bring left ankle onto your right thigh allowing the left hip to externally rotate
  • Exhale and shift your sit back beginning to lower yourself towards a one legged chair
  • Focus on engaging into the glutes on the right side and keeping the right knee pointed straight forward


Two Point Pushup Pose (Sunbird)

This pose strengthens the core while developing body awareness.

yoga for swimmers

How to do it:

  • Come into a high pushup position with your legs wide having the feet on the outside edges of the mat
  • Engage your core and pelvic floor
  • Inhale and lift your left foot two to three inches off of the ground
  • Focus on keeping your hips even and ensure that your left arm is positioned with your shoulder over your elbow and your elbow over your wrist with the shoulder externally rotated
  • Inhale and lift your lift your right hand up and forward
  • While balancing on your left arm and right foot focus on keeping your body square to the ground

If your core strength needs to improve before you can do a proper two point push up pose you can gain many of the same benefits from doing sunbird, which is explained below.


How to do it:Yoga for swimmers

  • Come onto your hands and knees in a table top position
  • Ensure that your fingers are spread wide, shoulders over elbows, elbows over wrists with the shoulders externally rotated and your knees right under your hips
  • Engage your core and pelvic floor
  • Inhale and bring the left leg up and back and the right arm up and forward
  • Keep your hips even and your shoulders square to the ground


This Yoga for Swimmers article is brought to you by Swimming Specific Yoga the world’s top resource for online yoga classes and courses designed for swimmers.


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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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