Oct 20, 2012

From time to time whether your getting back into shape, training on your own without routine coaching, or simply older, paying attention to technique serves two important functions. First it reduces the amount of effort you expend to propel yourself across the same distance and second it reduces and likely prevents injury from repetitive over use.

Cross training both in the gym and in the water yourself or at camps like Ned Denison's Irish total swim confusion camp can solve these challenges. But if you cant make it to Ireland simply engage with your coach or a respected swimming friend to devise a cross training activity including core, in water, out of water, cold water, wavy conditions. 


Around every major joint are multiple bursae, which act as cushioning pads. These pads help reduce friction in the shoulder to allow movement. During musculoskeletal injuries these bursae commonly become inflamed. This inflammation is known as bursitis which is caused by either excessive rubbing or irritation that can be caused by a variety of structures (for example the rotator cuff tendons).

Many adaptations occur during an injury, most notably inflammation occurs. Lets discuss an inflamed bursae:


As stated, around every major joint are multiple bursae, which act as cushioning pads. Unfortunately, when a muscle is too tight or has inadequate timing, the shoulder can get “sloppy”, cause slight subluxations, and irritate the bursae. Once the bursae are enlarged, the rotator cuff tendons have less room to move and impingement can arise. This is an unfortunate combination of muscular irritation and inflammation.

Now improving bursitis depends on the clinical presentation of the swimmer. If inflammation is driving the pain, resolving inflammation is the most likely road for success. 

Here is an example of my sloppy technique after about 7 hours in Tampa Bay.
If altered movement patterns are the resulting cause of pain, then it is essential to improve these areas. In most cases, inflammation and mechanical adaptations (impaired muscle length, strength, and timing) are the drivers of pain, but pain is rarely this clear cut. This makes a combined treatment with medical professionals essential, as improving one of this areas is neglecting complete resolution and prevention. Make sure if you are addressing shoulder pain, that you assess the clinical presentation and seek complete resolution of pain, as pain will alter movement patterns, result in weakness, and impair swimming performance.

For more on shoulder pain, consider these pieces:
10 Minute Solution: Shoulder Pain
10 Minute Solution: Shoulder Pain Part II
10 Minute Solution: Shoulder Pain Part III
Shoulder Pain? Protect Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

By G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

No comments:

Post a Comment