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Swim to Strengthen Your Back

Date Added: June 19, 2008 11:11:15 AM
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Category: Swimming

Do you know that your back is an important player in swimming? In all the four major strokes --freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly -- your back muscles play an important role and for a good swim you have to make them strong. The converse is equally true; that is swimming strengthens your back and the more you swim properly the more you strengthen your back. This bonding between your back and swimming goes a step further. Swimming and other aquatic exercises are good for any pain in the back.

Strengthen your back

Swimming not only employs all the major back muscles but also your small muscles. The Intercostals, muscles between the ribs also play a part. Imagine you are doing some easy freestyle lap. With each stretch of your arm and twisting of your body you actually generate power from your back to cruise against the resistance of water. To strengthen your back or to improve your stroke; reach out as much as you can. Rotate your body properly, stretch your arms as much as you can and move your hand up to your thigh before you start the new cycle. The rule is simple: the more you exert your muscle, the stronger it will become however remember to get your technique right.

Is your back aching?

Start with the backstroke if your back is aching. It is easy on your back and puts less pressure on it. As a contrast try the butterfly that exerts your back. Water exercises can also be very helpful for your aching back. You may be a regular visitor to the swimming pool and still your back may respond negatively. Or your normal swimming schedule may not be good enough to cure your back pain! Try some aquatic exercises to make your swimming pain free, enjoyable and beneficial.

Almost all back pains have something to do with the spine. Thus the first thing that you need to do is to learn to stabilize your spine. For this you have to tighten your abdominal oblique muscles because these oblique muscles are attached to the connective tissue in the lower back and can protect your spine. Try to tighten your waist by visualizing that you are sucking your belly button back toward your spine. While keeping your hands on your hips feel that these oblique muscles are contracting.

Shallow and deep water walking

For severe back pain start by walking backward; it is easier on the back than walking forward. If you can do it comfortably keep your hands along your sides and keep them wide like paddles so that you may have to work against greater water resistance. Try forward walking when backward walking becomes too comfortable. Again you can adjust the water resistance by widening and slicing or moving your hands close and away from your body. Increase the water resistance as you feel comfortable. Continue this backward and forward walking for about 30 minutes for better results.

For deep water walking and running you should put on a flotation belt and maintain stabilized spine position. Remember if lifting your knees at 90 degrees is too painful, bend them at 60 to 75 degrees. Try running instead of walking if walking is too comfortable.

In a nutshell then, while a strong back is essential for those powerful and quick laps, swimming and water exercises actually help to strengthen your back and combat any kind of back pain.

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