Swimmers: Dive Into a Shoulder-Saving Routine

July 16, 2015  /  02:25 PM

No athlete wants pain to stand in the way of his or her sport. But about half of college swimmers suffer from shoulder aches severe enough to affect their training routine. With time, the repetitive motion of reaching overhead places overwhelming demands on this joint, causing a pattern of injuries so common they’re referred to as “swimmer’s shoulder.”

Fortunately, stretching and strengthening the shoulder muscles using foam rollers, exercise balls, and resistance bands like the TheraBand CLX can put swimmers back in the fast lane. One eight-week training program improved swimmers’ form, rebalanced their neck and shoulder muscles, and helped their joints work more efficiently. Another 12-week plan with just four moves strengthened shoulders in a way likely leading to fewer injuries and better performances.

Shore up your shoulders with moves like the dynamic hug shown below. A few exercises three times a week could be all you need to splash safely.


Increase flexibility; Increase strength; Prevent injury

  • step 1
    Placing the CLX around your upper back, grip each end of the CLX through the end Easy Grip Loops.
  • step 2

    Abduct your shoulders about 60° and bend your elbows about 45°.

    <p>Abduct your shoulders about 60&deg; and bend your elbows about 45&deg;.</p>
  • step 3

    Keeping your arms raised and in position, push your arms forward and inward as if you were giving someone a hug.

    <p>Keeping your arms raised and in position, push your arms forward and inward as if you were giving someone a hug.</p>
  • step 4
    When your hands meet in the middle, hold briefly and then slowly return to the starting position. Avoid shrugging shoulders to perform exercise.

Dr. Phil Page


Phil Page PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, FACSM, LAT is a licensed physical therapist, athletic trainer, and certified strength & conditioning specialist. He graduated from LSU in physical therapy and received his master’s degree in exercise physiology from Mississippi State University, as well as a doctorate in Kinesiology from LSU. He has been involved in rehabilitation and sports medicine for over 25 years. Dr. Page was recently named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is currently the Global Director of Clinical Education and Research for Performance Health, manufacturer of TheraBand, Biofreeze & Cramer products. His duties include maintaining the Thera-Band Academy website, directing the international educational programs and managing product research around the world. Dr. Page is also an instructor in the Athletic Training curriculum at Louisiana State University and a Clinical Instructor of Orthopedics for Tulane Medical School in New Orleans.


Dr. Page’s clinical and research interests include the role of muscle imbalance in musculoskeletal pain, and promoting physical activity for health-related physical fitness, particularly for chronic disease management. He is a member of educational committee for the “Exericse is Medicine” initiative for the ACSM. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and serves as a member of several national advisory boards. Dr. Page is on the scientific review committees for the APTA and ACSM. He regularly reviews grants and article submissions for several professional journals.


Dr. Page lectures extensively and provides workshops on a variety of topics around the world, including the Janda Approach to Muscle Imbalance. He was  awarded the Lifetime Excellence in Education Award by the Sports Physical Therapy Section of the APTA. He has presented over 100 international lectures and workshops on exercise and rehabilitation topics, and has over 50 publications including 3 books; most recently publishing Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach. He has worked with the athletic programs at LSU, Tulane, the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, as well as the United States Olympic Track and Field Trials. He lives with his wife and 4 children in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.