Shoulder health

slowmoslowmo Member
edited May 2012 in General Discussion
I would like to hear some feed back as to how people handle shoulder pain and long swims. I have issues with with my left rotator cuff once I get into the 6,000 plus range in single swim, any feed back would be great.


  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CACharter Member
    There of course rotator cuff exercises that one can do with light weights on the cable or with bands...but I think the repetition of the swimming motion will ultimately cause a problem unless there is weight work/cross training for muscle support...some seem to need it more than others...if you are having problems at 6,000 meters then I don't think Ibuprofin is the swimming partner had a scope and now uses band exercises on a regular basis...I have a theory that a little extra muscle mass in the upper body is good in two ways...supports the shoulders and the extra muscle helps generate more heat in cold water...drop the leg work in the spring as you don't want lead weights screwing up your horizontal body position....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • Sharko I agree I have to spend more time on building up the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff. I find once I get outdoors and start building my distance the problem starts to go away which may be a sign that I'm building through longer distance.
    On a seperate note I had the pleasure of swimming in from Alactraz and really look foward to heading out that way for more swim's, great trainning area in aquatic park.
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    @slowmo - I agree with @sharko, as I have pretty bad shoulders; particularly the right one. If you need any exercise stretching or strengthening tips, please let me know as I have a good list of what works well!! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2012
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned stroke technique - flaws in which are a common cause of shoulder impingement. @slowmo, have you had a coach look at your stroke? If it's just your left shoulder that bothers you, it could be due to an imbalance somewhere.

    My rotator cuffs tend to get angry if I start dropping my elbows during the catch (though typically, it's just one elbow and one shoulder). Usually I can work my way through a flare-up, even in the middle of a workout, just by focusing on keeping my elbows high and rotating evenly to both sides.
  • I agree evmo I think taking for granted that I swimming right is just that, I have not had my stroke looked at since high school finding someone I trust and who happens to have a good back ground would be important.
    I will throw this out also anyone in the midwest that you know of? Thanks.
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    Some great advice by everyone. Speaking from experience I can say that poor form can only lead to trouble. I developed a suprascapular nerve impingement 15 years ago from surfing & swimming. To make a long story short (something I find very hard to do) I think my thumb first entry and long hours in the water led me down this path. I left swimming but did return a few years ago. In the process I had a second surgery and began to really work on strengthening my rotator cuff muscles. What I found during these last years was that swimming for long periods of time did not aggravate it, in fact it made it stronger. It was the hard intense sets that aggravated it. Lucky for me since Catalina it is the best it has been since the injury and can now handle very intense workouts. There is something to be said about performing 40,000 shoulder exercise repetitions in a single day.
  • The most important this is to avoid internal shoulder rotation. That is what Bob is talking about when his thumb enters first. If you have your hand in a position it rotates the ball of the socket into the joint and that can cause problems. Some people enter thumb higher than pinkie on the entry which helps relieve the problem. Internal rotation during the recovery can also cause problems. Make sure that you palm is angled towards your body (thumb higher than pinky). You should see the palm of your hand during the recovery instead of the back of your hand.
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    You should check out the Shoulder Decide App. It has creat graphics and is interactive. Knee Decide is equally good. My orthopedist's 2 favorite parts of my body.
  • Thanks guys...I had the very same issue of going thumb first and have been working away from that which should take some of the pressure off the rotator cuff. The longer sets coupled with the different entry seem to be working I can now raise my arm over my head again. Bob I will check out the web sites you mentioned...thanks for the help.
  • I'm a bit late on this. But Kelly here is the mobility king under the crossfitters. He also has a great WOD for delts and tennis elbow which works great for me to prevent injury as I do swim wrong, and by the time I get it down, it might be too late.
    Hope the link works.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

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