Yoga for Swimmers: Using Yoga as Part of Your Warm-Up Routine

Incorporating Swimming Specific Yoga into your warm-up routine is an amazing way to increase body awareness, mobility, activation and focus before hitting the water. The following short yoga practice will do exactly that.

A few of the main focuses of this Swimming Specific Yoga practice include:

  • activation of the shoulders and hips
  • thoracic spine mobility
  • connection to the core
  • focus

Some of the Swimming Specific Yoga poses in this practice include:

Down Dog to High Push-Up

Down Dog

  • Start in table top (hands and knees)
  • Walk your knees back approximately two inches
  • Ensure that you have your shoulders externally rotated. Meaning that your elbow pits are pointed away from you and your triceps are twirling towards each other
  • On an exhale press the ground away from you staying connected to your shoulders bring your hips up and back into an inverted ‘V’ position
  • Feel active length in the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head keeping the neck in line with the rest of the spine

High Push-Up

  • Start in table top (hands and knees)
  • Keeping the shoulders directly over the elbows and the elbows over the wrists walk your knees back about a few inches
  • Exhale engage the core
  • Inhale bring the knees off of the ground bringing the legs towards straight engaging the glutes
  • Ensure that there is active length in the spine and that the space between your shoulder blades is filled with your upper back

*As you move between these two poses ensure that your core is engaged and that you are actively pushing the ground away.

swimming specific yogaswimming specific yoga


Child’s Pose

  • Start on your knees
  • Place the top of the feet on the ground with your big toes together and knees out wide
  • Fold forward at your hips bringing your head down onto the mat
  • Allow your seat to fall back towards your heels
  • Fully extend your arms out in front of you
  • Once you come to full extension press down into the ground with your finger tips and feel as if you are pulling the mat back towards your arm pits. As you do this you should feel your shoulder blades glide down towards your hips

swimming specific yoga

 Forward Fold with Twist

  • Start in a standing forward fold
  • On an exhale bring your right hand to the outside of the left shin or ankle
  • On an inhale slowly bring your left arm up and out to the side twisting through the spine
  • Ensure that:
    • Your knees are even and pointed straight forward
    • Your left arm is extended straight from the shoulder socket
    • You draw the upper arm back into the shoulder socket bringing the shoulder back rather than dropping the arm back

swimming specific yoga


Lunge with Cactus Arms:

  • Start in a low or high lunge ensuring that:
    • The hips are square
    • The core is engaged
    • There is active length in the spine
  • On an exhale bring your arms to cactus
    • 90° at your shoulders
    • 90° at your elbows
  • Keep the spine long and core strong
  • Draw the arms back opening up through the chest and shoulders

*This pose can be done from either a low or high lunge.

swimming specific yoga


Click here for more Yoga for Swimmers articles and short classes.



You can also find shorter classes and sequences on our Youtube channel.


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Unfiltered Aquatics
4 years ago

Great Article! I remember reading many articles about Natalie Coughlin using Yoga and Piliaties as a warm up before practices when she was swimming under Coach Marsh at SwimMAC. Looking forward to trying this out! Thanks

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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