Improving mobility in the shoulders, spine and hips is important for decreasing stiffness, preventing injury, increasing range of motion and potentially improving swimming stroke technique.


This summer many of us will be jetting off on holidays or heading to Austria’s beautiful lakes for a break. It’s very likely swimming will be involved. Whether you are swimming in a pool or outdoors, joint mobility plays an important role in decreasing stiffness, preventing injury, increasing range of motion and potentially improving stroke technique.

Modern day living = reduced mobility

Modern day living has allowed our bodies to adapt to the environment through use of computers, mobile devices and uncomfortable seating, to name a few. These activities have resulted in fixed spinal postures – standing vs. sitting, with very little movement, for prolonged periods. As a result, our ability to extend, bend and rotate the spine becomes limited and restricted. Some muscles elongate and potentially become weak, and opposing muscles become tight and potentially painful. The outcome is loss of mobility and stability during movement.

Impact of reduced mobility on swimming performance

With regards to swimming, many swimmers often have underdeveloped postural muscles due to a lot of time spent in the water without having to work with gravity. In such cases, immobility of the spine (especially thoracic extension and rotation), tightness of the latissimus dorsi, and tightness of the muscles surrounding the hip joint, are some of the movements we should be looking to improve.

Mobility exercises

Here are our top 5 exercises that will keep you mobile, flexible and injury-free for swimming. The focus is on freeing up the shoulders, spine and hips.


Using the trapeze bar, relax your shoulders as you breathe out and hinge forward from the hips. From this position, you can extend your spine by pushing your hips back. This will stretch the muscles of the mid-upper back and the lats.

Repeat slowly for 10 reps


Using the trapeze bar, breathe out and relax as you move from the start position to your right, and breathe in as you return to the start.

Repeat slowly for 5 reps and switch sides


Lying on the roller, breathe out and relax as you roll towards your feet. Breathe in when returning to the start. Place your hands behind your head to reduce potential neck strain.

Roll slowly for a total of 40 secs


This movement targets mobility of the spine, hips and ankles. Where necessary, you can hold onto a sturdy object for balance as you squat.

Repeat slowly for 10 reps


This movement specifically targets mobility of the lateral hip with outward rotation. This can also be performed using the support of a fixed bar or a wall.

Repeat slowly for 5 reps each side

Adrian Deverell
Personal Trainer, EVO Bergasse