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  #1  
Old 05-26-2011
TIJoe TIJoe is offline
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TIJoe
Default High elbow and shoulder flexibility

I recently saw on internet on shoulder joint reach flexibility test:

http://www.topendsports.com/testing/...lexibility.htm

My left shoulder is a lot more flexible than my right (not even close, left is good, right is really bad -- probably true for most right handed middle aged male). I wonder whether this affects the degree one can do high elbow recover (unless you are doing really wide track recovery). Anyone has any opinion?

On a related note, both shoulder and ankle flexibility are desirable in swimming. While it is certain swimming itself can increase ankle flexibility, I am not so sure about shoulder. So is it necessary to do excercises that increase shoulder flexibility or is swimming itself enough?
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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I have the same lack of shoulder flexibility, but on the other side.

Overall, TI swimming has improved my range of motion but hasn't really addressed the specific problem I have with my left shoulder. That said, I'm able to circle my elbow on recovery and bring it high enough without any discomfort.

Others here will likely give you more expert feedback, but I recommend that you pay attention to the TI DVDs or YouTube videos about this. You'll see that the recovery is comfortably wide and begins within your range of motion, with your lats (and momentum) swinging the arm, not relying on the smaller shoulder muscles. The circle-the-elbow and swing switch drills are good ones to practice.

It took a one-on-one lesson for me to start understanding how to position my elbow/arm/shoulder using my lats and not deltoids & other shoulder muscles.
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  #3  
Old 05-26-2011
steve0732 steve0732 is offline
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Swimming has helped my shoulder flexibility greatly. I almost could not get my arm over the water on the crawl when I started. If you work on reaching while spearing it will help stretch the upward arm in the shoulder stretch.

The bottom hand in your "flex test" tests internal rotation of the shoulder. I think real flexible swimmers could slap their back with the back of the hand. This flexibility helps your hold arm get and stay vertical through more of your stroke.

1 way to improve internal rotation is to use a wash cloth in the shower an throw one end over your shoulder like the flex test and grab the bottom with the bottom hand. Then gently lift your top arm stretching the bottom. In my first shoulder stretch post op they had me crawl my fingers up my spine going as high as I could.

Hope that helps.
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  #4  
Old 05-27-2011
ob3517 ob3517 is offline
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ob3517
Default shoulder flex

Hi, I also have shoulder flex problems on my left side due to repeated dislocations playing contact sports when I was young. On the scratch test, one side measured less than 2 inches and the injured side measured more than 9 inches apart. Since starting swimming, my flexibility has improved some and my function has improved a lot. When I started I could not get my left hand on top of my head to shampoo my hair, now I have no problem with that small everyday task.

In addition, since starting TI seven months ago, my swimming continues to improve each week. The most difficult part has been learning how to balance (skate) on my left (injured) side. Since I can't stretch out as far on that side, balance is more difficult, but not unattainable.

EVF is limited, but then again I'm just now seeing improvement getting my elbow turned up.

For me dry land stretching has been of limited help, but consciously stretching that side while swimming, seems to be working. I hope that helps, best of luck.

Dave
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  #5  
Old 05-27-2011
TIJoe TIJoe is offline
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TIJoe
Default

Thanks for everyone's response. It is good to know that swimming alone will improve flexibility. I know there are various dryland exercises that can improve flexibility but they are pretty boring and I can't remember doing them everyday. If swimming itself does the trick, then I won't worry too much about the dryland exercises.

On my left side the fingers can touch but on the right side they are wide apart (5 inches or more) and I feel pain in my right arm when I do the test on that side. A couple of my friends also showed the same thing (sans the pain) and one of them explained to me that it was because the right arm is much more muscular (for a right hand man) which led me to question whether swimming alone suffices since it builds up the arm muscle even more.
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  #6  
Old 05-27-2011
steve0732 steve0732 is offline
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Swimming builds the muscle while you are stretching at the same time. This lets strength increase while range of motion increases at the same time. If you were only doing pushups to increase your chest and front of shoulder strength w/o stretching I believe your range of motion would decrease.
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