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12-10-2020, 23:57   #1
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Better range of motion

I've zero range of motion from shoulders which is stopping me from getting a high elbow any tips to get my shoulders fired up and working better? Is it just a case of stretching/foam rolling?
mickwat155 is offline  
13-10-2020, 22:50   #2
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No advice other than to be very careful. My kids are competitive swimmers and about two years ago I tried to copy their shoulder rotation technique (which helps give a high elbow) and tore a rotator cuff after two sessions. I didn’t swim for months. Now I just accept my lack of flexibility I am an old man though.
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14-10-2020, 03:32   #3
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Originally Posted by mickwat155 View Post
I've zero range of motion from shoulders which is stopping me from getting a high elbow any tips to get my shoulders fired up and working better? Is it just a case of stretching/foam rolling?
I'd need to see a video, but I suspect that you aren't getting enough shoulder roll in your stroke, trying to push the arms up into that position without rolling your entire core will do exactly as griffin has done and load up the joints and small muscles to the point where you do harm, not good.

My fix on this comes back to 3 elements.

Core stability, breathing and body roll. In the crawl strokes, while your head maintains as steady a position as possible (Except for the breathing phase) the shoulders and torso should roll around your central axis.

Controlling this roll comes from the leg kick. The hips should be a slight roll of no more than 15 or 20 degrees, with anything up to 89.99 degrees at the shoulders (as necessary to suit shoulder flexibility, breathing and waterline/immersion). As a general rule, outside of squad swimmers, there is a lack of understanding around the importance of the legs to the overall stroke. They provide the stability, balance and rhythm to control the rest of the movements consistently.

I would suggest getting some fins on, spend a few sessions working with them to get your legs a bit used to the overload. Then slowly introduce high elbow drills allowing your shoulders to roll more until you can complete the arm recovery over water. The fins will give you enough momentum and balance to focus on the shoulder roll and arm recovery.

From a flexibility perspective, in a sitting position if you can:
  • move your elbow straight back so your fingertips touch your nipple
  • Hold your arm straight out to the side
  • Lift your arm straight over your head
There is probably not much to stop you completing the movement with some gentle stretching and a bit of practice.

I would also spend some time with the fins on working on your catch and pull phase with the arms.

Towards the end of your sets, some laps doing gentle sculling really helps build up the small muscles around the elbow and shoulder joints which should keep everything stable and prevent any damage.

Be patient with it.
Any stroke modification takes about 2 months of fairly consistent repetition to really stick.
Don't try and work on technique unless you are fully warmed up and have had a rest break. Tired muscles will make it more frustrating than it needs to be.
Make the improvement early, try and carry it through the session, change stroke when your muscles are too tired to maintain form.
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