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3. Avoid use of pull buoys and paddles. Although it is tempting, buoys merely give you a false sense of floatation and put unnecessary tension on your joints, especially your shoulders. Although there are paddles designed not to cause shoulder problems, most of paddles out there are not needed in training, and will cause shoulder problems if you give it enough time.
4. Swimming only freestyle at all of your workouts may seem like a good idea if you are training for a triathlon, but I would not recommend it. First of all, you will gain more from cross training with other strokes. And most importantly, excess in any one stroke leads to a higher probability of an “overuse” injury.
5. If you breath to only one side, you will develop muscles more on one side than other, and this could cause a breakdown and a shoulder problem. Incorporate bilateral breathing into your workouts to avoid this. If it’s extremely awkward at first, start with just breathing bilaterally in warm-up and warm-down, and slowly add it into rest of your workouts as it becomes more comfortable.
If you are just getting over a shoulder injury and are jumping back in pool, put on a pair of fins. Zoomers or Hydro Finz work best. That way you are accomplishing 3 things: 1) taking some pressure off your shoulders, 2) getting a great cardiovascular workout, and 3) building strength in your legs for swimming. One “good” thing about shoulder injuries is that they force us to slow down, and give us a chance to work on drills and stroke technique while we get back to health. And from what I’ve seen as a coach, many triathletes can use a little slowing down when it comes to improving their swimming!
Kevin coaches masters and triathlete swimmers in San Diego, CA. He operates the website www.TriSwimCoach.com, a resource for future or current triathletes needing help with the swim. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. Kevin has also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” which is sold on his website www.triswimcoach.com in downloadable form.