Yoga for Swimmers: Six Poses to Increase Your Hip Mobility

A yoga practice designed for swimmers is an extremely effective way to increase hip mobility, which is one key to developing a strong and efficient kick, in all strokes as well as developing effective starts and turns.

After a hard kick set your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes can feel like they are on fire. The demands put on those muscles often results in the hips becoming extremely tight.

Developing hip mobility not only gives you the opportunity to improve the technical components of your swimming, but it is also important for injury prevention. Restricted range of motion in the hips can often be the underlying cause of hip, knee and back injuries.

The following six swimming-specific yoga poses will help develop your hip mobility.

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Upright Dragon

Benefits:

  • Increases hip extension
  • Stretches hip flexors

Yoga for SwimmersYoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a low runner’s lunge with the back knee down
  • The front knee stays directly over the ankle pointed straight forward
  • The back knee moves back enough that you feel a stretch in the hip flexors
  • Keeping your low back stable slowly bring your upper body into an upright position placing your hands on your front thigh
  • On an inhale reach towards the sky with the left hand
  • On an exhale continue to reach up and reach over the right side
  • Keep the spine long with the shoulders relaxed back and down

Variation – Low Lunge Quad Stretch

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a low lunge with your right foot forward
  • Place your right hand on your right thigh
  • On an inhale bring your left heel towards your seat and hold onto your left foot with your left hand
  • Bring your upper body upright with the spine long and the shoulders square

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Lying Hamstring Stretch

Benefits:

  • Increases hip flexion
  • Stretches the hamstrings

Lachlan and Emily Photography

Cues:

  • This pose can be done with or without a strap
  • Start by lying flat on your back with both legs straight and foot engaged where the toes are curled back towards your shins
  • Inhale bring your left knee towards your chest with the hip and upper leg at a 90 degree angle.
  • Place the strap around the ball of the foot and on an exhale begin to bring the leg towards straight

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Lying Windshield Wipers

Benefits:

  • Promotes internal and external rotation

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 left
  • Inhale and bring your knees back to centre
  • Exhale and drop your knees to the right
  • When you move the knees focus on the pelvis staying as still as possible
    • Feeling both sides of your seat grounded

Variation – Wide Supine Twist

Benefits:

  • Increases internal rotation

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 – Figure Four

Benefits:

  • Increases external rotation
  • Stretches glutei and piriformis

Cues:

  • Start with your feet flat on the ground hip distance apart
  • On an inhale place your left ankle on your right thigh
  • On an exhale externally rotate your left hip bringing your left knee away from your body
  • On an inhale bring your right knee in towards your chest
  • Reach through your legs with your left hand while bringing your right hand to the outside of your right leg and hold onto the back of your right thigh

Variation – Figure Four Twist

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start on your back with the soles of your feet flat on the ground hip distance apart
  • Bring your arms out wide like airplanes wings with the arms on the ground palms down
  • On an inhale place your left ankle on your right thigh
  • On an exhale drop your right knee and left foot to the right side turning your head to the left
  • Keep your left knee pointed towards the sky

 

 

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Elevated Butterfly

Benefits:

  • Stretches hip adductors

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start on your back
  • On an inhale bring your knees into your chest
  • Place the soles of your feet together allowing your knees to come out wide
  • Hold onto to your shins, ankles or outside of your feet
  • On an exhale press the knees away from you stretching through the inner thighs

 

Yoga Poses for Swimmers – Yoga Squat

Benefits:

  • Increases hip mobility
  • Stretches hip adductors

 

Cues:

  • Start in mountain pose
  • Bring your feet to approximately mat distance apart
  • Turn your feet out towards a 45°
  • On an exhale bring the palms together drawing the hands down through the centre of the body
  • At the same time bend your knees and lower the seat towards the ground
  • Working with your range come into the appropriate depth of a squat
  • Keep your spine long and press your sternum towards your thumbs
  • Place your elbows to the inside of your knees or thighs pressing the knees out wide

 

These poses should be done as part of a yoga session or after another workout so that the body is properly warmed up.

 

To learn more about how yoga can help your swimming performance sign up for our newsletter and join the Swimming-Specific Yoga Community

Swimming Specific Yoga

 

Visit our website swimminspecificyoga.com to take a 7 day free trial of the Swimming-Specific Yoga Online Studio membership.

With your membership you gain access to over 100 classes ranging from 15-60 minutes that have been created for the specific needs of 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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