Swimming needs a lot of upper-body strength and repetitive motion. As a result, it causes muscle strains and postural issues if the swimmer is not aware of the positioning.
Continuous swimming may lead to a bad posture unless the swimmer takes the necessary measures in time.
So, if you are wondering why do swimmers have bad posture, the real reason is the continuous upper-body movement. This causes the chest and shoulders to become overdeveloped and tight. Then, the shoulders round forward fueling a hunching position for the swimmers.
Swimmers also tend to develop a forward head posture due to the lack of posture awareness while swimming. Let’s know more about it!
Why Do Swimmers Have Bad Posture?
Almost every swimmer is seen to have a bad posture. This is mainly because of the continuous upper-body movement without any posture awareness.
The continuous and repetitive motion of swimming can lead to tight hip flexors and weak glutes that contribute to lower back pain and poor posture.
But swimmers can easily avoid adapting to a bad posture through proper training, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
8 Reasons Behind Swimmers’ Bad Posture
Several factors work behind the development of poor posture in swimmers. The most common ones include:
1. Upper-body dominance
Swimmers need to use their upper body as swimming is an upper-body dominant sport.
Due to the continuous motion of the upper-body muscles, it becomes difficult to ensure the right posture.
As a result, the over usage of the muscle may lead shoulders to round forward and the upper back to hunch.
2. Compensatory movements
Due to the limited range of motion in swimmers' hips and ankles, it becomes difficult to ensure proper alignment for a long time while swimming. This leads to postural imbalances and poor posture.
3. Breathing technique
Most swimmers have a tendency to breathe with their chest instead of their diaphragm.
As a result, they can’t ensure deep breathing. The shallow breathing causes a forward head posture.
4. Less core muscle engagement
As we mentioned earlier, swimming mostly focuses on upper-body movement. As a result, the core muscles of the body aren’t engaged that much. This leads to muscle inactivity and results in poor posture.
5. Pool chemicals
Swimmers are exposed to chemicals like chlorine and other chemicals in pool water.
As a result, it irritates their skin, eyes, and respiratory system, leading to respiratory issues. Respiratory issues can affect posture.
Due to prolonged swimming, swimmers tend to adapt to a slouched position. Continuously remaining in a slouched position will result in a permanent adaptation to the poor posture.
7. Tight muscles
Over time, continuous swimming can tighten the swimmer's muscles. This can cause muscle inactivity and postural imbalances while ruining the posture.
8. Lack of exercises
Alongside swimming, swimmers must include themselves in exercises that involve the core muscles.
When swimmers don’t take part in exercises like cross-training exercises, they may face muscle imbalances or weaknesses that contribute to poor posture.
Does Swimming Ruin Posture?
It’s not necessarily true that swimming will ruin your posture. But it can cause postural imbalances if the swimmer doesn’t give proper attention to the alignment while swimming.
A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science in 2016 found that competitive swimmers had significantly greater forward head posture than non-swimmers.
As swimming requires the upper body to engage more, it may lead to overuse of the chest and shoulder muscles.
But if swimmers are mindful of their posture and take the necessary steps to keep their posture content, swimming won’t ruin their posture.
How Do You Fix Swimmer Posture?
If you have developed a swimmer posture, there are a few things that you can follow to improve your posture:
Before your swimming, spend some time stretching and engaging in light exercises.
Stretching your chest, shoulders, and hip flexors regularly helps prevent muscle tightness and imbalances that lead to poor posture.
2. Strengthening exercises
Engaging yourself in core strengthening exercises like rows, lat pulldowns, planks, and bridges will target the muscles that support good posture.
Thus, you can improve your posture soon by including yourself in regular core strengthening exercises.
3. Swimming technique
Ensuring swimming techniques that engage the core muscles while keeping the hips in the right alignment will maintain a long neck and neutral spine.
Cross-training exercises like yoga or weight training can promote good posture and get rid of any muscle imbalances or weaknesses that may contribute to poor posture.
5. Posture awareness
Enhanced posture awareness will lead to achieving a good posture fast without any further exercises.
2 Best Swimming Stroke To Improve Posture
Here are two swimming strokes that can help you to improve your posture:
Backstroke is an excellent swimming stroke for improving posture. This stroke engages your upper back and shoulder muscles.
Therefore, you can strengthen your muscles that support good posture.
Breaststroke is another swimming stroke that can be helpful for improving posture.
You can engage your upper back, shoulders, and chest muscles. This helps to promote balanced muscle development and prevent postural imbalances.
Does Swimming Improve Posture?
Swimming can improve your posture in several ways. It can build overall fitness and strength, which can help support good posture.
Again, swimming enhances your muscle activities which get rid of postural imbalances.
However, swimming can’t improve your posture alone, you need to take some further measures.
Also, if you are not mindful of your correct alignment while swimming, you will ruin your posture rather than improve it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do swimmers have weak shoulders?
All swimmers don’t have weak shoulders. But they tend to form the swimmer's shoulder, also known as shoulder impingement. This condition develops due to the frequent aggravation of their shoulders.
Does swimming ruin posture?
Yes, swimming tends to ruin your posture if you don’t ensure a few measures. However, if you take some steps and make sure of some concerns, you can use them for your postural benefits as well.
How do you get rid of the swimmer's posture?
One of the most beneficial ways to get rid of the swimmer’s posture is through stretching. Also, engaging yourself in core strengthening muscles helps to get rid of swimmers’ posture.
The reasons behind why do swimmers have bad posture are quite straightforward and avoiding them is also the same.
You can easily turn swimming into your postural advantages by following some measures. So, make sure that you are doing everything right to keep your posture content!