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Physio Article 1


Avoiding 'Jetty Swimmers Shoulder' : PART 1

By Jeff Greenfield of Physio South West

It’s approaching that time of year again when the weather is improving, the ocean is calming down and some hardy souls are venturing back into the Bay.  The Jetty Swim is approaching and for those thinking of competing, it’s time to start getting in the water again.

There seems to be two types of swimmers that enter the Jetty Swim; those who swim year round and have a few events that they aim for each year, and those who swim in the warmer months only with the aim of getting around the jetty.  Both types of swimmers are susceptible to shoulder problems, but the latter group are often the ones more likely to experience some form of shoulder pain each summer.

There is an almost endless list of factors that may contribute to the development of ‘swimmers shoulder’.  The aim of this series of articles is to give a few tips to minimise the risk of running into troubles with your training program, particularly if you are participating for the first time this year.

Firstly, plan out your training schedule.  You do not need to be a rocket scientist to do this, just a basic gradually progressive program will do.  We have got just over 4 months til next years Jetty Swim, so breaking your program up into four one month segments is a reasonable idea. 

During each month, gradually progress your training load in each of the first 3 weeks, then have a relative ‘rest week’ during the fourth week.  Your overall training load should also increase each month, such that you have more kilometres under your belt in the second month than the first, and in the third month compared to the second.  You should plan your program so that the Jetty Swim takes place at the end of the ‘rest week’ of your final month of training.

Given the nature of the Jetty Swim, one of your training sessions each week needs to be a continuous longer swim.  Plan your program so that you have done the required distance at least a few times before the actual event.  This will most likely mean that you should be swimming your race distance in a continuous effort at least a month prior to the event.

Planning your training program minimises the risk of a sudden increase in training volume causing overuse injuries in the shoulder.

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