No swimmer would think twice about starting a race or tough training session with cold, tight muscles. You want to give yourself the best performance possible and at least a short warm up makes you feel like you are getting your body ready for what’s coming up.
But does all this stretching actually have any affect at all on your swimming performance?
At the University of Western Australia, researchers have examined the effects of two different types of warm ups to no warm up before a time trial. Now the results of this were pretty unexpected and found that their warm ups had no benefit on any sprint swimming at all. These swimmers performed no better than the swimmers without warm ups!
For me personally, even if physically it doesn’t make a difference to my performance, I would still stretch and take part in a warm up or stretching as I then feel more mentally prepared. It helps me to focus, ease my nerves, psyche myself up and as they say ‘get in the zone!’
So what do you do – stretch or no stretch?