Stretching with a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist

Stretching is necessary to reach top performance in each training session.

Depending on the session, I stretch, trigger point and use core activation prior to training for between 15 and 45 minutes. For high intensity sessions, I spend more time preparing and incorporate more dynamic stretching and core activation, including arm swings, jumping and Pilates exercises.

Core is such an important part of swimming, so switching it on by doing dead-bug activation, or some planks is crucial. For recovery or longer aerobic sessions, more time is devoted to stretching and trigger pointing to reduce risk of overuse injuries, and aid in recovery.

Most people would anticipate being a swimmer that most of the stretching is upper body based, but being a backstroker in particular, I spend a lot of time focusing on hamstrings and hips, as there is a ripple effect onto the rest of my body. I get lower back tightness stemming from hip imbalances, so this is a big focus for me.

In terms of my top five stretches? Here are the ones I recommend:

1. Hamstring
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2. Hip flexor
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3. Glute triggering
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4. Lat stretch

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5. Internal/external shoulder rotation stretch
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