swimmers need flexible ankles that permit the foot to flex beyond a straight line. Ankle strength in swimmers is often missed, but it shouldn’t be for swimmers. Strong ankles help swimmers to propel through the water when kicking. They also assist in timing the kick and help prevent leg injuries. Strong ankle gives better jump from starting blocks. Swimmers also have to focus on body limits that may be restricting your ankles. Corrective strategies and good exercises can help. Soft techniques with ankle exercise for the best results and it increases Ankle flexibility.
Exercises for Ankle Strength and Flexibility
Stretch your ankles to improve Flexibility
The best way to improve flexibility in your ankles is to stretch your toes using your hands and body weight.
- Sit on the Carpet or mat with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bend one leg to bring your leg up to the top of your quadricep.
- take hold of your toes and stretch them down.
- Hold this for 30-35 seconds before switching to other legs.
- Do the same process on the other side and Do this 2times.
- While still on the Carpet, bend your knees and fold them underneath you so that your butt rests on your heels.
- The top of your foot will be Parallel to the ground/ flat position.
- Now Slowly lift one knee off the ground with your hand and hold the stretch for at least 25 seconds before switching to the other side.
- While you are in the kneeling position, place a rolled towel under the tops of your toes to increase the stretch.
How To Increase Body Flexibility For Swimming
Swimming performance can be greatly improved if you train for the flexibility needed to smooth out your favorite stroke. The best swimmers incorporate flexibility training into their regimen for two main reasons. First, as muscles are stretched, the individual fibers lengthen.Stretching exercises for swimmers should address pain from delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle imbalances. Care should be taken, however to avoid over stretching the joint capsule leading to hypermobility and impingement. Stretches should be included for the pectoral muscles, neck muscles. and latisimus dorsi. A longer muscle fiber can create more force when it contracts. So flexibility training helps to increase the muscle’s ability to pull you through the water.
- Proper warm-up: Muscles and tendons stretch easier and stretch farther when they are warmed up. Think of your muscles and tendons as pieces of gum; when gum is cold and you try to bend it, it breaks in half, but if it is warm, it just bends and stretches. So before you start stretching, play around in the water, moving all your muscles, get your heart rate up a little by swimming a few easy laps at an easy pace.
- Stretch all the muscles you will use: We tend to think that we will only be using our shoulders and glutes/quads during swimming because those are the muscles that usually get sore after a good swim workout. In truth, you use almost every muscle in your body! Depending on which stroke you swim (freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, or butterfly), you will use some muscles more than others, but they should all be stretched.
- Length of stretch: It’s real easy to rush through our stretching program to get to the fun part of the workout; but then we wonder why we don’t get more flexible. Each stretch should be held for 15 – 30 seconds to increase flexibility. A shorter stretch may feel like plenty, but it’s not. This is one case where more is better. Research has shown that 15 – 30 seconds of stretching will increase flexibility, and holding stretches up to 2 minutes is even better. So take a few extra minutes, and hold those stretches a little longer.
- Stretching repetitions: When you strength train, you do more than one repetition of an exercise, so why not do more than one repetition of a stretch? After holding a stretch for at least 15 – 30 seconds, release it, relax a moment, and stretch it again. You will find that the second and third stretches go a lot farther and make the muscle feel relaxed.
- Intensity of stretch: Stretching should not hurt. If it does, you are stretching too far. You should be able to feel a stretch as a slight pull on the muscle and tendon. Hold that position until you no longer feel the stretch, then pull a little more until you feel the tension again. If you feel any pain at all, STOP, you are stretching too far. Source:- bodybuiliding.com
Neck Stretches:- exercise to increase flexibility
- Stand with your chest up and looking straight ahead.
- Gently push your chin back while looking straight ahead
- Keep your head upright, don’t look up or down. Keep eyes facing forward.
- While holding your chin back with one hand, use your other hand to reach over the top of your head.
- Stabilize your chin back as you gently pull the top of your head forward. This is a tilting motion.
- Hold this for 20-30 seconds.
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