Are you ready to boost your swimming performance?

The warm-up exercises or stretching exercises before starting any training are called dynamic exercises that make your muscles and body ready for any type of training. Here we will explain deeply about 15 stretching exercises for swimmers before & after swimming with diverse benefits like increased flexibility, prevention of injuries, better blood flow, and posture enhancement.

Pro swimmers or competitive swimmers know very well about the effectiveness of swimming stretches, they have to train & tell the beginner swimmers about the benefits of the best stretches before swimming. Sufficient core strength can make the difference between performing an activity effortlessly and without discomfort, stiffness, or restriction.

Here is an overview of 15 essential stretches before swimming:

  1. Shoulder Circles

Arms and legs are the main parts of the body that are used in swimming. Shoulder circles are a fantastic exercise to maximize shoulder mobility and first in swimming stretching. You can sit or stand with a physible posture, arms down by your sides. Start moving both shoulders forward and backward slowly, smooth circular motion will be effective.

Large the circles as much as possible and move your shoulders forward, back, up, and down. Keep your head and neck relaxed and stable throughout the movement. Repeat the stretch motion at least 10 times. Perform this exercise before starting swimming and keep motion on both shoulders.

  1. Arm Across Chest Stretch

This stretch before swimming is a simple yet effective exercise to enhance shoulder flexibility and relieve tension while moving. 

Here are the explanations to perform this exercise: Stand up straight with your face and feet pointing forward. Take your right arm across your chest. With your left hand, grasp the tricep part of your right arm just above the elbow. 


Smoothly pull your right arm across your chest. Keep your elbow slightly bent when you pull. Hold the stretch for 10-20 or 30 seconds as per your body condition. Then switch sides of the army and repeat it 5 to 10 times. 

  1. Triceps Stretch

Bend one of your arms and place the fist on the back (other shoulder blades), using the other hand to apply smooth pressure while pulling down. 

Here is the detail: 

Stand or sit up straight and feet pointing forward. Lift your shoulder toward your ears and then draw them down. Extend your right arm and bend your right elbow to bring your right palm toward your back center, resting your fingers along your spine.

Use your left hand to grasp and softly push your right elbow inward and downward. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat 4 to 5 times on each side before swimming stretches.

  1. Wrist Stretches

Rotate your wrists in circles and flex them to loosen tight wrists and try not to tighten your muscles.


Extend your right or left arm in front of you straight at shoulder height and palm facing down. Release your wrist or in a loose position so that your fingers point downward. After that, softly grasp your fingers with the free hand and pull them backward at a comfortable motion toward your body. Hold it for 10 to 30 seconds.

Now stretch it in the opposite direction, and extend your arm and palm facing up toward the ceiling. Gently press your fingers downward in the floor direction pull them back toward your body slowly and hold them for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat these stretches with the 2nd arm. Stretches two or three times with each arm repetition.

  1. Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors are essential in stretches before swimming to maintain flexibility, prevent muscle tightness, and promote proper motion in the hip area.

Here how to Hip Flexor Stretch?

Take start in the lunge position, upper body at 90 angles, and your right foot forward and left foot backward.

Right knee directly above your ankle and lower your hips toward the ground. Softly push your hips forward and tuck your tailbone under. That will stretch the front of your left hip and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds. Switch your sides and do this 5 times and keep the focus on both sides.

  1. Hamstring Stretch

Remember to perform these stretches smoothly to avoid any pain in your muscles. If you experience discomfort, stop and consult your trainer or a healthcare professional.

Here, How to do Hamstring Stretches?

Firstly sit on the floor and extend your both legs straight. Bend at the waist keeping your knees straight and reach forward. Hold this position gently for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this pre-swim stretch 5 times. Make sure to feel a smooth pull in the back of your thighs at a comfort level.

  1. Lower Back Stretch

This swimming stretch warm-up is best for core strength. Kneel on all fours, rounding back up and down to loosen lower back.

Here are some types of this swimming stretch, Knee-to-Chest Stretch, Trunk Rotation (Seated Spinal Twist), and Cat-Cow Stretch. These are all very effective lower-back swim stretches and help enhance mobility and performance.

Performing these pre-swimming-specific stretches into your warm-up exercise routine can help core strength and flexibility, prepare your body for competitive swimming and triathlon, and enhance overall performance in the water. Remember to perform each stretch consistently with controlled motions and to check in on your body's feedback. 

  1. Child's Pose

This is the best stretch before swimming and you can do it after swimming training, it's best for lower back muscles and core strength. 

Here is how you can do Child's Pose stretches:

Take a start on your hands and knees on the ground. Inhale and straighten your arms out in front of you, pressing your palms/ fingertips into the ground/floor. Lower your forehead towards the floor and exhale or a block placed in front of you. You can also rest your forehead on a yoga mat or folded blanket if needed. 

While inhaling, actively press your palms downward on the floor and stretch your spine. While exhaling, gentle your lower back and relax your head and neck muscles. Reach your sitting bones towards your heels to deepen the stretch in your lower back and hips. You can bend your knees more if you can't straighten your legs and feel any discomfort. Hold this pose for 5 breaths (deep breaths) and keep the steps the same every time, Don't stiffen or harden your neck and shoulders in pre swim stretches.

  1. Calf Stretch

Here are the steps to perform a basic swimming exercise calf stretch:

Stand straight about 3 feet away from a wall on a stable surface with your flat feet shoulder-width on the ground. Lean towards the wall and place your Palms (hands) on the wall, keeping your back legs, and body straight. Bend your front leg (right or left) and lean into the stretching position, keeping the back leg heel firmly stable on the floor. 

You feel a stretch in the calf muscle of the back leg. Make sure to do it gently stretching and keeping both knees straight. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, breathing deeply into this motion of stretch. Do 2-3 times repetitions on each leg, hold this stretch before swimming for 10 to 30 seconds each time.

Be sure not to bounce at the stretching position but hold the stretch gradually, feeling normal in the calf muscle.

Stretch both legs and same hold time to maintain flexibility and prevent muscle injury.

  1. Quadriceps Stretch

Stand straight and place one hand on the wall to keep balance while doing this stretching exercise, or do not take support if can manage easily. 

Bend one knee and grab the ankle with the same side hand, pull the foot towards the butt (bringing your heel close)

at comfortable reach. Feel a stretch in your quadriceps muscle in the front of your thigh. Don't lean forward and make sure to keep your back straight. 

Hold the muscle warm-up exercise for 20 to 30 seconds, and breathe deeply into the stretch position. Do the other side of the leg stretch with the same technique and same time keep balance on both leg muscles.

  1. Groin Stretch

Stand straight and tall with feet hip-width and hands on your hips to maintain balance. Hip hinge slightly and keep your back straight. Lift your one leg behind you and swing it smoothly from side to side without bending your knees. 

Swing the leg forward and backward in an arc rotation, and feel comfortable while stretching your hips and hamstrings. Do 10 to 15 swings on each leg, move gently. You can do front leg swings, and lift your right or left leg out in front.

Be sure to engage your core for stability and avoid arching your back. Breathe normally as you swing, feeling a stretch in your hips, glutes, and hamstrings.

Repeat this warm-up exercise on both legs evenly to maintain flexibility.

  1. Scapula Push Up

Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat, floor, or other comfortable place. Place your forearms flat on the floor in front of you at 90 degrees and hands in fists. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and push your chest forward slightly. You should feel shoulder blades connecting each other.

Hold this position for 5 seconds and then release the shoulder blades to the normal position. Do 5 to 10 times these scapula squeeze and push-up motions, for 5 seconds hold up on each time at the top.

Keep your neck relaxed and head in the line to prevent muscle pain and injury to your spine throughout the motion. Inhale and exhale normally while performing the scapula push-up swimming stretches.

  1. Butterfly Stretch

Sit upright on the floor or the yoga mat with your legs outstretched. Bring the soles of your feet and palms together after bending your knees. Hold your feet and gently press the feet together. Keep your back straight while holding this position, and lean forward in a comfortable motion, hinge at the back. Feel a comfortable stretch in your inner thigh area and groin don't push it too much.

Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and breathe deeply. Repeat the stretching 2 to 3 times and hold for the same time. If you want to increase the butterfly stretch, press your elbows against the inside of your knees to softly push them more open and wide. Stretching both sides evenly to maintain flexibility on both sides.

  1. Neck Stretches 

Neck muscles play an important role in every sport, swimming and triathlon also require these muscles to be perfect. 

You can do neck stretches seated or standing in which position you feel comfortable with good posture for support. Hold each stretch for 5-10 seconds, breathe deeply. Stretching both sides maintains muscle flexibility. Listen to your body and don't push to hard to get into pain.

Here are some neck stretches before swimming practice:

Neck Tilt: Gently tilt your ear to the right shoulder and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat on the other left side. Do this 5 times on both sides.

Neck Rotation: Slowly rotate your head to look over your left shoulder and hold it for 5 seconds. Change the other way and do this stretch 5 times.

Chin to Chest: Slowly bring your chin downward to your chest, You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then straighten your head. Do this stretch 5 times.

Neck Massage: Gently massage your neck muscles, Use your fingertips gently on the side of your neck, and the base of your skull. Don't push too hard.

  1. Full Body Stretch

Lay down on your back on a yoga mat or plain surface. Make space and gently stretch your arms overhead. Breathe slowly and inhale then raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Gently stretch through your fingertips and arms. Exhale and press the small portion of your back smoothly into the ground to flatten it. Inhale and point your toes, stretching through your legs.

You should feel the stretches from your arm fingertips to your toes. Hold for 5 deep breaths, feeling the comfortable stretch throughout your body. To increase the stretch in muscle, you can softly pull the right knee into your chest while keeping the left leg straight. Hold your breath for 10 to 20 seconds and 5 breaths on each side.

Finish your full-body stretching by hugging both knees into your chest for a final relaxation before swimming stretches.


Warm-up exercises and stretches play an important role in enhancing your performance and mobility in every sports game. That reduces the chance of muscle injury during sports training and boosts your body to perform at high limits. 

You have to listen to your body while doing warm-up exercises and stretches, don't push too much or do pressure that turns the muscle stretch into discomfort. Be gentle - don't force any stretches. Stretching before swimming should feel good and relaxing, not uncomfortable and painful.

Incorporate all the best stretches for swimmers and warm-up exercises into your pre-training routine to prepare your body for optimal competition performance and reduce the risk of injury. Keep in mind to gradually increase the intensity of stretching exercises before swimming to match the demands of your training session.


How do you stretch before swimming?

I do stretching exercises before swimming that contain multiple stretches, which are useful for mobility and prevent muscle injury. 

I focus on dynamic stretches for swimming like leg swings and shoulder circles to warm up muscles that are very useful in swimming. Hold and feel each static stretch for 15-30 seconds.

How do I loosen my body for swimming?

You can loosen your body by doing multiple swimming stretches warm up. There are many types of stretches you can do consistently before swimming for effective results. 

Do swimmers need to stretch?

Swimmers or any other sports players need stretching exercises before training if they want to boost their performance and utilize their body at maximum level.

Is it better to stretch before or after swimming?

There are two types of stretches:

Dynamic Stretches (Before Training): These stretches mobilize your muscles, and prepare them for training.

Static Stretches (After Training): These stretches or cool-down exercises are used to lock the muscles' strengths and their performance. 


Why is stretching important for swimmers?

Enhance performance and greater mobility that allows swimmers to better techniques like longer strokes and fuller kicks. It can improve swimming speed, endurance for competitive swimmers, and efficiency in the pool or open water. 

It Relieves muscle soreness or you can say muscle repairing caused by swimming. Muscle pains build up from repetitive movements.

Why do swimmers stretch their hands above their head in the?

Overhead stretches for swimmers mimic the arm swing of different strokes like freestyle and backstroke. It helps warm up the shoulders and increase the mobility of the repetitive movements of arms during swimming. 

The overhead reach stretching boosts and readies swimmers physically and mentally for the demands of the water for the high reach in practice.

What are the common injuries that occur without stretching before training?

One of the most common injuries that many players face are occur without proper stretching of their muscle strains and pulls. Our leg muscles can easily get strained if we don't stretch them properly before exercise or physical activity. This injury includes the hamstrings, groin muscles, calves, hip flexors, and quadriceps muscles also. 

Other injuries that result from tight muscles include achilles tendinitis caused by tight calves and hamstrings, lower back strains from tight back muscles, and shoulder impingement when the rotator cuff muscles are tight. 

Even injuries like quadriceps strains cracked or blistered heels due to tight calves pulling on the heels, and Achilles tendinitis can occur. 

Proper stretching helps warm up the muscles and prevents them from getting suddenly pulled, overstretched, or strained during training or activity by loosening them up beforehand.

What does science have to say about warm-up exercises or stretches?

The science behind warm-ups exercises and stretches is fascinating! Research regularly shows that conducting a proper warm-up before exercise or physical activity offers plenty of benefits for the body and mind. Here's what science has to say:

Increased Muscle Temperature: When you warm up or stretch, your body temperature increases, which increases blood flow to the muscles. These muscle temperature preferences enhance muscle elasticity, and mobility making them less prone to injury.

Improved Joint Flexibility: Dynamic stretching (stretches before exercises) helps by gradually increasing the range of motion and improving joint flexibility. This can enhance the swimmer's performance in training and competition and reduce the risk of strains or sprains.

Enhanced Muscle Performance: A warm-up stretching stimulates the nervous system, promoting optimal muscle activation and coordination. This leads to improved muscle performance, power output, and reaction time during exercise.

Prevention of Injury: Proper warm-ups prepare the swimmer's body for the physical demands of exercise, reducing the risk of injury in the swimming pool or open water. They help identify and address muscle imbalances, weaknesses, or tightness that could lead to injury if left unattended.

Mental Preparation: All the dynamic exercises and warm-ups also provide an opportunity for mental preparation for the physical activity, allowing swimmers and players to focus, concentrate, and get into the right mindset for swimming training or competition.

Optimized Performance: Research and studies have shown that individuals who perform a thorough warm-up before swimming exercise demonstrate improved performance measures such as speed, strength, agility, and endurance compared to those who skip these warm-up stretches before swimming or inadequately warm up.

Overall, these scientific research base points or evidence strongly support the importance of warm-ups in your exercise and swimming practice routine. Whether you're a competitive athlete or doing fitness, take your time and prepare your body properly before starting the physical activity and increase your performance, fewer injuries, and more enjoyable workouts.

Back to blog