Do You Warm Up And Cool Down When You Do Your Swim Workouts?

Many of us just hop in the pool and swim a few hundred easy yards of freestyle before starting into their main set. Is there a better way to approach your swim sessions? Try a double arm backstroke with or without fins for your warm up and cool down and see if you notice a difference.


  1. This is a great way to start your workout to not only increases your shoulder mobility, but also to stretch your thoracic spine, hips, shoulders and pectoral muscles. By doing double arm backstroke you lengthen your entire torso. The Back, shoulders and hips are all combined with this stroke.

  2. What to pay attention to: Keep your arms straight and pull them overhead with a long and extended stroke. Make sure you enter the water with your arms in a “Y” shape. By doing so, you apply a completely outstretched entry which requires a wide range of motion in your shoulders and back. Many of you do not have this mobility or flexibility. Consequently, you arch your low back and simultaneously allow a flexion in the elbow as the arm enters the water.  The arms entering wider will actually increase the stretch and range of motion as noted in #1.  In addition:  It feels amazing!

  3. Kicking with fins will allow you to keep your nose dry when swinging the arms overhead. A sinking feeling is common, so you’ll need to rev up your flutter kick when the arms are directly over your eyes. A dry nose improves the stretch and the fins elevate the hip flexor stretching action.

  4. Final tip: Draw in your belly button or the transverse abdominus. This will take away the lower back arching and help work your core! As your warm up progresses you will feel the transverse abdominus lightly stabilize your core and minimize any wiggling or sinking.

For your next swim workout, insert a 4 to 6 lengths of double arm backstroke during warm up and cool down. Overcoming your range of motion will limit undo fatigue caused by a tight body.  Integrate this drill frequently and you’ll notice an improvement in your shoulder mobility which helps with better overall swim form and better performance!

Happy swimming!

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