Yoga for Swimmers: Focusing on the Fundamentals

During the world’s fight against COVID-19 you can visit our website to develop your yoga for swimmers practice with several free classes ranging from 25-45 minutes. To access these classes click here.

A yoga for swimmers practice is an amazing supplement to your core training program as well as a practice you can do almost anywhere at any time. Like any other activity you need to have a strong foundation and focus on the fundamentals to ensure your practice is effective.

The video above is a short yoga for swimmers class (16 minutes) where you will learn how to do some of the most fundamental poses in yoga.

In this article you will also find pictures and cues for some of the fundamental poses in a yoga for swimmers practice.

When doing yoga ensure that you are following the keys to a strong, safe and effective practice. You can find a pdf outlining those here.

The poses that are focused on in this video include:

Mountain

yoga for swimmersYoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart and pointed straight forward
  • Feel into the four corners of your feet – big toe mound, little toe mound, inner and outer side of the heel
  • Legs come towards straight with a micro bend in the knee
  • Hips are in a neutral position
  • Core slightly engaged
  • Collar bones wide and shoulders relaxed
  • Lengthen the neck feeling the ears come over the shoulders
  • Arms are relaxed at the sides of the body with the palms pointed straight forward

Standing Forward Fold

Cues:

  • Start in mountain pose
  • On an inhale raise your arms up and out to the sides then overhead
  • On an exhale:
    • Keep your core strong and spine long
    • Leading with your chest
    • Fold forward hinging at your hips
  • Allow your knees to bend enough that the upper body is coming close to or onto your thighs
  • Allow your head to hang and your neck to relax​

Halfway Lift

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Starting in forward fold
  • Place your hands on your shins
  • On an inhale lift your upper body halfway up – bring your upper body to a 90° angle at your hips
  • Actively lengthen your spine from tailbone to the crown of your head
  • Direct your gaze down to keep your neck long
  • Bring the shoulders away from the ears

Runner’s Lunge

Yoga for SwimmersYoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a standing forward fold
  • Bend your knees enough that your hands reach the ground
  • On an inhale bring your right foot back towards the back of the mat coming into a lunging position
  • Have your left foot pointed straight forward with your knee directly over your ankle
  • Square your hips feeling:
    • The front hip pull back and the back hip pull forward
      • Scissor your thighs towards each other
    • Without moving your feet feeling as if the front heel is coming towards your back toes and your back toes are coming towards your front heel
      • Feel as if you are squeezing your feet towards each other
  • Modification to this pose –  follow the same cues, but drop the back knee

 

High Lunge

Yoga for SwimmingYoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Starting your runner’s lunge
  • The front foot and knee are pointed straight forward 
  • Your knee is directly in line with your ankle ensuring you can see your toes in front of your knee
  • The hips are squared feeling your front hip move back and your back hip is move forward
  • From runner’s lunge on an inhale bring your upper body up with a strong core and long spine
    • Ensure the your torso is directly over your hips and your upper body is upright with the same qualities as mountain
  • Extend your arms overhead with the palms facing each other
  • Modification to this pose – follow the same cues, but drop the back knee

Plank

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Have the fingers spread wide and pointed straight forward
  • The shoulders are over the elbows the elbows are over the wrists
  • Externally rotate the shoulders
    • Point your elbow creases forward without changing the position of the hands
    • Twirl your triceps towards each other
  • Press the ground away feeling the upper back fill up the space between the shoulder blades
  • At the same time press your sternum towards the ground to lengthen the spine
  • Keep the spine long and the hips in line with the spine
  • Feel as if you are pulling your toes towards your hands and your hands towards your toes
  • Modification for this pose – follow the same cues but drop both knees to the ground

Chaturanga

Yoga for SwimmingYoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start in a plank position – either high or low
  • Keep your spine long and core strong
  • On an exhale keeping your elbows tucked in towards your ribs slowly lower yourself down towards the ground
  • Hover approximately two inches off of the ground

Cobra

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Start by lying flat on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders and your elbows tucked in towards your ribs
  • On an exhale press the top of your feet into the ground engaging your quads and feeling the knees lift off the ground
  • On an inhale your hands into the floor lifting your shoulders and chest off of the ground
    • Work with your range of motion (ROM)
    • Come to a height where you feel comfortable
    • If you feel any pain in your lower back come out of this pose
  • Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and away from the ears
  • Modification to this pose is sphinx pose (shown below updog)

Updog

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues

  • Start by lying flat on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders and your elbows tucked in towards your ribs
  • On an exhale press the top of your feet into the ground engaging your quads and feeling the knees lift off the ground
  • On an inhale your hands into the floor lifting your shoulders, chest and hips off of the ground
    • Work with your range of motion (ROM)
    • Come to a height where you feel comfortable
    • If you feel any pain in your lower back come out of this pose
  • Modifications to this pose are cobra or sphinx

 

Sphinx Pose

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 back and down
  • You can either have your chin up facing forward or you can allow the chin to drop and relax the neck

 

Downward Facing Dog

Yoga for Swimmers

Cues:

  • Have the fingers spread wide and pointed straight forward
  • Press strongly into your finger tips feeling like you are clawing the mat with your first knuckle
  • Externally rotate the shoulders without changing your hand position
    • Twirl your triceps towards each other
    • Point your elbow creases forward without changing the position of the hands
  • Press the ground away from you having the shoulders come away from the ears
  • Actively lengthen the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head
  • Bring your hips up and back in a diagonal direction so you are in the shape of an inverted ‘V’
  • Start with the heels coming towards the ground without forcing the legs straight
    • If you have the ROM bring the heels to the ground ensuring you continue to have length in the spine

This Yoga for Swimmers article and class were created by Jeff Grace and Swimming-Specific Yoga the world’s top resource for online yoga classes and courses designed for swimmers.

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Visit our YouTube channel for more short classes and lessons.

What people are saying about Swimming-Specific Yoga

“Jeff has worked with the HPC-Vancouver (High Performance Center) swimmers since the fall of 2016 delivering swimming specific yoga classes.

The swimmers have enjoyed the approach and orientation that Jeff brings to every class. I feel they are more flexible, more aware of their bodies and are able to control their thoughts much better.”

Tom Johnson
11 time Canadian Olympic Swim Team Coach

 

 

 

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Shoel
3 years ago

Great job… #KeepInspiring

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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